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Huckleberry Finn Book Report Essay, Research Paper



Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. When Samuel Clemens was four years old, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he spent his childhood. Clemens first approach to literature was through typesetting for a newspaper in 1851. At the time Orion, his brother, was a newspaper publisher in Hannibal. From 1857 until 1861, he served as the pilot of a riverboat on the Mississippi River. He later used this experience in creating his novels. His first writings appeared in a newspaper on February 2, 1863 under the pen name Mark Twain.

Clemens fell in love with Olivia Langdon and married her in 1870 after a long courtship. The Clemens family lived in Hartford, Connecticut from 1871 until 1891, the period of his best writing. In 1872, he published his first book, Roughing It. He published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, considered his masterpiece of writing, was published in 1885. He received many honors and a great deal of recognition for his writings. Clemens died of Angina on April 21, 1910.


Huck Finn – the central character of the novel and the son of the town drunk.

Jim – Miss Watson s runaway slave whom Huck helps to gain his freedom.

Pap – Huck s father who comes back to town when he learns about the reward.

Tom Sawyer Huck s friend who is about his same age.


(1) Setting

The setting of Huckleberry Finn was in mid Eighteenth Century America. The first few chapters were set in St. Petersburg, Missouri. The town was patterned after Hannibal, Missouri, where Clemens spent his childhood. It is located on the Mississippi River about 80 miles from St. Louis, Missouri. Most of the novel s setting is on the Mississippi River south of St. Petersburg.

(2) Beginning Situation

Huck Finn, a boy of about 12 years, was the son of the town drunk. Widow Douglas adopted him so that she could civilize him and raise him to be a gentleman. Huck did not like going to school, attending church or dressing up. Tom Sawyer, Ben Rogers, and Joe Harper were his friends at the local school. Huck and Tom found a treasure hidden by bank robbers and were allowed to keep six thousand dollars each, for themselves, as a reward.

Huck s father heard about his son s treasure and returned to St. Petersburg. He tried to catch Huck and take away his money. Huck was able to elude him several times, but finally his father caught him and locked him in a cabin in the woods about three miles down the river. After a couple of months of regular daily beatings, Huck planned his escape.

He left traces of pig blood to convince his father that he was dead. He went to Jackson s Island, where he spent three days waiting and exploring. Huck found Jim while he was on the island. Jim ran away from the Widow Watson when he overheard her plans to sell him for eight hundred dollars.

Huck wanted to know the reaction of the local people to his disappearance; So, he dressed up like a girl and went to town. Huck discovered that the people were convinced that Jim had killed him since Jim had escaped the same day that he disappeared. Huck rushed back to the island and told Jim. The two of them got on a raft and headed south down the river. After each of their adventures on shore, they drifted down the Mississippi River and used their wits in dealing with a variety of people.

(3) Complicating Incidents

After a couple of adventures on the river, a steamboat hit the raft. Huck went ashore and lived at the home of the Grangerfords until he learned about the deaths caused by a feud with another family.

He returned to the raft to find two con men claiming to be a duke and the son of the king of France joining them on the raft. After watching the con artists deceive people of their money in two towns, Huck invented a complicated plan to get away from them and to have them arrested.

When Huck finally got rid of the Duke and the King , he discovered that they sold Jim for forty dollars to Silas Phelps. Huck, attempting to rescue Jim, went to the Phelps farm. He discovered that Mrs. Phelps was Tom s aunt and she was expecting Tom to come visit them anytime. She mistook Huck forTom and welcomed him. Huck intercepted Tom and told him all that had happened. Tom set up an elaborate plan to steal the keys and free Jim. Eventually they pull it off and reach the raft without being caught. In the process of freeing Jim, Tom was shot in the leg and Jim refused to leave until the wound had been treated. This resulted in Jim being recaptured and Tom and Huck had to explain what they did.

(4) Climax

The climax occurred when Huck decided he must stand by Jim at any cost.

(5) Conclusion

Southern society taught Huck that slaves were without feelings and were only a piece of property to be bought and sold. Huck decided to go against the hypocritical

society and protect his friend. Later on, Huck realized that Jim was a free man all the time because Widow Douglas had set him free in her will. Aunt Sally was thinking of adopting him so that she could civilize him further. Huck realized he must move west and seek a place that offered truth and freedom.


Huck Finn is a novel about growing up. Huck not only ran away from his father, but he also decided to make it on his own. He had to make the decision to give Jim to the slave hunters or help him remain a free man. Huck decided not to betray his friend even though it was against everything he had been taught. He discovered his own identity and learned about the world in which he lived.


I enjoyed this novel because of the intense use of colloquial speech and dialect. I would recommend this novel because Clemens style gives a realistic view of life on the Mississippi River in the early 1840s and this novel is considered his Masterpiece. Huckleberry Finn is the classic in American literature by which all others are judged. Ernest Hemingway remarked, all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.

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