Huckleberry Finn # by Samuel Longhorne Clemens aka Mark Twain (mark- two fathoms) Mark Twain is one of America’s 19th century most quoted writers. His laconic, sardonic wit sums up most of what Bruce Michelson calls “the power of art to affirm life even as it denies all of the illusions that constitute life”. Art attempts to represent reality through illusion - metaphor - analogy or - myth.
Context and Background # Though the novel is written in the 1870’s, completed in 1883, after the Civil War (1860 – 63), it depicts the society of the 1840’s America about 20 years before the Civil War emancipates the slaves. Set in Hannibal, Missouri on the Mississippi River, Twain’s home town, Huckleberry Finn recreates some of the events and characters from his boyhood. “I confine myself to life with which I am familiar, when pretending to portray life”
Loneliness - Huck Finn # Huck is a solitary individual afraid of conforming to the values and mores of his society. Huck fights against the hypocrisy and the pretentions of the pillars of the respectable world. He aspires to his own solitude together with Jim, his fellow outcast - to be free from the demands and strictures false values. “I went up to my room with a piece of candle …then I tried to think of something cheerful, but it weren’t no use.
Solitude in Huck Finn # Mark Twain has Huck Finn celebrate the isolation of the raft: Sometimes we’d have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water; and maybe a spark – which was a candle in a cabin window; and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two – on a raft or a scow, you know; and maybe you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of them crafts.