Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Leather Bound, Collectors Edition, The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, 396 pages, Published 1994 by The Easton Press (first published December 10th 1884)
A young boy runs away from his violent drunken father. A runaway slave seeks his freedom. Together they journey down the Mississippi river on an epic adventure. Ernest Hemingway said, "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn." Source: eastonpress.com
S1: E1 It's the second book mentioned in the series and also the Pilot episode, and Rory is attending what will be one of her last days at Stars Hollow High. The teacher instructs the students to conclude their reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and if already finished they may work on the contributing report. The class falls silent while a group of other students pass nail polish back and forth, nodding curiously at Rory's activity, and assuming it is a diary entry or something more scandalous. They grow entirely bored and roll their eyes when they realize she is partaking in the schoolwork. The scene continues after school with an introduction to Rory's best friend, Lane, where they discuss the frivolity of the other students.
S2: E5 At Luke's Diner, Luke is on the phone talking with his sister Liz concerning Jess' future arrival to Stars Hollow. Lorelai has already put an order in with Luke, but doesn't want to wait, so she walks behind the counter and grabs her doughnut from the display.
BOY 2: Hey Mr. Doose. She's not supposed to do that. TAYLOR: That's right. She's breaking the rules, and people who break the rules end up very lonely with no friends because they have become society's outcasts. LORELAI: Planning on burning a little Huck Finn after lunch, Taylor?
S2: E18 Lorelai and Rory are eating breakfast at Luke's when they notice a new special omelette on the blackboard menu, which Rory tells her is Jess' handwriting.
LORELAI: Really? How do you know Jess’ writing?
RORY: Oh, well, I lent him a book and he wrote some stuff in it. LORELAI: He vandalized one of your books? RORY: No, he didn’t vandalize it. He wrote in the margins, thoughts and stuff. LORELAI: Like what, like play basketball, eat a sandwich – stuff like that? RORY: No, stuff, like margin stuff. People like Mark Twain wrote in margins. LORELAI: Pilot a steamboat, write Huckleberry Finn?
S7: E20 It's Rory's last days at Yale, and with her looming graduation date she is anxious about not having plans for the future. Rory had multiple job offers and turned them down to wait for the acceptance of The New York Times which never came, and she now has no open prospects. Lorelai tries to cheer Rory up and they discuss those with great success who struggled at the beginning of their careers.
RORY: Mark Twain.
RORY: Well Mark Twain had to work as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi before he became a successful writer. And if he'd never had that experience, he never would have written Huckleberry Finn.
LORELAI: Which is one of your favorite books.
RORY: Remember when I made you have my 12th birthday at the Mark Twain Museum in Hartford?
LORELAI: I thought one day I was going to find you on a raft made out of empty milk cartons, sailing down the Housatonic River.
I consider this to be somewhat of a starting point into classic literature, so it is fitting that it is an assigned book for the Stars Hollow High sophomore class. Rory would most certainly be interested in doing the assignment, being that she has her sights already set on Harvard, but also because of literature's response to Huck Finn as one of the greatest works ever written. Modern writers took pieces from Twain's work and adapted literature because of it, as Hemingway said. For this reason, it was of course also mentioned in her graduation speech alluding to the great lives and adventures you live whilst inside a book.
Lorelai, queen of the witty reference, also mentions this book in retort to Taylor. Huckleberry Finn is on many banned and challenged book lists, and catches a of attention for its' infamous language on the American Frontier. Many are offended by the profanity, and you'll find much controversy pertaining to censored versions in today's bookstores. Fitting for Lorelai as a pop culture quip.
It is also one of the initial book introductions in AYITL: Winter and a throwback to the pilot episode. ASP references this book in the revival to combine and integrate the original pilot episode and the first episode of the reunion with a "full freaking circle" twist. As a first reference, this is hilarious. It became even more comical once I had finished the book and fully grasped the intention and clever satire within the novel.
"Jim said that bees won't sting idiots, but I didn't believe that, because I tried them lots of times myself and they wouldn't sting me." - Chapter 8
"Jim said he believed it was spirits; but I says: 'No, spirits wouldn't say, "Dern the dern fog."'" - Chapter 19
“All right, then, I’ll GO to hell." - Chapter 31
Aboard their raft in the Mississippi River, Jim confesses his troubles to Huck, who with a youthful understanding of the world, listens with a full and naive heart. Jim breaks down and admits how much he misses his family, and discusses a particular episode of his treatment of his daughter. The humanity in his confession, and the shame and guilt that he professes almost had me in tears.
WHAT THE WHAT?:
Twain was poking fun at stylized writing styles throughout Huck's adventures. Behind Emmeline Grangerford, the Sheperdson vs. Grangerford Families, and Tom Sawyer, all represented a particular style that the romance, family loyalty, and adventure stories relied on. Twain believes those stories were only part of an entire reality.
CARO'S RATING: 4.5 of 5 STARS
The general idea of someone's existence in relation to their treatment and general humanity, Jim's happiness and sadness, but moreover, hope will vibrate your core. The adventure of the Mississippi River is a real freedom for both boy and man, figuratively and literally. With themes of moral ambiguity, freedom vs. enslavement, and the "why" behind action, I cannot recommend this book enough.
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