The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
Contributed by Cinderella Domino
Discussion Questions
  1. Why did Twain include the "Notice" on the opening page? 
  2. Can the book’s 43 chapters be grouped according to distinct action sequences? Are there correspondences among chapters or groups of chapters?
  3. Each stage of Huck’s moral growth culminates in a crisis of conscience and a decision to assist Jim (as when Huck tells the two slave hunters that there is "only one" man on the raft and that "He’s white"); and each decision is more consequential than the previous. What are these stages and decisions; when do they occur; and what are their consequences?
  4. What are the consequences of Huck’s and Jim’s going past the mouth of the Ohio River in the fog? (Chapter XV) 
  5. Among the novel’s great ironies is that Huck’s and Jim’s quest for freedom takes them farther and farther into the deep South, the heart of slavery. How and why does this happen? What are the implications? 
  6. The primary movement of Huck’s and Jim’s journey and of the novel is linear, from north to south. A back-and-forth pattern of movement between river and shore also occurs. How is this pattern important in terms of plot? How is it related to the north-to-south movement? Does it reflect any other kind of movement experienced by Huck or Jim? 
  7. How do the king and the duke impact Huck’s and Jim’s life on the raft, their quest for freedom, and the novel’s movement? 
  8. What are the parallels between the king’s and duke’s treatment of Jim in Chapter XXIV and Tom Sawyer’s treatment of him in the final chapters? 
  9. The cemetery passage in Chapter XXIX is one of the few times when Huck is in immediate danger of actual harm or death. What are some similar incidents? What threatens his safety and well-being in each instance--other people or forces of nature? How does he escape in each instance? 
  10. Do the final chapters, beginning with Huck’s arrival at the Phelps farm, rely too much on coincidence? Do Tom Sawyer’s elaborate escape stratagems indicate that Jim’s and Huck’s goals are unobtainable? 
  11. Is there any justice in the fact that only Tom is wounded in the final chase through the swamp? 
  12. The story is told by a fourteen-year-old Huck, who admits to elaborate lies and fabrications. Can we trust him? Can we accept his version of things, or must we read between his lines?
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