"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

El autor de Mississipi despliega todo su talento para la construcción de personajes y la recreación de la lengua vernácula en esta trepidante narración de la vida a la fuga de uno de los adolescentes más emblemáticos de la literatura mundial.

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Daniel Francis

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Molly Malcolm

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Mark Twain is the pseudonym of novelist and humourist Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Born in 1835, Twain grew up in Missouri on the Mississippi River. His stories, inspired by his own experiences, brought him international fame. The novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) was a bestseller. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, considered its sequel, is a coming-of-age story about innocence, morality, slavery — and human weakness.

Huckleberry Finn

routine

The story is narrated by Huckleberry ‘Huck’ Finn, a boy of around thirteen years of age. He lives by the Mississippi with the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson. Huck has no interest in material things and is bored by the routine of respectable life. When he is taken by his father, a volatile alcoholic, to a remote cabin, Huck finds that he enjoys a return to the old way of life. 

“It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study. Two months or more run along, and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and I didn’t see how I’d ever got to like it so well at the widow’s, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular.”

“Resultaba perezoso y alegre estar tumbado cómodamente todo el día, fumando y pescando, sin libros y sin estudios. Pasaron dos meses o más y toda la ropa se convirtió en andrajos y porquería y empezó a parecerme extraño que me hubiese gustado tanto estar en casa de la viuda, donde uno tenía que levantarse, comerse su plato, acostarse y levantarse a horas fijas”.

VERNACULAR

With humour, irony and insight, Twain describes the charm and cruelty of pre-Civil War America. Huck narrates in regional dialect and his natural goodness is shown to contrast with modern society’s greed, brutality and corruption. To escape his father, Huck fakes his own death and heads to the river. He meets Jim, Miss Watson’s runaway slave, and the two set off together on a raft.

“Sometimes we’d have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. […] It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened.”

“A veces nos quedaba el río para nosotros solos muchísimo rato [...] Vivir en una balsa es lo más estupendo del mundo. Teníamos el cielo encima, todo sembrado de estrellas, y solíamos tumbarnos boca arriba, y las mirábamos y discutíamos si habrían sido hechas o si habrían aparecido por sí solas”.

DECISION TIME

Life on the river is not always idyllic. Huck and Jim experience a river-boat accident, murderous robbers, feuding families, and two terrible fraudsters, known as the duke and the king. When Jim is betrayed for reward money, Huck plans to free him, but fears he will go to hell if he does. He writes a note to tell Miss Watson where to find Jim, but then stops to think. 

“And I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. […] and then I happened to look around and see that paper. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: ‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’ – and tore it up.”

“Y vi a jim delante de mí, continuamente, de día y de noche, a veces a la luz de la luna, a veces en plena tempestad, flotando delante, hablando y cantando, y riendo [...] Y entonces levanté la cabeza y vi la carta. La cogí y la levanté en la mano. Yo temblaba porque tenía que decidirme, de una vez para siempre, entre dos cosas, y lo sabía. Pensé unos instantes, conteniendo el aliento, y después me dije:

—Bueno, pues iré al infierno entonces.

Y rompí la carta”.

NEW ADVENTURES 

Huck succeeds in freeing Jim, but can he remain so? What adventures await Huck? Perhaps his future lies far from the Mississippi, as America expands westward into “Indian Territory”. Huck has his own reasons to travel west.

“And so there ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t a-going to no more. But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”

“Como que ya no queda nada que escribir, y que no estoy poco contento, porque si yo hubiese sabido el tostón que resulta hacer un libro, no hubiese intentado hacerlo, y no pienso hacerlo más. Pero me parece que voy a tener que salir de estampida para el Territorio Indio antes que los demás, porque tía Sally va a adoptarme y civilizarme y no puedo soportarlo. Ya antes me he visto en ese caso”. 

BANNED

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn enjoyed commercial and critical success, although Twain faced criticism for his unflinching portrayal of racism and slavery, as well as his use of racist slang. While the novel is still banned by some US libraries today, for many it is a work of literary genius, and of great historical and social significance.  

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