Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 31-end

In chapter 31 the duke and king didn't go ashore for quite some time.  When they got quite a ways down the river they felt they were safe enough to go ashore and try to get money out of people.  They tried everything, but nothing seemed to work.  The duke and king then sat together in the wigwam and talked very quietly by themselves.  Huck and Jim were suspicious and scared of what they would do next.  One day the king went to shore and said if he wasn't back by midday it was safe for the duke and Huck to come, he wasn't back so off to town they went.  The king and duke got in a fight in town so Huck went back to the raft and was ready to be rid of them when he called for Jim and there was no answer.  He found a boy walking on the road and asked if he had seen a black man, the boy told him that he had and that it was a runaway slave and they caught him and that the old man had given him back for $40.  Huck was so upset and sad, they had put up with the theives and they had turned in this mans freedom for a lousy $40.  Huck then spent some time deciding how he felt about all of this, he fought with himself and wrote a letter to Miss Watson say where Jim was.  Then he sat there for a bit and decided he'd rather go to hell, tore up the letter and decided he would steal Jim back from slavery.  Huck moved the raft and went back into town the next day where he ran into the duke.  The duke thought that Huck had skipped out on them but Huck said he had been gone the whole day before and didn't know where the raft was and that his slave was gone.  The duke began to tell Huck the truth about where Jim was but then stopped and thought up a lie, he told Huck to go there immediately and waste no time.  This is what Huck wanted to hear, he went out in the country about a mile and then he turned back and headed towards where Jim really was.

In chapter 32 Huck goes looking for Jim.  He's walking to the town and there are dogs that bark and howl at him and he knows better than to move.  That's when a black woman and her children come out and then a white woman and her children come.  The white woman is so excited to see Huck and thinks it's Tom at last! The woman goes on to ask everything about the family but Huck has no idea who Tom is and gets very uneasy when all of the sudden the woman decides she's going to play a trick on her husband and Huck hides under the bed.  When her husband comes she asks if Tom has come yet and her husband responds that he hasn't and that he's awfully worried.  She looks out the window and asks if that's someone coming, her husband looks and that's when Huck comes out.  The husband asks who it is and she replies "it's Tom Sawyer."  This relieves Huck because he can answer questions about Tom, and so he tells them stories of his family and how the steamboat broke which was why it took him so long.  As time went on Huck became very comfortable being Tom until he heard a steamboat and wondered to himself, what if Tom does come?  So Huck tells his aunt and uncle that he's going to go look for his bags.  The man wanted to come with but Huck said he would go alone and that he could handle it, and off he went.

In chapter 33 when Huck is heading back into town there is a coach that he stoops because Tom is in it.  At first Tom thinks that Huck is a ghost and begs him to do no harm for he would do the same.  It took some time but Huck finally convinced Tom that he was real.  Then Tom came up with a plan because Huck told him everything.  Huck went back to the house and then along came Tom.  The family was excited because strangers don't often call, and once Tom got there they all talked for a bit before he kissed his aunt.  She was stunned and awfully offended until Tom announced he was Sid, his brother.  She apologized and hugged and kissed him until she couldn't anymore.  They all enjoyed a lovely dinner and Tom and Huck were to share a room.  They went to town that night and Huck saw two men that were tarred and feathered and he knew off the bat it was the duke and king.  Huck asked what had happened and someone told them that the crowd when in innocent enough and when the king was doing his act they all went and bombarded the stage and took the two off.  Huck felt bad for the rascals although he didn't know why, just that he couldn't seem to feel bad for them.

Chapter 34 is full of plans by Huck and Tom.  Huck comes up with a plan to get Jim out but Tom says it's too plain, which is what Huck thought he would say.  Tom comes up with a plan and they go down to where Jim is being hidden and look around and Tom decides they should dig him out.  Later they see the slave that lives where Jim is being held and he asks Tom and Huck if they want to come with him down there.  They agree and when they see Jim he is so excited to see them, but they play it off to the slave that they have never seen each other before and that Jim didn't actually see anything.  The slaves says that the witches have been haunting him lately, especially at night, and this is just a clear example of that.  The slave left the room and Huck quickly told Jim that they're digging to get him out and that they're going to help him escape.  When the boys went to leave they said they would come back if the slave wanted him to and he agreed and said especially at night because of the witches.

In chapter 35 nothing satisfies Tom.  Everything that needs to be done he has to make harder.  Tom claims that he knows what he's doing because he's read it in the book.  Everything that Huck and Tom need to help Jim escape they're allowed to steal on the account of they're doing it for the prisoners.  However, when Huck steals a watermelon from the slave pasture Tom makes him give the slaves 10 cents because Tom says they don't need that to get Jim out.  Huck also says they need to find picks and shovels so they can dig out Jim, but Tom says that this was too easy and that the prisoners would do that.  Tom decided that they had to steal 3 knives and dig Jim out with those until a rise came and then they would get him out quickly.  Huck pointed out there was a large rusty knife around the corner of the slave house, but Tom didn't need to say much and sent Huck to steal knives from the house.

Chapter 36 they work to dig out Jim with their knives, but it blistered their hands too quickly.  Tom said that this wouldn't work for them because they were in a hurry and prisoners had years and years to do it so he decided they could pretend that the shovels and picks were knives and they could dig him out.  When they got through Jim was so excited to see them, but Tom told Jim how everything would happen.  Jim would have to look for things that they sent him from his aunt and uncle.  Huck didn't see the sense in this but there was no stopping Tom when he got an idea in him.  Tom put a candle stick in Jim's food one night and Jim almost broke all of his teeth off, he never bit into anything every again without putting his fork in it three or four times. One night the dogs came in through the hole that Huck and Tom had gotten through and Tom opened the door and threw out a piece of Tom's meat.  When he got back he was consoling the slave that lived there, who was going on about the dogs or devils that he had just seen.  Tom told him that he needed to make a witches pie, the slave asked Tom to do it and he agreed on some conditions.  He had to put his back to the pie and when it was done no matter what do not touch anything that the witches left.  The chapter ended with the slave guaranteeing he would never get close to anything that the witches had touched.

In chapter 37 Tom's aunt noticed that the shirt was missing, then the spoon and the candlestick and so on.  She went on a fit about how her husband couldn't keep a shirt to save his life, she blamed the rats on the candlestick and candles.  Then he found the spoon in his pocket and it was quite the incident.  When he went down to close up the rat holes, Huck and Tom had already done it and the man was very confused.  Later Tom said he thought there were still only 9 spoons (Huck had taken one and hid it up his sleeve).  The woman was dumbfounded and counted them again, she counted 9 and then Huck put the spoon back and she got 10.  This happened many times over so no matter when she counted them she wouldn't trust herself.  This way Huck and Tom were able to steal the spoon and she wouldn't notice.  That night the put the sheet back on the clothes line and stole one from the closet.  She vowed she would never count any of them again because it would be the death of her.  Huck and Tom then figured out how to cook the pie and put the rope ladder in the pie.  The slave didn't look when they put the pie on Jim's plate and didn't see when Jim tore into the pie and got the ladder out and hid it.

Chapter 38  is full of new tasks that Jim must do as a prisoner before he can escape.  Tom has Jim and Huck making pens so that Jim can write in the wall before he leaves, but then Tom decides that it needs to be in stone so he and Huck set out to find a rock for him to write in.  They find a  good rock but Huck and Tom can't move it so they go and get Jim to help them, he takes his chain off the bed and helps them go get it, the rock then can't get through the hole but Jim quickly makes it big enough for the rock to get through.  Once the rock has been brought Tom asks if Jim has an spiders around, Jim responds no but he doesn't want any and that he would rather have a rattlesnake.  Tom thinks that's a good idea and that Jim has to tame the snake and make it his pet.  Jim does not like this idea and says he won't do it, then Tom asks if there are any rats because all prisoners have rats.  Jim again responds no but he doesn't want any either, but Tom insists on it.  Next Tom tells Jim that he needs to raise a plant and he can only do it with his tears.  Jim becomes quite upset and says how it's very difficult to be a prisoner, Tom gets upset and almost gives up on Jim until Jim apologizes and says he won't act like that anymore.

In chapter 39 Huck and Tom have to get all of the items to make Jim's time as a prisoner a real one.  They catch about 15 rats but the younger kids get into the trap to see if the rats will come out, and of course they did.  Aunt Sally was raging mad and she punished Huck and Tom but it didn't amount to much so Huck didn't mind.  Then they went and got snakes and left them under their bed when they went down for dinner and they didn't get the bag tied up all the way so the snakes were able to get out.  Aunt Sally never really recovered from that, every time one dropped on her she would freak out and whenever she saw one she would scream. Even a good two weeks after all of the snakes were gone she would still scream if you touched her shoulder.  Huck and Tom went and got a great number of bugs and spiders and frogs and Jim said that all of this in his little area left him no room.  Jim said there wasn't enough room in the bed for him and when there was he couldn't sleep because of all of the activity.  Once all of the preparations were done for Jim Tom devised a plan to escape.  He wrote a warning letter for the "servant girl" to push under the front do, who was really Huck dressed up in girl clothes.  Then Tom wrote a letter saying that he was part of a group of people who were going to steal their runaway slave and the letter gave instructions on what to do, and asked for no reward.

Chapter 40 allllllll the action happens!  The boys were very happy with themselves and made breakfast before they returned home.  When they got home they everyone was in a frantic mood about something and the boys didn't need to be told.  They were told to go up to bed right after dinner and they prepared for their night.  When they woke up the butter that Huck had left out was gone.  Tom told Huck he needed to go down to the cellar and get more butter, when he came up Aunt Sally was questioning why he was up and sent him to the sitting room to wait for her.  Huck got to the room and there were farmers there with their guns.  This made Huck's stomach drop with fear.  When Aunt Sally was questioning him he didn't know how to answer and then the butter started to melt and she feared his brains was coming out of his head!  When she took off his hat and saw the butter and bread she was no longer mad and sent him to bed.  Huck rushed to where Tom was and told him they must go now, Jim was there also and off they went.  They ran and then Tom's clothes got caught on something and it made a snapping noise that brought all of the farmers towards them and shooting.  They ducked as the farmers were behind them and the farmers kept running, when the dogs came they saw that they knew Huck and Tom and kept going after all the action.  When they got away to the canoe and were on their way to the raft is when they realized that Tom had been shot.  Before they got to the raft Jim declared they would not leave until they had fetched a doctor.  Tom tried to fight them but he said if it must be done then you had to blindfold the doctor and take him all around the town so he wouldn't know where he was going and then bring him to the canoe.

In chapter 41 Huck got the doctor to come and, of course, made up a story so that he would come and not tell anyone why.  Huck decides to go to sleep for a bit in a pile of wood and when he woke up he ran straight into Uncle Siles.  Huck told him a story that him and Tom had tried to follow the farmers and dogs but they outran them and they got lost.  Huck said that Tom went to the post office so him and his uncle went there to wait for Tom, when Tom didn't come his uncle insisted that they go home.  Once they got home everyone was trying to understand how everything had gotten done that they found where Jim had stayed.  The women said that there had to be at least 40 slaves there every night to pull all of that off.  When Tom was still not home after dinner his uncle went to the town to wait for him for a few hours and returned alone.  Aunt Sally then puts Huck to bed and asks him not to leave so that they both don't go missing.  Huck goes down twice to run and check on Tom and there's Aunt Sally sitting in the front window with her candle, the third time he goes down the sun is coming up and there's Aunt Sally sitting there asleep.

Chapter 42 Tom finally returns with the doctor and Jim.  The doctor tells the story of how much help Jim was but he didn't dare leave because he didn't want the runaway slave to get away.  In the morning he was able to get some men from the river to help tie up Jim so that they could back, but he told the towns people not to cuss him out because he was a good man.  Once Tom woke up he told Aunt Sally the ENTIRE story of everything that him and Huck did to set Jim free.  When he finally realized that Jim wasn't free he felt awfully sick and then when Polly walked in he stopped mid sentence.  That's when Huck hid under the bed and Polly told Sally how Tom was actually Tom and Huck was actually Huck.  She wasn't surprised that Tom was up to something, especially because she sent him here with no one to watch over him.  They all found out that Jim was actually already free because Miss Watson had died and freed him in her will.  Tom already knew that and just wanted the adventure of getting him out.

In the end they fixed Jim up really well, especially when they heard what a help he was to the doctor.  When Tom said he wanted to go over and see the Indians Huck said he would go but didn't have any money because he figured his father had gone and gotten it from the judge.  Tom assured him he hadn't and Jim told Huck that his father was never coming back.  Huck asked why until Jim finally explained that the body they saw in the abandoned house was his father's.

Lots and lots of thoughts to come! I just wanted to make sure to have the summaries up by class! I'll be all over my thoughts and analyzing what I think tomorrow!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 21-30

In chapter 21 the duke and king decide they are going to put on a play.  They practice Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet's soliloquy for an on encore.  When they come to the next town they stop and are in luck because there's a circus coming that day and maybe people will stay for their play.  They make up a bill and flyers and place them throughout the town which Huck describes in detail.  There is a drunk man that is yelling outside of Colonel Sherburn's place and the colonel comes outside and tells the drunk man that he will listen to this until 1 and not past that.  The drunk man continues to cuss and yell and so the colonel comes out and shoots him in the street.  At this the colonel drops the gun and walks off, the townspeople take the drunk man and try to help him but it's too late and he dies.  The people reinact the shooting and decide that the colonel should be lynched, and the townspeople go off to get rope for the hanging.

The mob heads to Sherburn's house and they say "knock the fence down," in chapter 22.  Sherburn comes out on the roof of his front porch with a gun and cocks it.  For a moment it's silent and still, the crowd having too look down.  Sherburn laughs and goes on a rant about how there are no men in this crowd.   In the North the man takes whatever is given to him and he goes home and prays for patience, in the South men come at night in masks to lynch someone.  He says there are no men here so they should all go home and leave.  The crowd turns and quickly goes home.  Huck sneaks into the circus, even though he has money, he figures he should save his money because he's far away from home in the midst of strangers.  The circus was fun, there was a man that acted drunk and made a big scene.  The ring master told the man that if he thought he could ride the horse and promised to stop making a scene he could try.  The man got on the horse and at first seemed to be flailing all over, until he stood on the horse and then undressed into a shiny outfit.  The man rode the horse off and the ring master was quite mad that his own person fooled him.  That night was the kind and duke's show and only 12 people came.  These people laughed the whole time and left before it was over.  The duke was mad at this and so he made up a new bill and posted it.

In chapter 23 the duke and king get a little payback at the town for laughing at them.  In the play the duke comes out naked and painted and looks so crazy and dances around, the crowd thought it was hilarious and they made him do it two more times.  When he was done it was announced that that was the end of the show.  The men were mad and going to storm the stage but one man says we don't want to look bad to the rest of the town so tonight talk up this show and have others come tomorrow.  The next night it was packed again and the crowd that night was fooled.  The third night the crowd comes and this time it's the same men that had come before but with eggs and cabbages hidden under their clothes.  When the duke sees this they all break for the raft and get away.  That night Jim didn't wake Huck for his turn to watch the raft and when Huck woke Jim was clearly homesick and moaning.  When Huck asked him what was wrong Jim told him the story about his daughter.  She wouldn't listen to him and Jim smacked her across the face but she still didn't do what he asked, so Jim went behind her and made a loud noise to scare her but she again didn't move.  At this Jim swept her up in his arms and asked the Lord to forgive him for hitting her because she was deaf and dumb.

Chapter 24 makes Huck ashamed of the human race.  The night they set sail they came to a part where there were two different towns on either side of the river.  The duke and king were trying to figure out how they could get money from them.  The king got some nice clothes and took Huck along with him.  They went down the river and saw a boy on the side of the shore.  He told them of the story of a man who was sick and only wanted to see his two brother's before he died.  His brother's lived in England and were sent word a month before but they had not yet come.  The boy said that the man had died the night before, and with that the king helped the boy to the steamboat and him and Huck went to the shore.  The king told Huck to quickly go back and get the duke.  When the duke got there the duke and king pretended to be the two brother's who were there to see the man before he died.  When the townspeople told them that he died the night before they cried and carried on like they were devastated.  The townspeople took the two up to the city carrying their bags and letting them cry the whole way.  

In chapter 25 the duke and king were taken to the house their "nieces" were there and embraced them with such a hug as to embrace your true family.  They went over to the coffin and the room became quiet, when they saw the body they burst out crying as did everyone else.  There wasn't a dry eye there and all the women went up to the girls and kissed them.  The king and duke read the letter and went and got the money that was found and counted it in front of everyone and then they gave it to their "nieces."  The doctor comes that was friends with the man who died and stood there listening to the king speak for awhile.  He then laughs in the king's face and says how he's an imposter and has an awful fake accent.  The townspeople try to tell the doctor how the men have proven they are truly the deceased brothers.  The doctor then looks at the girls and tells them that he cares for them and wants no harm done to them, so he warns them that the king and duke are imposters.  One girl replies by giving the doctor $6,000 and tells him to invest it for them.  The doctor warns that one day everyone will look back on this with a sick feeling but then leaves.

Chapter 26 began with one of the girls offering the different beds to the duke, king and Huck.  They seemed to be satisfied and then they went down for dinner.  Huck stood behind the king and waited on him until dinner was over when he was able to eat with another girl.  She asked Huck many questions about England and he got himself in a bind a few times.  The girl told Huck how she didn't believe him because of the "stretches" he made.  Then two other girls came in and told this younger girl that she should feel ashamed and be nice to Huck.  The girls made Huck feel at home and this made Huck feel very guilty because he was letting the duke and king steal from them.  Huck decides to turn in early and comes up with a plan to steal the money from the duke and king and hide it and then write a letter to Mary Jane, one of the girls, where it's hidden.  Huck goes to the king's room to look for the money when the king and duke came in.  The duke wanted to leave and the king talked him out of it saying they could still sell all the property and get all the money from that.  Then they decided to move the money from the current hiding spot, which was where Huck happened to be hiding.  They moved the money and Huck knew exactly where it was.  The duke and king headed back downstairs and Huck went up to his room.  He listened and when everyone had turned in and the house was quiet he got out of bed.

In chapter 27 Huck starts down the ladder and goes to hide the money, when he hears someone coming down the stairs behind him.  The only place he sees to hide the money is in the coffin.  The person coming down the stairs was Mary Jane and she went to the coffin and cried, but still none of the watch men were stirred.  Huck went back to his room and had to think this through.  He wanted to go get the money and hide it but he didn't want to risk getting caught.  The next morning was the funeral and everyone came to pay their respects.  The king wastes no time in selling the slaves and other property off.  There was a lot of talk because the sons and mother slaves were separated and no one like that.  After the slaves were sold the duke and king asked Huck why he went into the king's room, at this Huck says he hasn't been in there since Mary Jane had shown them all around.  The king asks Huck if he's seen anyone else go in the room , and Huck says that the slaves had gone in there but came out one by one.  The king and duke are very upset at this and then the king gets mad at Huck.  They go off and Huck is glad that he was able to blame the slaves without doing any harm to them.

Chapter 28 reveals Huck's true character.  He decides to tell Mary Jane what is going on with the two "uncles" of hers.  He tells her everything from the beginning all the way up until that moment.  Huck then comes up with an idea of her going away for the day and coming back later that evening.  If he doesn't come to her room at 11pm then he has gotten away safely.  Then she will tell the town of the two frauds and call upon those who were at the play to help prove that these two men were not really her uncles.  She leaves before breakfast and Huck tells others that she has gone across the river because a close friend is ill but she sends love and kisses to her uncles.  That day the auction is held and the king makes sure to sell everything off.  

In chapter 29 the real brothers come and the doctor believes them.  The real set of brothers go to the hotel to wait because when their luggage arrives they'll be able to prove who they are.  The doctor and others set to questioning the duke and king about who they are.  They then decide to question them all together and brought Huck along too.  They compared hand-writing but to no avail because the brother that broke his arm was the one that wrote the letters.  The real brother asked the king and duke what was on the man's breast, and the king responded that it was a small arrow that you couldn't really see unless you were looking.  The real brother disagrees and said that it was letters with dashes inbetween them, and the people who buried the man said neither was on there that they didn't see anything.  This brought the group to walk to the cemetery to dig the man up.  The lightning and rain had started and when they got to the cemetery the crowd realized that they hadn't brought a lantern.  They continued to dig and found the money in the coffin still, with a loud snap of lightning the person holding Huck's wrists let go and he was able to escape and ran straight through town to where the raft and Jim were.  They quickly got off and Huck was thrilled that they were rid of the king and duke until he turned around and saw them coming towards them down the river at which it took everything for Huck not to cry.

In chapter 30 the king got on the boat and immediately went after Huck asking what he was doing trying to give them the slip.  Huck said only that he was able to get away and he thought he was going to be hung so when he got to the canoe he told Jim to go and that he thought that the king and duke were dead already.  The king and duke fight about how the money got in the coffin and the duke held down the king and choked which was when the king admitted to hiding the gold there.  The duke warned that if he ever denied he did it he would drown him straight away.  After this Huck felt much easier because he was worried about getting caught.  The king and duke then sent away for their bottles of alcohol and by the end of the night seemed to be chummy again as they fell asleep.  At this point Huck sat and told Jim everything.

In these chapters the mob mentality that was spoken about when we read My Kinsman.  In chapter 22 when the mob wants to kill the Colonel he talks about how now true man is in that group.  He also talks about how the mob is one of the most shameful things to be in because no man finds courage in himself rather the numbers he's part of.  I think this is true of all times.  This still goes on today even in high school girls, but it doesn't end there.  You can see the mob mentality everywhere and it's truly disgraceful.  The colonel tells this mob how awful they are and how there is no one courageous about them and to go off, and they did.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the story of the duke and king pretending to be the brother's of the dead man.  It makes me despise them and not like them anymore than I already did but that's not really saying much.  I think that they are truly disgraceful people for scamming so many people out of their money.  There are people like this today like investment people who will take money from people and embezzle it instead of investing it.  When these people are getting close to getting caught they change their identity and get away, or they simply go to another country where the United States doesn't have jurisdiction.  I wish that the duke and king hadn't gotten away, more the king than the duke.  The duke had some remorse whereas the king wanted to get every last cent out of these innocent people as they could. I wish that Huck would have been able to get rid of them for good.

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 13-20

In chapter 13 Huck and Jim get off the wreck. They think that they're in trouble but the murderers have to get off their boat to go back and loot more off of the wrecked ship. Huck and Jim take this opportunity and steal the murderers boat. They go partially down the river and Huck begins to feel guilty, he decides they should stop if they see a light and get help.  The come across a ferry and Huck gets on and tells the captain that his family is on the wreck and asked if he would go look for them.  Huck said that he had an Uncle Hornback and with that the man went to work.  Huck quickly went down river and finally found Jim's light.  When Huck finally got to the light it was beginning to get light so they hid their raft, sunk the boat and fell asleep.

All through chapter 14 Huck and Jim banter back and forth.  They first wake up and go through everything they had gotten and realized they were very rich.  That brought them to the subject of kings.  Huck talks about how King Solomn had many wives and that the widow said he was the wisest man there was.  Jim fervently disagrees and says anyone who wanted that much fighting that multiple women would bring cannot be wise.  Jim also brings up how Solomn was willing to cut his child in half, that a wise man that only had a few children values his children.  Huck changes the subject and they talk about a few other kings and the french.  Huck says that the french speaks differently because they're not the same as us, he compares a man to a cow and cat saying we don't speak like them because we're different.  Jim replies that a cow and cat aren't human and that men should speak English because they're men. Huck finally gives up because once a black man gets his mind set on something, there's no changing it.

In chapter 15 Huck gets separated from Jim.  Huck turns around and sees that the raft is gone!  In his frantic moment he forgets to untie the canoe as he tries to go after it.  At this point trying to find the canoe is hopeless because there is such a heavy fog that no one can see in front of them.  However, at first Huck tries desperately to find Jim by calling out noises, some points it comes from his left, right, and behind.  This is when Huck gives up and lays down in the canoe, he falls asleep and when he wakes the sky is visible and no longer foggy.  He rushes down the river and finally comes upon the raft with a sleeping Jim on it.  He wakes Jim and Jim is so happy to see him, but Huck says "What are you talking about Jim, I haven't gone anywhere. Where would I go?"  Huck had Jim convinced it was all a dream and Jim had interrupted the dream.  When Huck asked why there were leaves and a broken oar everything seemed to click in Jim's head.  Jim looked at Huck and told him how mean that was and how he was so happy to see Huck alive he had tears in his eyes and all Huck did was make a mean joke.  At that Jim went to the wigwam and stayed there, it took Huck 15 minutes to go apologize to him and he never regretted it.

Chapter 16 begins with Huck and Jim floating down river during the night and Jim begins to get very excited about getting to be a free man.  Around this same time Huck starts to get very guilty because he let someone else's property get away.  He feels sick because he thinks to himself how Miss Watson never did anything wrong by him and yet he's helping her property get away.  Jim is talking about when he gets to a free state he's going to save money to buy his wife and then they'll save money to buy their children.  If their owner won't sell them then they'll find an abolitionist who will steal their children.  At this Huck changes his mind and decides he's going to tell on Jim.  Jim sees a city and Huck decides he will go ashore and tell, but as he's paddling away Jim calls out to Huck and tells him he's the best white man ever and he's the only honest white man that has ever kept him a promise.  At this Huck again starts to feel guilty and is very torn.  Two men on a boat talk to Huck now and ask if the raft is his and if anyone is on it.  Huck tells the men that his father is on it and that he's white, the men reply that they want to take a look.  Huck says that would be such a help and asked if the men would tow the raft ashore because his father was mighty sick.  The men become skeptical and ask what he's sick with, they then assume that it's small pox and tell Huck they can't help him.  Huck gets back on the raft and again feels very guilty because he knows he's done wrong.  Huck then asks himself would he have felt better if he turned in Jim and realized he wouldn't.  That night Huck and Jim set off trying to find Cario again and passed two towns that were not them.  They slept the day through and when they went back for the canoe, it was gone.  They didn't need to talk because they both knew it was work of the bad luck from the snake skin.  That night a large ferry came straight for them, usually they try to get out of the way at the last minute but this ferry didn't move.  It hit their raft in the middle and Huck and Jim dove off either side at the last minute.  When Huck surfaced he called for Jim but got no response.  Huck then went to shore and was walking when he came across a log house, he was going to run away until he heard a lot of dogs barking at him.  Huck knew better than to try and run, so he just stood there.

In chapter 17 a family calls out to Huck and asks who he is.  They then tell him to walk slowly towards the house and poke his head in.  When they realize that he isn't someone who will cause them harm they invite him in.  Huck tells them a story as to how he came there that ended with him falling off of a steamboat and having to come ashore.  The family gets him some dry clothes and food and say he's welcome to make their home his home as long as he wanted.  The next morning Huck couldn't remember what he said his name was and asked the boy to spell it, Huck then writes it down in case anyone asks him to spell it.  He goes on an exploration of the house and describes how big and beautiful the house is.   Huck talks about the girl Emmeline that used to live there who passed away.  She had very sad art work that was very beautiful along with amazing poetry that was also very sad.  She would come after the doctor and before the undertaker and would make up poetry for the person.  Huck finishes the chapter by going back to his description of the home and how lovely it was.

Chapter 18 begins with Huck describing Colonel Grangerford, his wife and the rest of the family that Huck is staying with.  Then he discusses the feud that is going on between the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons.  It had begun about 30 or so years ago when two men went to court over something (no one remembers what anymore) and the man who lost killed the other man.  It has continued through the years and many from the families have died because of this feud.  There had been two killed this year, an old Sheperdson had killed an adolescent Gangerford and a few weeks later the Gangerfords had killed the old Sheperdson.  Huck heard the story and then decided it was time to take a nap on this Sunday, when he was headed to his room one of the younger Gangerford girls asked if he would go to the church because she forgot her testament there.  Huck went to fetch it and found a piece of paper that said "half past two" on it.  He returned the testament to her and said he couldn't read and she told him it was just a book mark.  Huck then went on a walk to think this through and his slave followed him and told Huck he would show him some water moccasins, Huck found this weird but he followed him anyways.  Huck's slave brought him to a little area near the river and that's where Huck saw Jim.  Jim explained that he tried to follow Huck but he had gotten hurt and couldn't swim as fast as Huck and then he was afraid of the dogs but made sure that Huck got inside the house.  Jim then says he didn't fetch him sooner because he was working on the raft so that they could continue on.  The next morning Huck realized the house was too still, Jim told him that the young girl that left her testament in the church had run off with a Sherperdson and they had gotten married.  The family wasted no time, got their guns and went to find them.  Huck wasn't woken because they didn't want to put him in the middle of it, but Huck went and found where Buck was and Buck told him to keep a watch out for the men.  The men came back and shot both Buck and his cousin and they jumped in the river to try and get away, the men stood at the bank shooting at the boys saying "kill them kill them."  Huck stayed in the tree until that night and vowed not to go back to the house after everything he had witnessed.  As he was going away he pulled out two bodies from the river and covered their faces up, he cried as he covered up Buck's because he was good to him.  Huck raced back to where Jim had been and he wasn't there and the raft was gone.  Huck was scared until he called out and Jim replied.  Jim thought that Huck was again dead but so glad that he wasn't they left.  Huck didn't feel easy until they were a few miles away and in the middle of the Mississippi.  Both Huck and Jim agreed that there's no real home like a raft.

Huck begins chapter 19 by talking about the river and how peaceful it is.  One night these men were on the shore and said that the dogs and horses and men were after them!  They wanted to jump into the boar right away but Huck told them to go down a little farther and then swim to the boat to throw off the dogs.  When the men got into the boat Huck realized that none of these men knew each other or why they were each in trouble.  They each told their stories and then one came out that he was a duke.  His father was the rightful duke but the old duke's brother took the line and wouldn't give it to the infant.  Now this man on the boat has been forced to go on with "lesser status."  He then told all of the men to call him your grace or something along those lines, the old man that was in the group got awfully quiet during dinner and seemed to have a problem with this.  He then said to the duke that he wasn't the only one with troubles and came out to say that he is the late Dauphin, and that he is actually the rightful King of France.  Then the duke seemed to get sour on the King because of the treatment he was getting.  The King said why don't we just get along because they were going to be together for some time.  The duke agreed and everything seemed to be comfortable again.  It didn't take Huck too long to figure out that these poor men weren't really a duke or king but he didn't say anything because he wanted to keep the peace.  Huck didn't tell anyone, he learned one thing from his father that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.

In chapter 20 Huck had to come up with a story as to why they only traveled by night and why they had to hid the raft while they slept.  One night a storm hit and Jim was on watch when the waves became high and washed Huck overboard.  Jim thought this was hilarious and couldn't stop laughing.  When the storm stopped the duke and king discussed putting on a play.  Everyone went to shore at this town.  They went to the town meeting and made $87 by frauding them.  Then they made a few signs, including one that said $200 reward and it described Jim.  Now they could travel by day and if someone stopped them they could say that Jim was a runaway slave and they were taking him back for the reward.  Also with the money they got some alcohol and the king and duke got drunk.  Jim was trying to get the king to speak in french but the king said he had left France when he was too  young to remember any of it.

A theme that I notice throughout these chapters is distrust and lying.  At every stop Huck makes up a new story about who he is, and once the duke and king come they also tell stories about who everyone is.  All of this is done to gain something material for them.  There is also little trust in what others are telling them.  Whenever a story is told people say "well if you're really telling me the truth."  This definitely still happens today.  There is no trust in this world because of how awful people have become.  I think that then there was a lot of distrust because the country was still so young and so much was going on.  Now I think that it's going on because everyone is so self involved that everyone only looks out for themselves and thinks that no one else can be trusted.  When looking at the duke and the king and how they told stories to make themselves look better is also something that goes on today.  Everyone now seems to want to be famous and will make up stories so that the attention stays on them and their fame doesn't decrease.

Looking at the feud between the Grangerfords and Sheperdsons makes me really look at society.  People never forget about a feud, but they often forget about what it's over.  Then being willing to give up your life or anything you have just  for a feud that you don't know anything about is a little ridiculous to me.  There is clearly a strong sense in pride and family that goes along with this and if you're a real man then you are willing to die for this cause.  It surprised me that one of the Sheperdons was able to live for a long time because no one in either family cared about the other and would kill them for nothing.  I think that this is still seen today in gang fights and how there are wars between rival gangs but none of them know why, just because they're associated with the other gang.

I love how close Huck and Jim have become.  Jim cares a great deal for Huck and though Huck doesn't show it as outright as Jim he clearly cares.  Every time that Jim thinks Huck is dead he becomes very emotional and is so thankful that Huck is alive.  It feels as though there is almost a father-son relationship going on or maybe even a brotherly relationship going on.  They have gone through so much and faced a lot of challenges and they have come through them together.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 9-12

In chapter nine they hike to a spot that is high up and because Jim had seen that the birds said it was going to rain they decided to hide the canoe and bring all of their belongings up to the spot they found.  The storm was terrible and the water level rose on the Illinois side of the rive.  After the storm they would paddle around in the canoe, the animals had become so hungry you could go right up to them and touch/feed them if you wanted to.  One night a house floated by, and they both got in it from the upstairs window.  In the house there was a dead man laying in the corner, Huck didn't have any intention of looking at it.  They went through the house and got a lot of goods that could come in handy at some point.  When they had gotten everything they wanted it was daylight and Huck made Jim lay down in the canoe so no one could see him.  Huck paddled back to their spot and they got everything home safely.

Chapter ten is once again full of superstisions.  Huck wanted to talk about the dead man they had seen but Jim said it was bad luck.  Jim also told Huck that handling a snake skin was horrible luck, which Huck had done earlier in the week.  Huck looked at the days finds and said he hoped this bad luck happened more often.  Jim warned Huck that the bad luck was coming, and it did.  Huck killed a snake and thought it would be funny to put it at the end of Jim's bed for fun, however Huck forgot about the snake and when Jim got in bed the snake's mate was there.  The mate bit Jim in the heel and Jim became very sick.  Huck had to cut off the snake's head, skin it and Jim ate the meat.  This was done to help cure Jim, everytime Jim was conscious he also drank.  It took four days and nights until Jim was able to get up again.  One of the first things they did was go fishing when the water levels went down and they caught a fish that was about 6 feet long, probably one of the biggest Mississippi had ever seen.  That next morning Huck announced that he was feeling a bit anxious and wanted to stir up some trouble and decided he wanted to go into town.  Jim suggested he go after dark and that he dress up in some girl clothes so no one would recognize him.  Huck liked the idea and he got into a calico dress and a bonnet and set out on his journey to town just after dark.  He saw a house that he thought hadn't had a residance in there for long, so the people wouldn't recognize him, and that's where he decided he wanted to visit.

In chapter eleven  Huck is invited into the woman's house and he says his name is Sarah Williams and that he lives in a neighboring town.  The woman that lives there goes into the story of Huck's death and the town first believed that it was Huck's father who killed him because he disappeared the day after the search.  Then they came to the conclusion that it was Jim because he had gone missing the night of the alleged murder.  Huck is looking pretty uneasy at this point and the woman again asks his name, this time Huck said Mary Williams and the woman questioned it.  Huck quickly covers it up and says that it's Sarah Mary Williams and different people call him different first names.  The woman seems to accept this and goes on with her stories.  The woman then tries to kill the rats that are in her house and asks Huck to help, he doesn't do to bad.  Huck also got ahold of some thread and a needle and he was holding the thread still while trying to move the needle.  These things gave Huck away and the woman asked his real name.  He said that he was a runaway and that both of his parents were dead and he needed to go, he said he stole the clothes from the man's daughter and left.  The woman proceeded to tell him everything that gave him away so that he might fix it in the future, she made him a snack and set him on his way. Huck quickly went back to the island where Jim was and told him to hurry because they were after them.  Jim never questioned it but packed quickly and they had everything done in half an hour.

In chapter twelve they got away to a part of the river that they were certain they wouldn't get caught, about 17 miles away from the town.  That night Jim built a wigwam for them to say in, for the next few nights they traveled down the river.  Huck would go to town around 10pm to buy some food to live off of and in the morning he would go borrow some fruit/vegetables from the fields.  Huck's father had said that borrowing was okay if you had the intention of paying them back someday, but the widow said it was just a soft word for stealing.  One night they came across a ferry that had crashed in the terrible storm they were experiencing. Huck wanted to go aborad but Jim didn't yet Huck got the better of Jim and off they went.  In the ship they heard voices, and at that Jim left.  Huck went to see what was happening and he saw two men over a man that was tied up, of the two men one had a lantern and one had a pistol.  They were going to kill the man, but they decided to loot the rest of the captain's quarters and then watch the ship for two hours to make sure it would sink and the man would die.  At this Huck went and found Jim and told him that they needed to go immediately, he suggested that Jim go to the raft and get it ready.  Jim interrupts Huck and says there is no more raft, it broke free and was gone.

I find it not in the least bit surprising that they blame Jim for the murder.  As I was reading the earlier chapters I thought to myself "they're going to blame Jim."  And sure enough, they did.  It's always easy to blame the black slave that goes missing.  They didn't just think that maybe he was sick of being someone else's property.  He knows the severity of his running away because when Huck said they were coming after them he didn't say a thing and picked as quickly as he could.  It's clear the fear that rests with both of them if they are caught and if they have to be brought back.  The penalty for running away is severe and not something a slave wishes to endure.  It's interesting to me that if Jim had been sold he would be worth $900 but to be brought back to where his owner was it was only a $300 reward.

It's very obvious how slaves were thought of as nothing at this time.  When Huck said that he was George and not Sarah and that he ran away from the man he lived with(since both of his parents died, according to the story he told) because the man treated him so poorly the woman felt so bad and called him a poor baby and how she won't tell anyone that he's gone and that she'll help him anyway she can.  Yet when she's talking about how Jim is gone and how she thinks he killed the boy she made it clear she didn't feel bad for him.  Her husband was going to go hunt that slave down and take him back to where he belonged and she could have the reward money! She didn't feel bad for Jim, even though he was probably treated just as bad as "George" would have been.

I don't know if it's just me but I just didn't get as much out of these chapters.  I've seen some of the same areas reiterated but I'm not really sure what to think of everything new.  I'm confused as to what is going on in the ship and what's going on with the men who want to kill the other man.  Why is this important?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 5-8

In chapter five Huck's father returns as an old drunk that he is.  He tells Huck not to go to school anymore and if he does then he'll whip him, he also tells him that he's going to fix the attitude Huck has that he thinks he's better than his father.  Huck's father demands money from him but Huck only has the dollar in his pocket.  His father takes it and buys alcohol with it, he then returns and tells Huck he'll whip him if he doesn't raise money for him.  The widow and the judge try to go to the court and make it so one of them has custody of Huck, but there is a new judge and he says they shouldn't meddle in separate family affairs and leaves Huck in his father's custody.  Huck's father continues in his drunkenness and the new judge says he's going to make a man out of him.  The judge takes him in, clothes him, feeds him and has a long discussion with him.  Huck's father cries and says he's wasted his life, the judge cries as well as his wife, at this the judge announces that he has changed and that all he needed was some compassion.  That night Huck's father sneaks out and trades his new coat for alcohol, he sneaks out again and falls off the room and breaks his arm, he almost died but someone found him at sun up.  The judge reckons that no one can fix this man without a shot gun.

Chapter six Huck is locked in a cabin for the entire time.  He decides that he likes this life better, and doesn't know how he could like the life with the widow.  Huck got to hunt and smoke and didn't have to do any school or lessons.  Huck's father then goes on about how the government is not good one, that he would be one of the richest men in the town if they let him have his six thousand dollars.  He would go and get drunk and sometimes not go back to the cabin for days at a time, leaving Huck there alone. Huck had decided it was time he should try and escape.  He finally found a saw and was sawing his way out when he heard his father coming back.  Quickly Huck hid his saw and was going to wait for the night to escape when he father was blind drunk.  This night, however, his father did not fall asleep.  He groaned and tossed and turned until Huck too fell asleep.  In the middle of the night his father woke up and said there was s snake biting him, and that death was trying to get him but he wouldn't go.  His father got a knife and started chasing Huck, saying he was an angel of death and that he would kill him.  Huck's father finally fell asleep, and Huck got the gun and sat next to his father waiting for him to stir.

In chapter seven Huck escapes!!  It starts with his father waking up and asking Huck why he has the gun.  Huck says that someone tried to get in last night and that he was unable to wake his father no matter how hard he tried.  His father sent Huck down to the river to catch the morning fish for breakfast, this is where Huck finds an empty canoe floating down the river.  He hides the canoe and decides he wants to use it for an escape instead of giving it to his father for money.  Huck's father leaves that night and he doesn't expect him back that night so as soon as his father leaves Huck finishes the hole he started sawing.  Huck then steals everything from the house and puts it in his canoe, he goes back to the house and makes it look like he was murdered by catching a wild hog and putting its blood outside and dragging it to the river.  Huck also takes the cornmeal and drags it to the lake to make it look like that's where the robbers went. He then goes to the river and takes a nap in the canoe, he's awaken to his father coming back from town and wastes no more time.  The currents are quick and he quickly comes to Jackson's Island where he has decided to land.  Huck then falls asleep with the intent of taking a nap before breakfast.

Chapter eight starts with loud booming.  The ferry ship is shooting its cannons trying to get the body to float, there were also loaves of bread floating down the river because it's thought that the loaves will go to the corpse.  The ferry then comes so close to Huck that he is able to see the people on it and what they were doing.  The ferry then went around the island until they finally gave up and went home.  Huck knows he's safe then and builds a camp.  Huck went exploring and ended up accidentally stepping in a campfire that was still hot.  He went back to his camp and put all of his things back in the canoe and left, he found a new spot and there again he heard horse hoofs and men talking.  Huck decided he would find out who was on the island with him.  He comes across the man that is on the island and it's Jim! Jim believes that Huck is a ghost and asks not to be hurt, Huck is happy to have company and tells Jim to make a fire and he'll find food.  Huck comes back with cornmeal, coffee, a coffee pot and Jim believes it's all done by witch craft.  They cook a fish and exchange stories as to why they left.  Jim ran away because he didn't want to be sold to New Orleans and during his escape he heard all about how Huck died.  Jim made Huck promise not to tell that he ran away and Huck said he wouldn't although if people found out the would call him an abolitionist because he didn't tell.  Jim then tells the rest of his tales of how he came on the island.  They talk about many signs that Jim knows, of things that cause bad luck and what's coming.  At the end of the chapter Jim realizes that he is rich again because he has himself and he's worth eight hundred dollars.

Jim running away is an experience I want to touch on.  First when he tells Huck that he ran away Huck is appalled. Because he promised not to tell anyone he keeps to his word, though he states if anyone finds out he didn't say anything he'll be called an abolitionist.  This is interesting to me.  Clearly the practice of slavery is something that is seen as normal in this part of the country and even being an abolitionist is something shameful.  Jim finds it hard for himself to stand up for himself even though he is treated so badly.  I, again, find this to be so hypocritical because his owner is Miss Watson and she preaches about religion and yet she sees Jim as nothing more than a piece of property she could get 800 dollars for!  The beliefs that just because someone is black means they're not human is so crazy to me and I just don't understand it.  As stated in a previous post I still see slavery in the south today.  I grew up in the midwest and can't recall a time in which I saw racism at all my whole childhood, and yet I move to the south and it's plain as day.  I feel like the south is still about 100 years behind the rest of the country.  I've turned this over in my head and I'm thinking that maybe because the country was started on the east coast is why it's still stuck so far behind the rest of the country.  The rest of the country was really settled after all of the civil war took place.

The child abuse that goes on in these chapters is also heart wrenching.  Huck is more than likely going to be taken away from his father to go back with the widow because he has welts all over.  I find it interesting the way that Huck goes back and forth on which life he likes better.  I think that abused people today are stuck in their cycle because it's all they've ever known.  Huck grew up with an abusive father and that's what he knows, he's comfortable not having to do anything and thinks being hit by his drunk father isn't really out of the ordinary.  When he decides to get up the nerve to run away in a way that the widow and his father wouldn't really look for him for too long I was so happy for him! He was unhappy living with the widow because it was not a life for him, and he was clearly being mistreated by his father and needed to get out of that situation.  I think the fact that they depict the drunk and abusive father in this story is interesting, although I still see it happening to this day.

Huckleberry Finn: Chapters 1-4

Chapter one Huck introduces us to the life that he is leading as of yet.  He lives with widow Douglas who has taken him in as her son.  Huck runs away because he becomes bored and wishes for a change.  Tom Sawyer tells him to go back and live well with her and he can be part of his gang of robbers.  Once Huck returns widow Douglas tells him of the stories of Moses and he is taught spelling.  He is not interested with the story of Moses when he finds out he's dead.  One night he sits and is very lonely, a spider lands on his shoulder and he flicks it off and it dies in the flame.  Huck is superstitious and tries to do many things to reverse the bad luck that is brought upon someone who kills a spider.  Huck also talks about how he wanted to start smoking but widow Douglas says to never touch the dirty habit.  As Huck waits one night with a smoke in hand, Tom comes under his window and begins to me-yow.

Chapter two is when the band of robbers are brought together.  Huck and Tom first make the journey away from the widow Douglas' house.  They nearly escape a run-in with Jim, a large black man, and they are able to stay quiet until he falls asleep and they put his hat in the tree above him.  Once Jim awakens he tells the story that witches have taken him all over the world and the devil himself gave Jim the necklace he now wears.  Jim becomes famous among the black people and many come from miles around to see the necklace, this celebrity makes Jim a bad worker.  Once Huck and Tom leave Jim they meet up with the rest of their friends who are to be a part of the band of robbers.  They make an oath and decide what they are going to with the people the catch and rob.

Chapter three Huck discusses his beliefs on religion.  Widow Douglas tells Huck that if he prays he will get anything he asks for, and Huck tries asking for fishing hooks but he never gets them.  He then thinks about if people could get whatever they wanted just by praying why didn't they right things they had lost?  Widow Douglas tells him to do right by others and think of others before himself, but Huck comes to the conclusion that no good will ever come to him if he only thinks about others so he decides not to do this.  Huck talks about how the band of robbers go to rob the A-rabs and Spaniards because they are to have elephants, camels and diamonds. Yet when they go it's only a group of young Sunday School children, when Huck questions Tom about this Tom tells him that magicians and genies had disguised all of the animals and people as the Sunday School class.  Tom tells of how genies come from a lamp and they are forced to do what their master says, at this Huck finds an old lamp and rubs it in the forest to no avail.  Huck decides that this is just another one of Tom's lies.

Chapter four begins with Huck talking about how he beginning to like the new ways he lives, he likes school and is becoming accustomed to the widow Douglas.  One day Huck notices footprints in the new snow, he found it odd that the person did not come in.  He sees in one boot that there is a cross and once Huck sees this he immediately runs to the judge and proclaims he doesn't want any of the money he had found with Tom.  The judge is puzzled but gives Huck a paper that says he sold all of his belongings to the judge.  When Huck returns he asks Jim to tell him his future, Jim uses a large hairball and tells Huck that his father has two angels flying around him, a good one and a bad one.  He goes on to tell Huck that he's going to marry a poor woman first and then a rich one.  He warns Huck not to get behind on his bills or he'll be hung. When Huck returns to his house and lights his candle, there is his father sitting there.

I want to look at the hypocrisy in these first few chapters.  It becomes clearer to me as the chapters have unfolded.  The widow Douglas claims to be a christian woman, urging Huck to pray everyday and to do things for others before thinking of himself, yet she owns slaves.  She has house slaves and we even meet one Jim who is a slave.  The widow Douglas continues to try and raise Huck to be an honorable boy but I believe she is showing him mixed signals.  You need to put others first, but it's okay to have slaves as property and do whatever you like with them.  This would confuse me!

Huck wants nothing to do with religion.  I find Huck to be a tad selfish in these chapters.  When widow Douglas tells Huck he should pray every night Huck asks for material things that will help him or that he will enjoy.  When she tells him that he needs to put others first and not himself he doesn't like this idea.  He decides that no good will come to him so he's going to leave it well enough alone.  This screams selfishness to me.  I still see this in society today.  It's all about what the individual can get to help themselves, not what they can do for others.  I rarely see a friendship or relationship that isn't like this anymore.  Although it's a tough pill to swallow, this is definitely how society has become today.

Huck is also very superstitious.  I'm interested to see where it's going to lead in later chapters because I'm not for sure what it means right now.  As for Jim's incident with the "witches" I find very interesting.  He stretches his story and soon becomes a celebrity.  I'm not sue when this story is actually taking place, but I feel like it was before the Salem Witch Trials, which makes me interested to see if anything will come about with the witch story later on in the book.  Witches were seen as evil at the time, so Jim saying they went all over the world and they took him to see the devil himself doesn't surprise me.  I find it very interesting the stories that people can make up and believe.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frederick Douglass

Douglass begins his speech agreeing that what American's first and brave ones should be respected.  He is so glad that America is young and there is still hope that things could be changed.  Douglass sees that the forefathers believed in honesty, truth and fairness and would be ashamed of slavery and oppression.  He notices that Americans are very well informed of events that happened that are in their favor, but seem to be uneducated in those that make them look poorly.  He continues that we must learn from the past and make our own future, and then he asks why he is there to speak to these people? Douglass discusses how his people do not share the freedom that they do, that they are still bonded by slavery. He believes what is needed right now is to awaken Americans with a storm, not something gentle!  Then he goes on to tell different stories of human trafficking and the horrors that go along with it.  This country is no longer divided in the act of slavery because the Fugitive Slave Law goes throughout America and judges are paid by the amount of slaves they return to their oppressor.  Douglass proceeds to talk about how the church actually takes the side of the oppressor and says that the idea of master and slave is sanctioned in the bible.  After this he compares churches in England who promptly took action when the slave trade there was going on, yet the churches in America have done nothing and support slavery.  Douglass comes to the conclusion that the constitution does not support slavery and says nothing of the sort.  Finally his speech ends where he begins it, with hope.

This totally connects with the last reading that we had!  Harriet showed this same picture when she talked about the two different families and how they felt throughout the war.  In this piece Douglass talks about how the black man does not get to rejoice on the fourth of July because he is still not free!  In Harriet's story she talked about how the black family got torn apart because of the Fugitive Slave Act and how they were not free, even though the father had been free for 10 years.  It shows me how truly unjust America was in its "freedom."  America was founded on freedoms (religion, speech, action) and yet Americans themselves are taking basic freedoms away from other Americans because they look differently.

Today there is still racism in this country!  I grew up in the midwest and wasn't exposed to much racism, I knew many black children and grew up with them by my side.  I didn't see anything that was shameful towards anyone who didn't look like me.  However, when I moved to North Carolina it was blaringly obvious that there is still racism in America, and not just whites towards blacks but also blacks towards whites.  I truly hate America's past and yet I'm not too thrilled with the present either.  Looking at how everyone as humans treat each other still today is disgraceful.  Black people talk to other black people and say derogatory terms because it's okay if they do it because they're black, but if a white person said the same thing they would have bodily harm done to them.  It's the same with men and women.  Women call eachother derogatory terms they're basically telling men it's okay and this is why it's still so hard to be looked at as equal as men.

The more I think about this piece by Douglass, the one by Stowe and the one by Stanton I see the similarities in all of the struggles in America for those who were oppressed.  America has a dirty past that we shouldn't be proud of, but if we use the past as a positive and learn from it the future is truly bright.

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe

This story BROKE my heart!!

It starts with a family that is so proud of liberty!  The father is off fighting in the revolutionary war and everyone in the family is so proud.  When two soldiers come to the house saying they're there on behalf of congress, the family flies into action.  Everyone gives any blankets, clothes, the socks off of their feet, basically anything they could spare to the soldiers for those who are fighting.  This story ends with the mother stating that she gave all she could, her husband and children.  The next part begins with a happy black family in their home, they make dinner and have a nice little life.  There is a pounding at the door and the father is taken away in handcuffs because he belonged to a slave holder in Georgia, even though he had been free for 10 years.  This man was then taken to a slave auction and auctioned off as a piece of meat.  Many showed up and cheered because they were not going to let anyone escape from their masters.

I cannot believe that this happened. I know it did, and it did all the time, but I hate it!  I'm not for sure when both of these stories took place but what I think what happened is the first story is during the revolutionary war when America is fighting for its freedom, and the second story is after that war and before the civil war and shows how many Americans were actually not free.  I feel like after America gained their freedom from Britain, the slaves were clearly not free.  In all reality America didn't stop fighting for their freedom until slavery was abolished and even still, not then.

The family in the first story is so picture perfect, with the husband off at war fighting for the freedom of the country.  Everyone was so proud and liberty was something that was spoken of with great respect.  In the second story the family was so happy to be free and they too were a picture perfect family.  I feel like the first family would be upset with what happened to the second family!!  The father was off at war fighting so that Americans could be free and didn't have to live under British rule anymore, and yet once they became free more people were enslaved stateside.  To make an example of the second father to show slaves in America that if they were freed for any reason that if they were caught they would be brought back to their owner.  The fact that any American was owned by another is truly disgraceful.


Thoreau believes that the individual needs to stand up for what they believe.  He does not like the government in Massachusetts or America's government.  Thoreau talks about how the government doesn't do anything, the people do; how the government actually holds the country back in some cases; how the government even manipulates people to bend at its will.  He states that at the time you could not be associated with the government without disgrace.  Because of this he believes that people should do what's right and not what the majority is doing. He also discusses the military and how the soldiers are being forced to go into battle even if they do not believe what they are doing is right.  He says that these men have the same worth as horses and dogs and they can be replaced, yet those in the military are seen as esteemed citizens. Thoreau goes on to give many examples to back up what he believes.  In part 2 he talks about unjust laws and should man petition his representative to get it changed and continue to follow the law until he convinces the majority or should he just cease to follow the unjust law.  Again in part 2 Thoreau does acknowledge that if one doesn't follow the law the government will come and take away your property and money that you have.  He does see this as a problem.  Thoreau was also put in jail for not paying a tax that he did not believe was a just tax to enforce.  He was in jail for one night and saw how he was not jailed mentally but only physically, he comes to the realization that government is ruling physically and not intellectually.

Thoreau has a lot of really great points.  I also believe that if someone wants something to be changed that they should really take the matters into their own hands.  I, however, like having a government and a standing army.  I feel that these really are necessary in life today.  Unfortunately we have not come close to a time where there is no need for a government, I actually feel that we need a government now more than ever.   If all other nations didn't have a government and no one could remember a time when government was around, I think that not having a government could work.  Thoreau did state however that he didn't not want a government, he just wanted a better one.  I don't think that America has accomplished that.  Although it's not the government's fault as much as it is the people's faults.  Thoreau said that the government didn't do anything, the people did.  I absolutely agree with this!!  The government doesn't change unless it goes through a lengthy process of getting a law changed or something added on, however the people who are running the government and associated with the government are the ones that change.  These people enforce the rules and interpret it how they see fit, and I think this is where the problem comes in today.  Today the beliefs are portrayed so far one way or the other politicians forget about the middle.  Because of this the people that get elected have beliefs that are usually far one way or the other.

As for Thoreau's time in jail, I see this as something quite humorous.  He talks about how after spending a night in jail he had so many realizations and saw the world different.  This is funny to me because even his cell mate had been in there for a very long time awaiting trial and it was stated that he would probably be waiting quite a lot longer more. Thoreau didn't really get a chance to see what it would be like to sit in jail for his beliefs.  I think it's really easy to preach something and not actually practice it.  He didn't pay a tax yes, but he didn't really see what would come of it.  Although he didn't agree with the tax doesn't mean that it wasn't being taken for a good reason.  If he wants all of the states to be united they are forced to work together meaning that they are going to have to pay for a lot of things that the citizens won't get to see immediately.  If there aren't rules to be followed I think that people would take advantage of this and do whatever they wanted and saw fit.  This comes back to if people are inherently good or evil, and as stated before I think that people are inherently evil.

THE Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Stanton has come across as a strong woman to me, full of knowledge she was armed with to use for the rights of women everywhere.  She brought up many points men used to say women were inferior and refuted them.  She pointed out how women actually have more power in men's life than men want to believe.  She has many examples of women who have gone down in history for their bold ideas and actions.  As Stanton continues through her speech she continues through her ideas of how women are the same as men and declares that women need to continue to fight for their rights.

^^^  WHAT THE FUCK?!!!
This movie made me super upset!  Feminism is viewed as a negative in society today!  The kid that said we got equal rights in the 1920s we need to stop bitchting, to his friend that said feminists are lesbians, to the woman who doesn't feel there's a need for women's rights, to her husband who said it's clear that the man is the head of the household all seem to make me cringe.  Being a feminist is simply believing that women should have the same rights as men.  Saying that men and women have equal rights now is a little depressing.  http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/moneymatters/a/edandearnings.htm This article was written in August of this year!!  They state how men will make over $2 million more than their female counterparts over their working careers.  All of these "crazy feminists" have given me the rights that I have today.  I go to a university and do group projects with men and I vote every time there's an election.  I find it so ironic that women today say there's no need for "crazy feminists" and look at Stanton as one and yet she was the one that fought so hard to get the rights we have today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harriet Jacobs

Linda is a young girl that has been enslaved for a great many years.  This piece is forthcoming with shame and much hate for her owner Dr. Flint.  He fancied Linda from the time she was a young girl, yet she was too ashamed to tell anyone of the vile comments he made to her. As the threats continued for her "disobedience" Linda fell in love, then told the man to go and not return for her.  Dr. Flint would not sell Linda to anyone because he continually says how she is not his to sell because she belongs to his daughter.  Linda continues to dodge advances from her master including his want to send her to a house of her own in the woods, a white man then begins to show interest in her situation and her.  Linda decides to give herself to him for many different reasons, including getting to choose, because he cares for her and out of spite towards her master.  She then becomes pregnant not once but twice.  Her master sends her to his sons plantation to teach her how to behave.  She spends some time there and is basically the head maid.  When she gets word that Dr. Flint is going to send her children to the plantation she runs away.

I first want to reflect on some of the characters in the story.  The master is a man that is more concerned with power than money and this becomes very concerning when Linda will not bow to his wishes.  She has been taught right from wrong by her grandmother and knows that her master is wrong.  I find it very interesting that at many different points Linda is able to say her true feelings to her master and yet not as much harm is done to her as is done to some others.  I think that Linda's refusal to bend to her master's wants only makes her more appealing to him.  If she did give into him I think that he would have been sick of her and sold her and her children, but because she did not and had children with another man he wanted to make her miserable in the only way he knew how: not selling her.  I also want to touch on the grandmother in the story.  She is so highly respected by the doctor because of the time that she was in the family before her freedom was bought that he doesn't dare go against her wishes either.  He seems to be afraid of what she will do with if she ever gets the knowledge of what he has said to Linda.  He is so threatened by her that he threatens Linda's life on multiple occasions if she tells her grandmother what he says.

The tone of this story breaks my heart.  Linda often talks about death would be a welcome alternative to a life of slavery.  She fears for not only her children when they are born but also the children on the plantation.  She says that those children do not know what they are headed for ad that their "happiness" will be short lived. I truly find it awful the life that this girl was forced to lead.  Being sexually abused from the time you were very very young there's no wonder her accounts of her whole life are all sad.  The only time that we see any joy is when she falls in love, and it's tainted because her master is jealous and watches her every move.  She is then brought with even more sorrow when she tells her love that when he moves, he shouldn't come back for her. Linda wanted to get away from this life of sorrow not only for her sake, but for her children's as well.  Her interjections in the story where she talks to the reader also shows her embarrassment and sadness for the life that she was forced to lead.  She would interject and tell the reader that she is not looking for pity but simply wants to tell her stories, she would also interject to say how shameful her actions were.  I found very little joy in this piece at all.

I wonder how everything ended up.   I hope that she was able to make it to the states and free herself, that would be my assumption because she wrote this story so much longer after her life of slavery.  However, I do wonder if she ever did she make it to the free states, and if she did did she find either the father of her children or her lost love?  Did she go back for her children and free them as well?  Is she ever caught and brought back before she escapes for good?  Does she even escape for good?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mr. Walt Whitman

Walt speaks with an "I" but this is more universal and means everyone as apposed to just what Walt thinks.  He speaks about how everyone is connected and that the land he is from is where his ancestors also come from.  He speaks about his closeness with nature and how having his five senses is something so fabulous to him.  When the child appears with a hand full of leaves and asks the writer what is the grass the writer is stumped.  Unable to answer the child, he continues to think about what the grass is.  He later talks about how lucky he is to die just as much to live because he is part of everyone else.

This grass theme is making me think about what he truly means about all of this.  We are all connected, we are all part of each other.  So are we all individuals or are we all a part of the group?  Thinking about the past few pieces we've read I'm trying to figure out if this goes more towards groupthink or individualism.

Saying that we should not fear death and that when everyone can see that we can overcome death there will be nothing to leave behind is interesting to me.  Saying there is no fear in death means that there is something after life that will give us something to look forward to.  He says that because we are all part of each other that after death there is life because another life is made and we come from the grounds of our fathers. I believe that he discusses ideas having to do with God and what life truly is like after death.

I can compare this to Emerson and look at how different they are.  Emerson speaks about how everyone should be proud and want to be different from others and think for themselves, whereas Whitman says that everyone is connected and once we realize that there is no fear in death.  Yet, I see similarities in them because of their strong beliefs and convinctions.  Are they basically polar opposites of each other? Yes.  That doesn't change that they still have beliefs that they will stand behind until they are gone, and I find that something in common in and of itself.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This reading gave me some difficulty.  I eventually read the whole thing out loud to try and understand more.  From what I can gather, Emerson begins the writing by telling the reader not to keep their ideas to themselves because someday someone will say those thoughts out loud and your thoughts will be stolen from you.  He also talks about the youth and how they have merit work and thoughts even if they seem quiet to an adult.  Emerson stresses that every man is different and this is not a bad thing and instead of conforming man should strive to be different.  All of the people we refer to as great now are the ones that said strange ideas in their time.  He said that God made every man to be different and that if we conform to what everyone else is doing we are losing ourselves as God made us.

I love that Emerson writes about how good it is to be different.  He's trying to get Americans at the time to break away from the mob mentality of just going along with what the group thinks.  In our history it's found that when mob mentality comes out there is so much harm done.  Emerson is trying to open their eyes so they can realize that saying their thoughts is not a bad thing and that it's good to be different than everyone around them.

The beginning he mentions Moses, Plato and Milton (line 25) and how they spoke up in their times and said something different than what everyone else was saying.  We now remember those people because of the "radical" ideas they had then.  However, those ideas didn't turn out to be as crazy as people thought.  These famous people have shaped our society with their actions and writings. Emerson is continually trying to show Americans how group think isn't the way to handle the country of themselves as individuals.

I also like how he brings God into his writing.  In America at the time religion was very important.  For him to say that God doesn't want you to be like everyone else I feel like would be very influential to many different people.  I feel like they might take those thoughts and really consider how God would want them to act.  However, as much as I would like for them to have thought about that I also know that Americans then did whatever they felt was just and had no remorse.  I also see in a lot of writing that Americans would twist their faith to accommodate whatever they wanted to do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne

In My Kinsman Robin gets off the boat and searches this new town for Major Molineux and receives many crude and unhelpful remarks as he begins his search. As he continued to ask where the whereabouts of his kinsman was every person laughed as he walked away.  He reaches a mean part of town and a woman tells Robin that the Major dwells in her home.  When a man comes to scare anyone away from the street Robin realizes this is not the house she's searching for at all.  Robin decides to wait at a church for his kinsman to pass, he then passes the time by looking around in different ways at the town around him.  A man then comes and asks his business there, which Robin responds with the story of how he knows the kinsman and why he came; this man being interested to see the meeting decides to wait with Robin.  At this time a commotion takes place, with much music playing and crowds of people wondering what is going on, a man on a horse leads the group who carries a tar and feathered man in an uncovered cart; Major Molineux.  Robin quickly sees every person he had encountered on his search and understands their reactions.  Robin doses, and when he awakes he asks the man waiting with him to point him to the ferry, the man refuses and says in a few days he will either point him to the ferry or maybe Robin will choose to stay and make his way without the help of his kinsman.

Thinking about this story after the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers makes me think about how if you didn't do what the masses wanted then they would take matters in their own hands.  For instance if a certain state felt their interests weren't being taken into consideration they would rise up against their appointed representative.  I'm not sure the backstory of the Major but I'm thinking something like this story could happen to a representative.

With Robin just coming to America and not really knowing how everything works I see why the different people wouldn't tell him where the Major was.  I also understand why he wouldn't want to outwardly brag that he knows the Major which made me very scared for him at the end of the story.  I was surprised that no backlash came to him for knowing and trying to associate with the Major.

As I think about how this could relate to society today I see some parallelisms.  If a teenage girl was the queen of the popular crowd and does something the masses don't like she will be excluded and persecuted for the rest of her high school career.  Teenagers never seem to forget something that someone else does that is detrimental to their image.  In the same way America doesn't forget any of the downfalls that famous people or corporations have.  BP had a major oil spill and I know that I won't ever shop their again, not that I did before.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Federalist and Anti-Federalist

The paper says there should be a central government and all of the power goes there.  The states will not have any power because the central government needs to have complete control to be able to govern something this big.  The decisions will be made by the people, through representatives and not individually.  
This paper shows the faults of the constitution that has been drawn up.  It shows the importance of checks and balances between the different branches as well as the importance of giving rights to the individual states.

At this time people didn't know who to believe or which way to go.  They were getting misinformed and making radical decisions and holding those ideas because of it.  The fact that the Federalist paper was much harder for me to read than the Anti-Federalist paper made me think of who they were geared toward.  I was thinking that maybe the Federalist paper was geared towards the upper class who had more school than those in places that didn't have as much knowledge.  Whereas the Anti-Federalist paper was geared more towards people who didn't have as much education.  The thoughts behind both of these stem from where could they get support from what they want passed?  The papers were certainly geared toward different regions and the people in them.  

Cartwright and Allen

As a young boy Cartwright's family was poor and so they made the dangerous trip to Kentucky for a new life. When he was about 9 a preacher came to his father's home to preach, after that his mother continued to go to class every week to learn  more. Cartwright soon loved to gamble and dance and quickly lost himself in his gambling.  Time went on and the community became better and there was a meeting of the Presbyterian ministers.  Many families came to the meeting and hundreds accepted Jesus as their Savior.  When Cartwright was 16 he reflected on his life and quickly became ill, he prayed for forgiveness and help but to no avail he was still very ill.  Through many different encounters he was still unable to accept Jesus into his life fully.  Finally he heard "Thy sins are all forgiven thee" and he felt Jesus in his life, he then joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. The different churches came together once a year and had a gathering that affected thousands of peoples lives, some people began to lie by freezing for days at a time and saying they had been to hell and heaven and back.  When Cartwright took scripture and showed how these people weren't being truthful those people wished death onto him.  As Cartwright reflected on slavery he noted that it was not accepted by the Methodist church but said it might be taken seriously if some preachers didn't have slaves themselves.  He also spoke of how these unchristian people also had mixed children on their land.  Cartwright ends with speaking about how the church has grown so quickly.

Allen was born a slave and lived with his master for quite a few years.  Allen prayed for forgiveness and accepted Jesus  into his life.  His master was a relatively "good" master and believed that his slaves that were good and went to classes were better at telling the truth and obeying so he insisted on his slaves going to class every week.  When Allen gained his freedom he moved around doing many different jobs.  As he moved around preaching and working he met different families and he described them all as wonderful people who were willing to help him anyway they could.  In Philadelphia Allen and some others wanted to start a church but the Methodist church and some people in it didn't want them to.  After an incident during service Allen and the others decided to raise money so they could build their own church.  Once built, the Methodist church again tried to take away their label, when this didn't work and the church was built they got it incorporated.  This came back to be a poor decision because of how it was drafted but they were able to redraft it before any real harm came from it.  Allen ends the story talking about how many black churches had been having trouble and so they banded together and started the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Reading these two side by side is very interesting to me.  The first and obvious subject that comes to mind is slavery.  Allen was a slave and was able to be free, and Cartwright wrote about how against slavery he was.  Cartwright noted how many of the Methodist preachers were slave owners but outwardly said how bad slavery was.  He then talked about how those same preachers began to think about how having slaves were necessary.  Seeing Allen's struggle to continue working after he was free and having so many people help him made me think about how lucky I am now.

Being able to practice the religion that you want to and not have other people persecute you or try to stop you is something very important in this country.  Seeing preachers trying to stop Allen and the people he was with from worshiping under a certain denomination not only goes against the beliefs of this country but also of God.  A lot of people originally came to America because of persecution for their beliefs, I wouldn't be surprised if the ancestors of the preachers who are trying to control where Allen worships didn't come over for a religious reason.  Also, the amount race plays into this is unavoidable.  If Allen and the people he was with were white there would be no problem in the first place.

Cartwright showing his addiction with gambling and dancing is very honest.  That was a very shameful thing for those who followed the Lord and the fact that he was able to talk about it openly shows how strong  his faith was.  However, I also see this testimony as something that people can relate to today.  Although this is not something generally thought about so much of what happened years ago still happens now and is still just the same.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

smithy smith smithers

Smith being captured in Africa and his father being the king of a tribe that had been taken over by slave traders are the memories that we quickly see in The Venture of Smith.  Smith goes on to describe events such as his father being brutally murdered in front of his eyes, surviving the trip to America and being sold like a cow to slave owners.  However, Mumford(Smith's new owner) trusted Smith quickly as a human, yet after many years trouble arises and Smith is no longer trusted and begins to be beaten by his once trusting master.  Smith is then sold more and more to different people during his life, he marries his wife and eventually is able to by himself.  Once he buys many other things, including land and a place to live, he also buys his wife so that their family could be together.  Smith creates a life which is respectable and once again worked very hard for it and earns everything.

So my first thought is, why did he buy his wife last?  I mean honestly, it's his wife!  If I were a slave and my husband bought himself and then bought a ton of stuff before he bought me, I'd probably kick him in the nuts when he did finally buy me.  On a different  note, this story also shows how people in America can go from having absolutely nothing to working hard and having money and all the things they want in life.  As I read more and more of these stories I see this as being a theme throughout American history, and I am able to relate it to many people now.  

As discussed in class Smith didn't actually write this probably for many factors.  I thought more about this and truly understand the importance of white men writing this, authenticating it and standing up for it.  Now, it's interesting to see thoughts and stories of slaves because it was such a shameful time in America's history that learning more about it can truly make sure we don't repeat our mistakes.  Having white men stand up for a black man and his stories that made white men look poorly was very important.  White people didn't really value what slaves or former slaves thought or wanted to happen, which is shown in the fact that blacks didn't have rights until years after this was written.  But with the white men vouging for this story other whites would take more notice to it and take a harder look at it.

This wasn't my favorite that we've read so far this semester but it was still interesting to read his story of slavery and of working hard to overcome slavery.  I consider him an American even though he was brought over by force, and so another story of one working hard to get what they want in life will always make me smile.