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.


  1. Are there any groups of people who are considered "less than human" in American society today (and not just in the South)? Any groups whose basic human rights are compromised or taken away? What are "basic human rights"?

  2. Absolutely, gays and lesbians are looked at like they're not as good as those who are straight. There right to marry the person they love is taken away and their rights are not protected by the law. What are basic human rights? I think being allowed to marry who you want and live where you want and have those vows recognized and protected are pretty basic rights. There's clearly more but those apply to that specific example.