Thursday, November 13, 2014

Huck Finn - Discussion #3 Chapters 17-19 (Due Friday, November 14)

Answer the following questions in the comments section.  Your answer should be at least 3 paragraphs in length.

In these chapters 17-19, how does Mark Twain portray “civilized society” (The Grangerfords, The Shepherdsons)?  Find some specific examples (quotes) of where it appears he is criticizing the moral aristocracy (or those who pretend to be a part of this group, e.g., the king and the duke).  What are some common themes that you notice?  For example, are there particular issues that he seems particularly critical of?  What does Huck think of these people?  Does he buy into their socioeconomic or moral superiority?

*your writing must include claims, evidence, and warrants*

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Huck Finn - Discussion #2 Chapters 14-16 (due Wednesday, November 12)

Choose one of the following prompts and respond to it in the comments section.  Your answer should be at least three paragraphs in length.

1) At the end of chapter 15, after Jim realizes the joke Huck has played on him, Jim provides Huck with an unexpectedly powerful response.  What is different about this statement (compared to Jim’s other dialogue)?  What does it reveal about Jim’s character?  About Huck’s perception of Jim?  About Twain’s portrayal of Jim as an African American slave?

2) Huck has assumed various false identities since his ‘death’: Sarah Mary Williams in ch. 11, a boy whose family is on a wrecked steamboat in ch. 13, and a boy whose father has smallpox in ch. 16.  How are these assumed identities (in essence, lies) used?  What are some common themes you see among these identities/situations?  What does this ‘acting’ reveal about Huck’s character?

3) In chapter 14, Huck and Jim engage in a series of arguments/discussions in which Jim is made to look like a fool, and after which Huck makes some comments to himself about Jim (he makes generalizations about Jim as a slave).  It is often unclear the extent to which Huck’s thoughts are solely the musings of his character, and how much they reflect either the thoughts of the author himself, or the thoughts the author believes society to hold.  With this in mind, how might these comments be seen as a criticism of racist thought (considering who wrote the novel)? And conversely, how might these comments be seen as the thoughts of the author, Mark Twain (reflecting on his own opinions or those of society)?  Support either/both arguments with evidence from the text.

*your writing must include claims, evidence, and warrants*

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Huck Finn - Discussion #1 - Chapters 1-13 (due Monday, November 10)

Respond to the following question in the comment section:

Pick a key scene from the first thirteen chapters and analyze it closely.  Your analysis should include the following:
1) a brief summary of the scene
2) a claim in which you identify the stage of the Hero's Journey the scene belongs to 
3) an explanation of the character(s) values
4) a discussion of any archetypes or symbols found in the scene  
*You must write in complete sentences using claims, evidence, and warrants.*