The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the story of a young boy searching for his identity. He is desperately trying to escape, not only a life where he has to be civilized, but also a life with his father which was abusive and unorganized. He travels down the Mississippi river with an escaped slave, Jim. They must travel at night because Jim is a runaway slave and would be in a lot of trouble if he was caught. During their adventures, Huck's
prejudices about blacks disintegrate as he starts to become friends with Jim. Huck lies and tricks his way out of several tight situations as they come across many different issues during their travels. Jim ends up leaving Huck and going his own way to live with his wife and children in Cairo.

Character Descriptions
Huckleberry Finn - Huck is thirteen years old and somewhat mischievous. He was adopted by the widow Douglas and Miss Watson, who are sisters. He runs away from them because they were trying to "civilize him" which he did not like. He decided to go live with his father which he didn't end up liking either because his father was and abusive alcoholic. He faked his own death and then stole a raft and escaped down the Mississippi. He came to Jackson Island where he met Jim. Huck, although mischievous, does have a conscious because he is aware of how often he puts strain on the widow Douglas. Huck grows through his travels and begins to enjoy his life of freedom on the river.

Jim - Jim was Miss Watson's slave. When Huck ran away Jim thought he would be blamed for his murder so he ran away also. Jim is a black slave in his thirties. His goal is to travel downstream to the city of Cairo where his wife and children live. He and Huck start to become friends over their travels and this friendship even breaks down the racial barrier which becomes evident when Jim scolds Huck. After a night with fog the two travelers realize that they passed Cairo and so Jim goes away on his own to travel back upstream to get to Cairo.

I really liked seeing the growing bond between Huck and Jim. They started out with a very obvious racial boundary between them and Huck felt superior. After awhile of traveling together they the boundary breaks when Huck plays a prank on Jim, Jim feels comfortable enough to yell at him, and Huck humbles himself to Jim and apologizes. This shows Huck's development as a person because he can look past societies "rules" and view Jim as a friend. I did not like how the book was written. The dialect of the area was extremely difficult to read and took a long time to read and comprehend. Jim's speech was especially difficult to understand.

What can we learn from reading this book?
This book can teach everyone that
prejudices can be looked past and that you can appreciate life much more if you do look past them. Huck and Jim putting away initial feelings towards one another and eventually becoming friends enriched both their lives and proved to be a lesson for anyone who has certain feelings about others due to stereotypes.

Essential Questions

What role does society play in shaping who we are?
Society plays a major role in developing and shaping who we are because, unless you can separate yourself from society and it's "rules." you are subject to just being apart of society. If you embrace and become apart of what society believes in then you are being entirely shaped by the society that you are apart of.

What does freedom mean to you?
Freedom means many different things to many different people. I view freedom as the right to all basic human rights. As well as the freedom to leave a situation that you don't like and independence are included in freedom.

How do you go about making important decisions?
When you have to make an important decision you have to weigh the pros against the cons. You have to ask yourself if the decision you want to go with will affect other people in a positive or negative way. Another important aspect you have to weigh in is what you actually want to do, however this should not be a deciding factor if the decision could possibly hurt others by doing what you want.

What does Huck Finn teach us about what it means to be human?
Huck Finn teaches us that we need to be happy with where we are and that we should not judge other people. Huck leaves both living situations that he is in because he is not happy, and although you shouldn't run away from situations your not happy with, you shouldn't just put up with them without doing something. He also teaches us not to judge other people because he did judge Jim at first, but when he stopped he developed an important friendship with the former slave.