Friday, April 20, 2012

Huck Finn Essay Ideas

  • ·         Interpret Twain’s warning at the beginning of the novel.
  • ·         How does Huck overcome Southern bad faith?
  • ·         Are Huck and Jim friends? Explore their relationship. Are Tom and Huck friends?
  • ·         What is the novel saying about slavery? In what ways is Huck a slave? Why is that significant?
  • ·         Explore leadership and power and bad faith.
  • ·         Autobiographical reading of the novel
  • ·         Honor—How is the book a satire on Southern culture?
  • ·         Death—why is the book seemingly obsessed with it?
  • ·         Tom Sawyer vs. Huck Finn: romantic vs. realist; Huck and Jim; King & Duke; Pap?; Sherburn; Emmeline Grangerford; Don Quixote
  • ·         Is the book a story of innocence lost? (Garden of Eden?) Innocence never had?
  • ·         Explore family in the novel. Jim’s family, Pap, families along the river, Widow?, etc.
  • ·         How does the reader engage in bad faith with Twain? (Jim and Huck friends?)
  • ·         Is the book meant to be funny? Is it funny? If so, why is it funny? Is the book a comedy or a tragedy? Does it fit Twain’s idea of a comic or humorous story? (From his essay “How to Tell a Story”
  • ·         Do a psychoanalytic reading of Twain through the novel.
  • ·         Or psychoanalyze a character.
  • ·         Explore the role of bad faith in the novel.
  • ·         Explore the idea of escaping civilization in the novel.
  • ·         What the reader infers from the novel, and what that says about the book’s popularity.
  • ·         Explore Huck and Jim’s relationship.
  • ·         Compare and contrast the various pranks/scams/deceptions in the novel.
  • ·         Explore the role of superstition and religion (Christianity in the antebellum South) in the novel.
  • ·         Why the reference to Shakespeare?
  • ·         Explore race relations in the novel.
  • ·         King and the Duke—Why does Huck become a slave to them? Is Huck a slave in other ways?
  • ·         Is Huck a hero? Who is heroic? Jim? Does this novel fit the heroic cycle?
  • ·         How does Huck change through the novel?
  • ·         The white suit and hypocrisy in the novel? Whited sepulchers—how is this novel itself a whited sepulcher?
  • ·         Analyze the Sherburn incident.  What is Twain saying about “average-ness”? What is Twain saying about majorities? Cowardice?

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