Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel about a young boy's coming of age in the Missouri of the mid-1800’s. It is the story of Huck's struggle to win freedom for himself and Jim, a Negro slave. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was Mark Twain’s greatest book, and a delighted world named it his masterpiece. To nations knowing it well - Huck riding his raft in every language men could print - it was America's masterpiece (Allen 259). It is considered one of the greatest novels because it conceals so well Twain's opinions within what is seemingly a child's book. Though initially condemned as inappropriate material for young readers, it soon became prized for its recreation of the Antebellum South, its insights into slavery, and its depiction of adolescent life.
The novel resumes Huck's tale from the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which ended with Huck^Òs adoption by Widow Douglas. But it is so much more. Into this book the world called his masterpiece, Mark Twain put his prime purpose, one that branched in all his writing: a plea for humanity, for the end of caste, and of its cruelties (Allen 260).
Twain, whose real name is Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835. During his childhood he lived in Hannibal, Missouri, a Mississippi river port that was to become a large influence on his future writing. It was Twain's nature to write about where he lived, and his nature to criticize it if he felt it necessary. As far his structure, Kaplan said,
In plotting a book his structural sense was weak; intoxicated by a hunch, he seldom saw far ahead, and too many of his stori...
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The emotional tie-in with the past found expression in Mark Twain^Òs self-identification with Huck, the dominant strategy he employed. This identification breathed life into Huck^Òs character and into his experience, which encompasses the dramatic role of sharply individualized characters.
Allen, Jerry. The Adventures of Mark Twain. Boston: Little, 1954.
Bellamy, Gladys Carmen. Mark Twain: As A Literary Artist. Norman: UP of Oklahoma, 1950.
Branch, Edgar Marquess. The Literary Apprenticeship Of Mark Twain. New York: Russell, 1966.
Howells, W. D. My Mark Twain: Reminiscences and Criticisms. New York: Harper, 1910.
Kaplan, Justin, ed. Mark Twain: A Profile. New York: Hill, 1967.
Twain, Mark. Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Penguin, 1959.
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