Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.


My favorite place in the world to be is underwater. My second favorite place is the front of a classroom.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Feel like you're missing something?

If you're having trouble understanding the later chapters in Huck Finn because you missed chapters 31-35, don't worry! You can find concise summaries of these chapters at the following address: http://www.wikisummaries.org/Adventures_of_Huckleberry_Finn
You can find much more detailed summaries at sites such as Sparknotes and Enotes.

In addition, I went through these chapters and typed up my own annotations and passages that I find significant. I have included them below, but I will also give them out in class tomorrow:

Ms. Kakos’ Annotations on the Motif of Huck’s Split Conscience:

Chapter 31
Huck thinks to himself, “A person does a low-down thing, and then he don’t want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide it, it ain’t no disgrace. That was my fix exactly. The more I studied about this, the more my conscience went to grinding me, and the more wicked, and low-down and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up there in heaven, whilst I was stealing a poor old woman’s nigger that hadn’t ever done me no harm, and now was showing me there’s One that’s always on the lookout…I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared.”

--we see Huck’s growing maturity through his ability to question his “wickedness”
--this realization might come about in this part of the story because Huck has recently left the Duke and King; perhaps Huck was able to define himself as moral only in contrast to them, and without them, he’s left to face and question his own sense of right and wrong.

Chapter 32
In the final paragraph of the chapter, Huck comments, “Being Tom Sawyer was easy and comfortable.”
--this might be an allusion to the difference between The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and Huck’s own growth between these two books. While the former can be read as a more childlike adventure, the latter is darker, more difficult, and less comfortable (especially in a moral sense).

Chapter 33
At the end of this chapter Huck says, “But that’s always the way; it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn’t know no more than a person’s conscience does, I would pison him. It takes up more room than all the rest of a person’s insides, and yet ain’t no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same.”

--it’s interesting that Huck disguises himself as Tom Sawyer in this chapter, and they sit side by side. Tom Sawyer might be a double for Huck; in other words, Huck has a split sense of self—his morality is being pulled in two opposite directions.
--Huck expresses a desire to return to his former life of ignorant bliss; his struggle with his conscience is causing him pain, and the child him simply wants to get rid of it and return to a simpler life.

Chapter 34
While Tom is set to free Jim, Huck starts to hesitate. He can’t decide whether slavery is morally wrong or freeing a slave is morally wrong. Huck questions Tom’s morality because Tom is eager to set Jim free: “Here was a boy [Tom] that was respectable, and well brung up; and had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing, and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and his family a shame, before everybody. I couldn’t understand it, no way at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so; and so be his true friend, and let him quit the thing right where he was and save himself.”

--thinking back to the last chapters, it seems as though Tom and Huck can be read as two facets of the same character—the division of self.

Chapter 35
--Huck and Tom try to force Jim into the role of the hero, but Jim can’t quite fit their expectations. Tom wishes to cut Jim’s leg off because he’s heard that it’s a famous custom, but he decides against it because “Jim’s a nigger and wouldn’t understand the reasons for it, and how it’s the custom in Europe, so we’ll let it go.”
--Tom goes on to suggest other ridiculous things, like making a rope ladder and delivering it in a pie (even though Jim’s on ground level), and forcing Jim to keep a journal even though he can’t write
--once again, this shows how Jim’s role in this book is awkward—he can be both a Sambo figure (overly obedient, happy, and stupid) and an intelligent, adult man; he can be an almost-hero, but he can’t quite fill the role, at least not the way that Huck, Tom, and the reader want him to.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Attack of the Crellins: Corey and Olivia's Blog

Blog questions: Chapters 25, 26, and 27

Although we are quite far into the novel, one can see transcendentalism protrayed throughout the novel, particularly in the earlier chapters:

Do you think Twain meant to portray Huck and/or Jim as transcendentalists? If so, why? If not, why?

What similarities do you see between the mental and physical journeys of Chris McCandless and Huck Finn (preparation, departing society, etc.)?

It's What You've Been Waiting for...the Blog of Ryan, Ryan, and Matt

Ryan, Ryan and Matt’s Starting Activity
Chapters 21 and 22

Passage from Chapter 21 in Huckleberry Finn
“…and then he stood up straight and stiff where Sherburn had stood, frowning and having his hat-brim down over his eyes, and sung out, “Boggs!” and then fetched his cane down to a level, and says “Bang!” staggered backwards, and says “Bang!” again and fell down flat on his back. The people that had seen the thing said he done it perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all happened. (159)”

Excerpt from Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery
“Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. "Come on," she said. "Hurry up." Mr. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said. gasping for breath. "I can't run at all. You'll have to go ahead and I'll catch up with you." The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson few pebbles. Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him. "It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.”

How does the “lottery” society handle the death compared to the society in Huck Finn. In what ways are they similar and different? Which society handles the murder more lightly? How does this section reveal the personality of Huck Finn? Does this give insight as to how Twain viewed death?

The Blog of Lindsay, Katie, and Christine

In chapter 23, "the king and the duke" convince the townspeople to tell everyone how good the show was and make them pay as well, instead of warning them to save their money. How does this show the selfishness of these people as they think only of how they were cheated out of their money and how they want to get even with everyone else?

At the end of chapter 24, Huck is ashamed of the human race. Why was he? And does this relate back to Twain's "The Damned Human Race"?

When Jim realizes that his daughter is deaf, he feels horrible for the way he treated her. How does his reaction relate to today and how people's attitudes towards each other change depending on certain handicaps they may have?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Christine and Nicci's Post: Escape and Return

How do Huck and Jim escape from or return to their world through their meeting with the "Duke" and the "King"?

In these chapters the "King" makes up a story about his being a pirate and how he is going to change his life, just like Huck's dad did near the beginning of the novel. Do you think Twain is satirizing the idea of people changing their lives? Do you think people can change thier lives? Particularly pariahs?

Logan's Post: A Little R & J

Hey Ms. Kakos, Logan here. Just emailing you what our group wants posted as a blog prompt for the chapter 17-18 activity.

At the end of Chapter 18, Buck describes a particular family feud. The drama that follows bears a striking resemblance to the story of Romeo and Juliet.

"Two households, both alike in dignity...From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Whole misadventured piteous overthrowsDo with their death bury their parents' strife..."
-Prologue to Romeo and Juliet

"... a feud is this way. A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in - and by-and-by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud..."
-Buck (page 119)

What similarities or differences do you see between Romeo and Juliet and the family feud in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

What was Twain's purpose, if any, for using such a similar plot? Or what was his purpose for changing what he didn't keep the same?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ali and Aubrey's Post: Guilt and Escape

"I tried to make out to myself that I warn't to blame, because I didn't run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn't no use, conscience up and says, every time, ' Buy you knowed he was running for his freedom, an dyou could a paddled ashore and told somebody.' That was so- I couldn’t get around that, noway" (Twain 97).

Why do you think at this point and time, after Huck got lost in the river and the thick fog, that Huck feels sudden guilt? Why has he not felt guilty about traveling with Jim before now?

"Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n for joy, en I'll say, it's all on accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I couldn't ever ben free ef it hadn' ben for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only fren' ole Jim's got now" (Twain 98).

When Huck found Jim on the island, Jim had escaped by himself, without help from Huck. Did Huck really save Jim or is Jim just thanking him because they are 'friends' now?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thesis Party!

Post your Huck Finn New Historicist thesis here! Watch it mingle with the brilliance of your classmates! Which statements will become friends? Which statements will incite a brawl? Underneath your thesis, please summarize two of your strongest pieces of evidence.