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6 Facts About The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

 Have you read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain? This American classic has remained relevant and somewhat controversial ever since it was first published in 1884. The book has been a staple in English Literature classes at most American high schools. So the chance that you haven't read is very slim. But even if that is the case for you, you've surely heard of it at least once. Let's have a short recap; the book tells the tale of Huckleberry Finn, the uneducated son of the town's drunkard. Huckleberry escapes from his alcoholic and abusive father with the runaway slave Jim, sailing in a boat down the Mississippi River. Now we'll take a deeper look at some interesting facts about the book.

1. Huckleberry Finn first appears in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"

Mark Twain
The character itself first appears in another book by Mark Twain as Tom's friend. He also appears in two other Tom Sawyer-centered books, Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Tom Sawyer Abroad. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he is described as dirt-poor, neglected, and abused by his father, but he also has a rebellious character that inspires other children around him: they "wished they dared to be like him." 

2. Huckleberry Finn may be based on Twain's childhood friend

Growing up, Mark Twain was friends with a poor and abused boy named Tom Blankenship. These characteristics are reminiscent of those of Finn's, but the real proof lies in Twain's autobiography, where he writes: "In Huckleberry Finn, I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had." Do take this notion with a grain of salt, though. During an interview in 1885, Twain was asked on whom Huckleberry Finn was based. He said he couldn't point to a specific person, but said: "still his story is what I call a true story."

 

3. Like Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain's views on slavery changed for the better

The plot of the book takes place before the Civil War. Huckleberry grew up in the south. At the beginning of the book, not only does he accept slavery but he also believes that helping Jim escape is a sin. By the end of the book, his beliefs are turned around completely. Growing up in the south himself, Twain also grew up around slavery. His uncle owned 20 slaves. When he grew up, his views changed. He married into an abolitionist family, and his father-in-law even helped a slave escape slavery. 

 Huckleberry Finn

4. The book is widely considered to be the first American novel 

The main reason this book is considered by many to be the first-ever truly American novel is that it was the first to be written in American vernacular. The plot of the book is told in the first person by Huckleberry Finn himself. He speaks in dialect, using grammatical errors that were widely used in his time and region. This was considered revolutionary. It makes the reading experience more vivid and still influences how Americans write today. 
 

5. This book was repeatedly banned throughout history

The first time the book was banned was a year after its publication in 1885. The reason was the writing style - it was rendered trashy and cheap instead of natural and realistic. The most common reason to ban the book was various forms of racism: there's wide use of the N-word and there are claims regarding the racist portrayal of African-Americans. Two different versions of the book have been published - one replacing the slur with the word "slave," and one replacing it with the word "hipster." 

 

6. An offensive drawing almost lead to the cancelation of the book 

This happened on the first-ever edition of the book. Twain had his own publishing firm. He rented the services of an independent illustrator, and everything went smoothly. But when the book went to press, an anonymous person added an offensive drawing of an erect male organ. Only a couple hundred or so copies were published before the matter was detected, and the books were promptly recalled.  
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