These ironies are richly, though subtly, scattered throughout the novel. My African American students, especially, became adept at uncovering them.
One such student took particular delight in pointing out Huck's ignorance of the trappings of European royalty in Chapter 14, the very chapter in which Huck declares the impossibility of teaching Jim anything at all. Discovering these dualities is your students' key to understanding the novel. Huck is much smarter than Jim Jim knows nothing about children and family life Huck Finn teaches us this: That which we're certain we know of others is, more often than not, as suspect as that which we're certain we know of ourselves.
Sometimes, though, Twain's humor conceals nothing profound; it's simply comedy for comedy's sake. This is another reason the book works. Teenagers' television and movie choices testify to their love of silliness. Many of my students laughed out loud at my reading of the ridiculous conversations of Tom Sawyer's gang Chapter 2 and Huck's female impersonation Chapter Affect a falsetto in the latter performance -- even if you're already a woman -- and let your students enjoy the parody.
Real learning takes place All is not fun and games, however, and Huck Finn 's more serious episodes provide the final arena wherein real learning will take place. Huck is sometimes a clown; he is at all times a rebel.
This complaint of many of Huck Finn 's original readers strikes unwittingly at the heart of young Huck's journey to maturity. Huck's ultimate decision to assist Jim was a blatant rebellion against the mores and ethics of society. If allowed to admire Huck's rebel spirit, your students -- rebels themselves -- ultimately will share in his heroic victory. I have found two of the book's more distressing episodes to be chief junctures that demand scrutiny as a class.
The first is Pap's horrific "govment" speech in Chapter VI. Some teachers will be tempted to whitewash its ugliness. Pap's racist harangue more effectively reveals the evils Huck must overcome than do Twain's brief descriptions of slavery and Huck's constant use of the "n-word. What they don't often hear are brutally honest revelations of the heart of hardcore racism. Sentiments like Pap's are not uncommon; the expression of them, in such straightforward fashion, often is.
I read Pap's speech aloud to my students. I try to sound as indignant as Pap would have sounded if we could have heard him. On one occasion, after I finished, a white girl said meekly, "Mr. Harris, those were the ugliest words I've ever heard. Everyone nodded silently. It was a tough moment, yet a poignant one. An honest one.
Chapter 15, in which Huck takes advantage of Jim through a practical joke, and then -- seeing that Jim's feelings are hurt -- forces himself to apologize, is also a place to stop and talk. Make sure your students notice that Huck's growth has begun; in spite of what he continues to call Jim, Huck obviously has begun to see Jim in a different light. From this point onward, Huck is aware that Jim has feelings, too. We Were All Along For the Ride Finally, it goes almost without saying that Chapter 31, as the book's moral climax, will provide the basis for your climactic class discussion.
Huck discovers "you can't pray a lie" and that helping Jim is the right thing to do -- even if society's most pious and learned insist that aiding a runaway is perverted and wicked. However, if you've made it this far, this is a discussion you won't have to sweat.
Everyone will be proud of Huck and eager to praise him. The rebel boy has come a long way by this point, and many of your students will have come a long way with him. Every time I taught the novel, Huck's raft got awfully crowded. We were all of us along for the ride, through thick and thin, for better or for worse.
And somewhere along that mighty river, we each, like Huck, did a lot of growing up. Webb Harris Jr. Neal A. So he created a class. April 16, Read more.
Straight Talk about the N-Word. Related Resources. Two afternoons a week, I tutor a high school junior in English and history and enjoy gleaning insights into a different school community than the one in which I work. My client Mary attends a school with a predominantly white and wealthy student population.
I would caution against having students read aloud at this point. The vocabulary is tough and the syntax is unfamiliar. The comedy of the chapter will be lost to stumbling over the text. A few questions I pose to the students are:. I have had entire class discussions revolve around one question, and I have had a rapid-fire session using all of the questions. Each group of students discusses the chapter in different ways, dependent on their level of comprehension.
http://pierreducalvet.ca/89994.php If you find yourself out of time, you can use some of the questions as an accessing prior knowledge activity the next time you pick up the novel! Empty Layer. Home Professional Learning. Professional Learning. Learn more about. Sign Up Log In. Unit 7 Unit 1: Starting Strong!
SWBAT write with the purpose of explaining opinions by completing a literature anticipation guide. Big Idea Good literature helps us understand ourselves. Lesson Author. Grade Level. Comprehension Reading.
Well, we were twelve years of age when Sam wrote about that. Twain's eye for human inconsistency is the soul of his beautiful ironies. Sometimes, though, Twain's humor conceals nothing profound; it's simply comedy for comedy's sake. What is the difference between what Huck says and what Mark Twain wants the reader to understand? Present to your audience Start remote presentation.
Starter 10 minutes. Getting Down to Business 30 minutes. Before we begin, though, there are a couple of things I mention to set the stage: I ask the students to remind me of when the book was published. I then let them know that Mark Twain was writing about the years of his childhood. I do a very quick and cursory overview of what the country was like in the 's, this is to prepare them for the n-word that they will be encountering, along with other derogatory expressions.