The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Reviewed by Guy Portman
13-year-old Huckleberry Finn is living in Missouri with a widow who plans to ‘sivilize’ him. That is until his alcoholic father relocates him to an isolated cabin in the woods. Huck fakes his own death and escapes. He is ensconced on Jackson’s Island when he comes across Jim, an escaped slave. The two become firm friends. An incident leads to them departing the island in haste on a raft.
Later a chance encounter culminates in two charlatans, known as Duke and King, becoming passengers on the raft. King claims he is the son of King Louis XVI.
When Jim is recaptured, Huck is taken in by his abductors, who mistake him for their nephew Tom Sawyer, due to visit at any moment. Huck intercepts Tom on the road, and the two formulate a plan to free Jim. Further escapades follow.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a satire of American southern antebellum society that parodies religion, morality, literature and above all the practice of slavery. The author adroitly uses first person protagonist Huck as a tool to allow us to view the prevailing customs and traditions.
This American literary classic is replete with erudite social commentary, satire, humour and ludicrousness. Whilst this reader appreciated these aspects, in his humble opinion this is a turgid text, which becomes increasingly repetitive and tedious.