[A]dventures of Huckleberry Finn

Happy April 1st or April Fool’s Day (if you celebrate).

Today’s Blogging From A to Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter:

Today is about how I came to love the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I have loved it since I read it in high school. To this day, some odd 20+ years ago, I can still see my AP English teacher teaching guiding us through the intricacies of Huck Finn.

I don’t know why I remember this so vividly. The day she announced that we were to read

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mr. Mark Twain.

Yep, she said Mr. Mark Twain as though he was still alive and physically in the room. I think it’s burned into my brain because there was such an audible bemoaning of said announcement or maybe it was the sly grin that graced her usual sullen wrinkled face.

Anyway, I was determined not to enjoy it.

But Mrs. Scaringi had a way of making you fall in love with literature. Even hard to talk about topics. Before we checked out copies, we had a Mark Twain history lesson – who he was, why he wrote the way he wrote, the audience at the time, social constructs, and so on. She even prepared us for the language. We talked a little about slavery and how slaves were viewed as property and subhuman.

Even though the discussions were short and didn’t begin to scratch the surface they added context to the book and reduced some of the angst we had about reading Huck Finn.

Mrs. Scaringi made it a pleasurable experience for several reasons, but the two that stand out the most are:

  1. She would read some of the text aloud and become so animated. This woman who was usually quite conservative would literally put on a show. It was captivating
  2. This was super important to my classmates and me. We were allowed  to express our concerns over current social and racial issues. Rarely did she let us get off track, but when we did she would gently bring us back to task by relating what were talking about to the text

Ah, Mrs. Scaringi, you minx. Your tricked me into loving The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. And since reading it, I have never been without a copy.

I do believe that reading Huck Finn helped me look past what people look like on the outside and focus more on who they are on the inside.

Over the years I have become increasingly protective of the novel. I fear one day it will vanish from our school curriculum because people have instituted today’s brand of political correctness on a novel that spoke about and condemned a particularly dark period in American history.  And 134 years later, we are still plagued with things Twain was condeming.

Yes, the topic and language are uncomfortable but we have to take the bull by horns and REALLY talk about the issues.

3 thoughts on “[A]dventures of Huckleberry Finn

  1. Your English teacher sounds wonderful! The best one I ever had was in Year 11, when we were doing Richard III.

    I didn’t read Huck Finn till I was an adult, when, I think, I got more out of it than if I had read it as a teen, except, perhaps, if Ai had done it with with Ms Wellsford. A wonderful book, indeed! I can’t understand why people who have never read it condemn it. )There are others who have the same attitude to To Kill A Mockingbird, also without reading it). “It’s racist!” they yell. No, it isn’t – it’s the exact opposite. I’ve read some of Mark Twain’s other work and have come to the conclusion that if he was alive now, he would be tweeting satirical stuff that would infuriate the current occupant of the White House.

    Liked by 1 person

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