This section of chapters discusses more about social class when the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons come into the story. Huck is so fascinated with their huge house and the amount of slaves they own. The Grangerfords’ style of living differs completely with the Finns and Hucks’ friends’ families too. However, despite the nobility status, the Grangerfords still encounter struggles in their lives with the feud they have with the Shepherdsons. This shows that despite anyone’s status in the book, no one is exempted from hardships. Whether it be a drunk father or hiding from a family to avoid being shot, every character shares the theme of avoiding struggles. Also, I found it interesting that Buck says that the families do not know why the feud started. They blindly follow a tradition that has no reason behind it (plus people are dying for no cause). I think this correlates with the idea of slavery, because white adults are teaching their children the concept of slavery at this time without them being able to form an opinion of their own. Slavery is the tradition that some people blindly followed because the majority carried it to each generation.
As I read the second part of The Man, I had a hard time thinking of what to write. I thought it was interesting that it discusses that most of his stories are based on ideals and culture of the South. The entire book of Huck Finn is centered around the ideals of the South, whether that be the idea of slavery during that time or the strong Southern dialect or the religious beliefs of older adults and many other Southern aspects. Also, as I read, I found myself contrasting Twain with Dickinson, because Twain moved from so many different writing places to publish his work and to improve his writing, but on the other hand, Dickinson did receive education, but she isolated herself from society. She did not try to publish her works; they were published after she died. Twain and Dickinson, to me, display two extremely passionate writers, yet Twain wants to publish it, whereas Dickinson only showed her work to a few close friends.
On the first blog post for the first section of Huck Finn we had to read, I wrote about how Twain used the word ‘rich’ not only as a term for wealth but also in terms of knowledge. When I read chapters 8 through 13, I noticed Twain continued with the idea of using the term ‘rich’. However, he does not use ‘rich’ as merely a means of wealth but as a means of freedom. Jim talks about how he values his life: “Yes; en I’s righ now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I’s wuth eight hund’d dollars. I wisht I had the money, I wouldn’ want no mo'” (Twain 84). Jim says that he is rich because he is not owned by anyone; he has control of his own life for now, and that in itself is a sense of being rich. Twain, in these chapters, explores social class a little bit more than the previous chapters because when Huck goes into the woman’s house, she says she is poor. But Twain really does not concentrate on social class in this book, and I think it is so he can explore the different ways of looking at the words ‘rich’ and ‘poor’. He does not want to limit the characters’ lives by a simple social ranking; he wants to examine how their lives can be valued in other ways, such as freedom and knowledge.
What caught my attention was the fact that Huck’s father came back because he heard Huck had money. He says “I’ve been in town two days, and I hain’t heard nothing but about you bein’ rich” (Twain 44). Yes, Huck did get some money but eventually gave it up and gave it to Judge Thatcher, but I think Twain meant something deeper than rich meaning wealthy with money. As the months pass, Huck goes to school and learns to read and write better and you begin to see it just by reading the book and how his thoughts come to the pages. I think when the father said ‘rich’, Twain was implying an underlying meaning that Huck was getting rich in the sense of acquiring knowledge. However, when the father says he is rich, he does not mean it in this sense; he meant rich in the sense of money. Twain does not really focus on social class, but the characters are not wealthy by any means; they live maybe between poverty and middle class. The father lives closer to the lines of poverty because of his horrendous drinking habits. I do not believe we are supposed to focus on the social classes in the book, but I think Twain does not want us to sympathize for the father whatsoever.
I want to start off by saying that I started to get extremely frustrated with The Man because it kept talking about Clemens and I was thinking what does this have to do with Mark Twain?! Then I realized they are the same person..
Anyway, this essay states that there are clear connections between Twain’s life and the books he writes with him being a mischievous child and Huck and Tom being mischievous as well. I think my question is that why would he write about boys wanting to kill other people in this book, but clearly he would not do that in his childhood. Is he just showing that the boys in the book are very imaginative or do you think he is trying to make a point?
Besides the fact that there a group of boys that want to rob and kill people, what interested me was that Huck Finn seems to have no religious belief. When Widow Douglas prays before each meal, Huck Finn waits for her to finish, but he does not even realize she is praying. Also, when she began talking about Moses, Huck was pretty interested but when he found out Moses had been dead for a long time, he “didn’t care no more about him, because [he] don’t take no stock in dead people” (Twain 12). Huck seems to be either uninterested in religion or he does not know much about it. However, he does believe in superstitions and voodoo. At night he heard noises and thought a ghost was outside: “Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that’s on its mind and can’t make itself understood” (Twain 14). Yes, some religions believe in ghosts, but then Huck saw a spider die from a candle’s fire and thought it was an “awful bad sign” (Twain 15). Along with that, he revealed another belief he had: “I tied up a little lock of my hair with a thread to keep witches away” (Twain 15). Huck does not pay attention to religion, but he does believe in ghosts, bad signs, and witches. Later on, Jim, one of the slaves, is known for seeing witches and it gives a foreshadowing of Huck maybe associating or relating to the slaves late on in the book possibly because Huck believes in those superstitious voodoo beliefs.
The little boy comes out an says “I dreamed that Brother Fox had wings and tried to catch Brother Rabbit by flying after him” (Harris). This story is quite different because the little boy, instead, tries to find his own voice with the stories and put his own twist on it, even though it was in his dreams. Uncle Remus does not come out and say he disapproves or is bothered by the little boy’s initiative, but he does hint at his irritation: “Brer Fox en Brer Wolf had der fallin’ out wid one er n’er – but I ‘speck I done tole you ’bout dat” (Harris). Yes, Uncle Remus’s other stories have had disputes with animals before, but the fact that the little boy brought up his story and then Uncle Remus came back with an argument story shows that he has a little bit of a problem with the little boy’s ideas. Also, this story discusses death and no other story has discussed death (also most children stories do not even reference death!). Even though, no creature dies in the story, his extreme to go to that point shows that he is irritated with the little boy trying to take over his stories or create his own. This opening to the whole collection shows me that Uncle Remus, or even former slaves, had a problem with other people ‘stepping on their toes’. This shows that there existed an imaginary line that was not to be crossed between races.
“Ol’ Brer Rabbit ‘spon’, I’ll take de leaven’s, Brer Wolf; you take what you want, an’ den when you done got ‘nough I’ll get de leetle bit I want” (Harris 39)
For the story, Brer Rabbit and the Gold Mine, I believe the story is that there is a gold mine that the creatures are searching for. The wolf and the rabbit are in the same search party, but the rabbit is unsure of being so close to the wolf. Eventually, the wolf claims he found the gold (I think), and then he says to the rabbit to come close to ask him something. Rabbit says he will take whatever money is left over, but does not want to come close to the wolf. The wolf tries to capture the rabbit but he runs away. First of all, I am unsure of whether the wolf actually got the gold and just lied to have an excuse to try and catch the rabbit or he actually got the gold and wanted to catch the rabbit for playing tricks on the other creatures all the time. I am also unsure of what the moral of the story was when I read it.
After reading it over, I think the wolf lied about getting the gold to try and catch the rabbit. In the other stories, the rabbit always plays tricks on the animals, but this one he does not (or at least does not succeed). Maybe he told the other animals that there was gold so that he could steal it for himself once someone else found it. Maybe the moral of the story is that not every trickster succeeds; sometimes, their attempts backfire and allow other people to get the upper hand or get revenge. This story seemed more hopeful because it showed that the cheater does not always get his or her way.
via Difficulty Exercise.
Throughout each story with the rabbit, the rabbit seems to always outsmart the other animals. In my previous quote, I assumed that the fox symbolized the white people and the rabbit symbolized the African Americans at the time of slavery, but now that I read these stories, the rabbit seems to symbolize the white people for outsmarting the other animals (who represent the African Americans). However, a couple of questions come to mind if this representation is true. First, why would Uncle Remus, a former slave, want to elevate the white race if he probably was abused earlier in his life by white people? Would he not want to make his race appear smarter in his tale? Also, the little boy at the end of one story wants to go off and tell his mother one of the stories. If the mother understood the hidden meanings, wouldn’t the mother be skeptical of Uncle Remus for elevating the white race? Or would it just make Uncle Remus look good for supporting the white race?
The boy asks Uncle Remus if the fox killed the rabbit and I think that the fox represents the white people during slavery and the rabbit represented the African Americans. Correct me if I am wrong, but the rabbit does not die at the end, but still leaves from the situation bleeding. This situation replicates that of slavery because once slaves were let free, they still suffered the repercussions of not being accepted into society. Rabbit still would have the scar to show that he got into a fight with the fox, and the slaves still had the memory of themselves or their ancestors being abused. I honestly found this story confusing to find the hidden meanings, let alone understand the different dialect being used.