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Free Barron's Booknotes-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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TEST 2

1. A 2. C 3. D 4. B 5. D 6. A 7. A 8. A 9. B 10. C

11. To answer a question like this, you should quickly look through all the chapters involving the king and duke.

This will remind you of what happens with the two of them, and it will occasionally bring to mind a comment Huck makes on the men.

At first, Huck is more or less accepting of them, because he's accepting of most of what comes his way. He gets some amusement out of watching them work their skills, even though he feels sorry for the people they're bilking.

With the Wilks girls, he becomes disgusted with the men, even feeling ashamed at one point to be a member of the human race. But when he sees them getting what they deserve near the end of the book, he feels sorry for them.

When you write about a developing process like this one, you should include comments on what the process means. For example, you could show how each change in Huck's attitude illustrates something about his personality. -


12. You should approach this question the same way you did the previous one. It's important to be specific about Huck's feelings and how they change, but the key is in drawing some conclusions about him from the changes. In the case of the Grangerfords, his attitude slowly changes from reverence to disgust, and the reasons for the change say a lot about him. -

13. This essay topic might sound easier than it really is. If you were to start writing without thinking about it, you might confuse Huck's feeling for Jim with an emerging opposition to slavery. That wouldn't be doing Huck justice.

Huck never does develop an opposition to the institution of slavery. Until the end of the book, he believes that slavery is as American as democracy. The important thing about his helping Jim is that he's doing it in spite of his beliefs. His affection leads him to do something he considers morally wrong. The affection is so powerful, however, that he shrugs off what might happen to him.

An answer to this question, therefore, would probably show a contrast between his feelings for Jim and his beliefs about slavery. It would probably include a reference to an ironic scene in Chapter 32. Huck has come to the Phelps farm to help Jim escape. But take another look at what he says when Aunt Sally asks him if anyone was hurt in the steamboat explosion. It will show you how far he hasn't come in his feelings about slaves. -

14. There is rarely a single "right answer" to an essay question, and that is most true of topics like this one. It's possible to make a case for either side, and the strength of the case will depend entirely on the evidence you collect and how well you present the argument.

The more obvious evidence probably favors pessimism. Twain covers almost every class of society-from the Grangerfords to simple villagers-and he attacks just about everyone he writes about. Huck is happy only when he's on the raft, away from people, who seem to cause him nothing but trouble. And Huck's desire at the end of the book to light out for the Territory certainly doesn't express much hope for "civilization."

But Twain doesn't attack everyone in this novel. Miss Watson seems sincere (even if she's misguided) in her attempts to help Huck. Judge Thatcher keeps Huck's money aside for him, even though it has been legally signed over to him. Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally are about as good-hearted as two people can be. And there's Mary Jane Wilks, a girl who causes Huck to become almost as poetic as the Mississippi River does. -

15. I can give you only a bit of help with this kind of question, and then you'll be on your own. My advice is that you base everything you say on something you find in the book. Take things that Huck says and does, and show how they will develop into adult characteristics. Or show how he must necessarily discard or alter his beliefs as he gets older.

If you can do that, you'll have a defensible character sketch. Don't be surprised if your adult character ends up sounding suspiciously like Mark Twain.

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