The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. Mark Twain - Letter to George Bainton, 10/15/1888
You may choose the assignments you complete toward your unit goal. When submitting an assignment, please include your name, block and the assignment title.
The FINALDUE DATE for assignment submission is Monday, January 5, 2015 at 3pm.
Exploring the Controversy Discussion Questions 25 points Review at least 3 of the available videos and answer the questions below. Include specific references to the three videos you view in your response. Youtube links provided or access via CHS M drive (My computer-->M Drive-->English-->Mrs. Jendrzejczyk)
Why is the teaching and reading of Huck Finn so controversial?
How have the criticisms about the book changed over the years?
How do these various criticisms reflect a changing America?
How does knowing about the history of the controversy make you feel about reading the book?
Under what circumstances, if any, do you think a book should be taken off a school's reading list and/or out of its library?
Huck Finn Censored
Huckleberry Finn and the N-Word
Should the N-Word Be Taken Out of Huck Finn?
Huckleberry Finn Censored
George Galloway interviews Ishmael Reed on Huckleberry Finn censorship
Huck Finn Book Censoring
Born to Trouble (video) 20 points This PBS film tells the story of the novel and how it has been censored and challenged throughout history. There are five sections to this film and some segments may help in some of your chosen projects. Take notes on the video and submit them for your points. Notes must be 1/2 - 1 handwritten page.
Satire and The Simpsons (TV viewing) 25 points Satire: the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.; a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
Huckleberry Finn is a satirical novel. What is Twain's social commentary?
Compare what you do on a typical day to the things the Simpsons do in the opening segment of the show. Complete theCharacter Analysis the character profiles on the The Simpsons Website to analyze six characters, identifying satirical details that reveal the comment or criticism of society that the cartoon is making through the character. Use a graphic organizer to record and analyze specific examples of satire as you watch a full episode of The Simpsons, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Show, Family Guy, 30 Rock, King of the Hill, South Park. Finally, write a brief paragraph evidencing at least one topic Twain satirizes in Huck Finn. (Youtube links provided or access via CHS M drive (My computer-->M Drive-->English-->Mrs. Jendrzejczyk)
Examples from opening sequence:
Bart writing on the blackboard: Public education
Bart on his skateboard: The riddles of childhood
Homer leaving and driving home from work: Plight of the working man
Marge at the supermarket checkout: Consumerism (Note: Maggie costs $847.63)
Lisa playing the saxophone: Restrictions of public education and free thought
The family racing for the couch in front of the television: Impact of television on the modern family
Rationalism... and Romanticism...and Realism 35 points The struggle between ideals and realities helped shape American intellectual life and literature in many periods. The political, scientific, social reforms of the 19th century resulted in changes in the vision with which writers created literature and art as well. The early part of the century saw Rationalism (Age of Reason) give way to Romanticism and its offshoot, Transcendentalism; the latter part of the century, especially during and after the Civil War, saw a rise in Realism and Regionalism, when writers examined life as it was actually lived and to record what they saw around them. How did each of these reform movements use, and therefore contribute to, changes in literature and the arts? Ask students to use the following websites to chart the tenets of each literary movement. During their reading of the novel, ask them to use these charts to distinguish elements of each movement within the work (In Huck Finn, elements of all three literary and intellectual movements can be found). Romanticism in American Literature: “Gothic, Novel, and Romance” Realism in American Literature Regionalism and Local Color Fiction 1865-1895
Controversy Timeline 25 points Using the film, the library, and the Web, construct a timeline that shows the different challenges Huck Finn has faced since it was published. For each challenge, include quotes from detractors, as well as responses from the book's defenders. Minimum 5 challenges with 2 quotes (one from detractor, one from defender), cited in MLA format.
Racism Discussion25 points Read the following articles and answer the discussion questions. You must cite specific evidence from each article in MLA format in order to receive credit for this assignment. "The N-Word: It Just Slips Out""Racism"
What is racism? Is it a belief? Is it an action?
What causes racism? What beliefs do people invoke to try to justify racism? In what kinds of situations do we see or find racism?
When did you first recognize your own racial, ethnic, religious (or other) identity? What does it mean to you to identify yourself in this way? What do you like most and least about being a member of your group?
How has racism affected you or people you know?
Do you think most minorities have a positive or negative image of whites? Do you think most whites have a positive or negative image of other races?
What's the biggest misconception blacks have about whites? Whites about blacks?
Reading Assignment Options
Study Guides. Answer the questions and name the speaker of the quotations for 25 points per section.
Chapter 22; Reread Col. Sherburn's rooftop speech (pages 131-132). Col. Sherburn's speech undermines the myth of Southern bravery. Why did Twain decide to include this speech in the novel? Was this a speech Twain himself felt like making? Is Sherburn supposed to represent a true Southern gentleman of honor, while most of the population has devolved into embarrassing riffraff?
Behind the Mask - Exploring Stereotypes One of the major criticisms of Huck Finn has been that the character Jim is only a racist stereotype and that students will come away from the book with an image of him -- and African Americans in general -- as silly, superstitious, obedient, and passive. In this section, students define what a stereotype is, and look at the historical roots of African American plantation stereotypes, such as "Sambo," "Nat," and "Mammy."
Poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes will help students go "behind the mask" of stereotypes. These selections offer opportunities to discuss how the "mask" can also be a form of resistance.
Masks Mini-Write30 points Employing at least three of the poems below, answer the questions: What are some "masks" that oppressed groups use? What is the function of such a mask? How can masks be used as a form of resistance? Include direct quotes from each of the three poems you read. Your essay must be at least one typed page (double-spaced.)
The Development of Character in Huck Finn Discussion Questions 25 points
What is your first reaction to Jim? How do you feel about him by the end of the novel? Why?
To what extent is Jim a stereotype? When and how does he break free of stereotypical roles?
Compare Pap's treatment of Huck with Jim's treatment of Huck and of his own daughter.
What is your reaction to Huck at first? How do you feel about him by the end of the novel? Why?
What determines who we are -- nature (inborn traits) or nurture (environment)? How do you think Jim and Huck were shaped by these factors?
Have students reread the passage in Chapter 31 of Huck Finn in which Huck talks about the conflict between what his heart tells him to do about Jim as his friend and what his conscience tells him to do about Jim as a slave. Reflecting back on the Jefferson essay (see Section II), how does a slave-holding society influence its members to see slaves as inhuman?
Twain wrote in a journal that "Huck Finn is a book of mine where a sound heart and a deformed conscience come into collision and conscience suffers defeat." What do you think he meant by "a sound heart and a deformed conscience?" How is "conscience" a theme in the novel in general?
What is a hero? Have students brainstorm a class definition. How is Jim a hero? How is Huck a hero?
What do you think is the climax of the novel? Why?
Art 10 points each Thomas Hart Benton’s 1936 mural, “A Social History of the State of Missouri” Examine the mural for scenes that tell the story of Missouri’s state history. Which theme(s) is most broadly depicted in this work?
George Caleb Bingham’s “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” (1845) Consider occupations that are part of river life, in 1845 and now. Compare the economic reward to the danger of the job.
E.W. Kemble’s Original Illustrations of Huckleberry Finn with commentary Rockwell and Kemble illustrate scenes from the novel itself. What biases do these illustrators exhibit in their depictions of Jim, Huck, and characters from the novel? Would any of these illustrations be considered racist or stereotypical by today’s standards? How is art used in these illustrations to inform readers beyond the written word?
John Gast’s “American Progress or Manifest Destiny” (1872) One mark of civilization is social, political, and cultural advancement. In this painting, what or who represents progress? Who is not progressing in the work? What is the plight of those who are deemed uncivilized?
Music Spirituals and Slave Songs 20 points Each of these songs gives some insight into the lives, treatment, and hopes of slaves. While “Follow the Drinking Gourd” refers to gourds used for drinking water in the fields, it also refers to the Big Dipper and gives directions for escape and finding one’s way across the Ohio River to Free states. Other songs, though called spirituals, refer not only to achieving freedom through faith and death, but dually though running away.
Slave life left too many motherless (or fatherless) in separations of families, making these songs often mournful. Examine both the lyrics and texts of these works in connection with Jim’s and other slaves’ plight in Huck Finn. (Note that Huck is a motherless child himself). Find at least three specific connections between the songs and Huck Finn. Cite your Huck Finn textual evidence in MLA format.
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” “Deep River” “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” “Wade in the Water” (contains river imagery) “Many Thousand Gone” (or “No More Auction Block for Me”) “Run Mourner Run” “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”
Abolition Songs 20 points After reading the words of these songs, discern which were performed for abolition meetings in the parlors of movement leaders and which were more easily sung as marching songs. (Note that Huck is troubled by the prospect of being an abolitionist and what people in his slave state of Missouri will think of him should he help a slave escape). Select at least 2 songs from the musical traditions below, research the background of the song, its composer and its purpose and use. If it has an historical track record (like “Dixie” or “John Brown’s Body”), share the other versions you may find. Research the number of rewritings and uses of “John Brown’s Body.”
“The Grave of the Slave” “The Fugitive’s Song” “Get Off the Track!” “Lincoln & Liberty” “John Brown’s Body”/ “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (recorded on Tippecanoe and Tyler Too: a Collection of American Political Marches, Songs, and Dirges, Chestnut Brass Company and Friends, 1992).
Huck’s Ten Commandments 20 points List Huck Finn’s attitudes and behaviors that change during the novel. List the three most important developments in Huck as he matures and learns to take responsibility for his choices. List Huck’s Ten Commandments—beliefs he has come to understand as rules to live by. Discuss: Do these represent a genuine moral code that we should all embrace?
Economics 25 points From the outset of the novel, Huck and Tom are monetarily rich, although Huck is unable to use his money because of Pap. During the escape and adventure with Jim, he encounters people of every socio-economic level. How does he come to view wealth? How does Jim define wealth? How have money and the pursuit of wealth driven Huck’s story along the Mississippi? List the characters and events that are shaped by economics. What does their journey teach them about valuing themselves and others? What is a man worth, finally, to Huck, to Jim, and to the 19th century world?
Huck Finn Brand 25 points You have been commissioned to develop a Huckleberry Finn brand. The brand will be known worldwide for its clever use of literary references and its foundation in the grassroots of Americana. Develop a product inspired by the novel and create an advertising campaign to introduce the product to the world. Your advertisement must include: direct references to the text, details consistent with the novel and a slogan based on characters/details in the book.
Considering Plantation Stereotypes 25 points With a partner, find passages in the novel that reflect the plantation stereotypes you have studied. (Chapter 8 on investing money; the "French debate" in Chapter 14; Chapter 22 on stealing; Chapter 24 and the King Lear outfit; Chapter 42 and the entire ending in which Jim aids wounded Tom.) Does Jim ever go beyond being a stereotype? If so, when and how? Consider at least 2 passages, cite them in MLA format and address the prompt questions. Your response must be at least one typed, double-spaced page.
Group Mural 30 points each Your group (3 members) will create a “mural” relating to one of these options -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> A) Your mural should be designed to clearly portray your area’s subject to an audience who we will assume know nothing of your subject or the novel. Be sure to include prominently the name of the novel and the author. Your group’s topic should be clearly emphasized and defined. The purpose of your mural should be immediately recognizable to the viewer.
B) The clarity of you mural’s text is most important. You will use a minimum of five direct quotations from the novel in addition to any explanatory commentary you add. This text must be visually emphasized, not hidden among the illustrations.
C) Your illustrations may be hand drawn, or you may use cuttings from other sources such as magazines. You may not use drawings or photographs that already depict scenes from Huckleberry Finn. Remember that you illustrations are important in helping the view grasp quickly the subject of your mural. Avoid confusing your view with clutter. Also remember, your illustrations should primarily enhance your textual references. A balanced use of text and illustration is the goal.
D) Your mural will be graded on the over-all effect it has in quickly and effectively pulling your viewer into your subject. Textual references are very important here. Strive to use those that will be of the greatest interest and informational value to your viewer.
1. Satire – Twain is known as one of America’s foremost satirists, never afraid to hold up to scrutiny mankind’s many foibles. Certainly, satire plays a prominent role in Huckleberry Finn. The mural related to this area must clearly depict through the use of text and illustration five distinct areas of Twain’s satirical commentary relating to human customs, institutions, and/or weaknesses. Define caricature, juxtaposition, overstatement (hyperbole) or understatement, word choice, and parody and identify examples of each.
2. Prejudice – Twain makes many comments on the human condition in Huckleberry Finn. One of the social ills that Twain fights in the novel is prejudice. The mural related to this area must clearly depict through the use of text and illustration five examples of Twain’s commentary of prejudice.
3. Mankind’s Hypocrisy – Through Huck Finn’s narration we learn much about Twain’s opinions of humanity. Hypocrisy seems to be one of Twain’s most important targets for change. The mural related to this area must clearly depict though the use of text and illustration five examples of human hypocrisy depicted in Huckleberry Finn.
4. Imagery – Mark Twain, like many realistic writers, paints vivid pictures of a particular time and place, including photographic physical settings and accurate snapshots of people inhabiting them. Your purpose is to select what you consider to be five particularly strong examples of Twain’s use of imagery relating to places and/or characters and depict all five along with appropriate quotations from the text.
Huck Finn on CD 25 points Create a 10 song play list that captures the mood, tone, or themes from Huck Finn. Design a CD jacket with the play list, and give credit to the artists. In the 'liner notes' write 3-4 sentences explaining why each song is appropriate for your CD (minimum 30 sentences).
Images of Racism Poster 25 points Gather of images of racism and find quotations from the novel that touch upon slavery and/or racism. Then assemble a collection of images to illustrate each quotation. Sources about the Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, slavery, and the history of African Americans are possibilities. Three to five images should be included with 7-10 quotations from the book. Use either a small or large piece of poster board and neatly display your work. Write a paragraph explaining your choices of images and quotes and what each signifies.
Character ID Cards 25 points Create a Huck Finn deck of cards. Draw each character and assign them a card. What does each character wear? What direct quote should be on his/her card? What background would be appropriate for each character? Which characters should be ‘suited’ together? Each card must be well drawn, colored and professionally displayed. Each character must have a quote. To fill the deck, include characters that would have been found on the Mississippi River during the mid-1800’s.
The Virginia Reel 40 points What dance would the people of Huck's time most likely be doing? Probably the Virginia Reel. This has been a popular dance since the beginning of our country. It is still danced by square dancing clubs around the country. It's truly a dance that represents the American spirit. Create a 3-5 minute informative / instructional video using video clips (the LMC has movie-making software.)
Authentic Recipes 20 points - 35 points with extra credit sample Let's eat! Find an authentic recipe of Missourians of the 1830's and 1840's. Why would this have been a popular recipe? Why are the ingredients used? How would the recipe be prepared? For what occasions? Create a 1 page write-up including the recipe, answers to all questions and MLA citation of your sources. +15 extra credit points for creating a sample to share with the class. (Bring sample to class on January 5, 2015.)
Comic Strip 25 points Choose a scene from the novel that ridicules slavery, racism, or both and develop a comic strip based on this scene. You might choose to portray the scene as it is found in the novel, or you might use the scene as a springboard for developing your own idea for the comic strip. Possible scenes to consider: Jim imprisoned in the shed (Ch. 34-40), disguising Jim as an Arab (Ch. 24), and the sale of the Wilkes’ slaves (Ch. 27-8). Be sure your comic strip is a satire on the idea of racism or the institution of slavery or both. The comic strip must include at least 3 frames either hand drawn or computer generated. Be sure to include dialogue that is relevant and accurate for the characters used and the drawings are neat and understandable.
Jim/Huck Press Conference 30 points To truly understand and appreciate this novel, the reader must understand not only how Huck and Jim change as individuals, but also how they change each other. With one, two, or three other people prepare a "press conference" for Huck and/or Jim with at least one group member playing the part of each of these characters. The others in the group will become "the media."
Prepare questions and responses for this interview. For example, you might ask Jim how he felt when he was enslaved again on Phelps Farm. The novel can help in coming up with questions but also with responses true to the characters. You must have your list of questions approved by Mrs. Jendrzejczyk PRIOR to recording.
Each ‘character’ must have at least one piece of clothing that represents them during the interview. Additional credit will be given for complete costumes.
Using the Flip Cameras (check out in the library), video record your conference.
Runaway slave narrative 25 points Write a fictional, first-person narrative of a young runaway slave in a big city after 1850. Let your imagination have free rein, but try to be as faithful to history as possible. Narrative must be at least one page, typed, MLA format. Your narrative must be classroom appropriate. You must include a works cited page for your sources (you MUST have sources and include at least 3 researched facts.)
Post Reading Assignment Options
Literary Criticism 30 points After reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, write a short (200 to 400-word) critique, either of the novel in general or of a specific aspect of the novel. Follow the Criticism Writing Guide.
Exploring the Themes 35 points - Choose ONE topic; your response must be at least one typed page, double-spaced. Coming of Age: Huck’s Search for Identity- Select a novel or film in which the main adolescent character changes in the course of the story (To Kill a Mockingbird, My Antonia, Star Wars, a Harry Potter novel, A Separate Peace, a recent movie). List the traits that characterize the protagonist from the beginning of the story and how he/she has changed by the end of the novel or film. When does the character begin to change and why? As the character matures and grows up, how does his or her identity change? What stages or phases did the character pass through on the way to his new, or more mature, identity? Do you believe that all young people go through similar stages in the maturation process? Social Responsibility; Conformity and Civilization - These two themes, though distinct, engage Huck Finn from the outset when the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson seek to guide Huck’s development as a proper citizen with schooling, wholesome living, and religion, all of which Pap counters by teaching ignorance, abuse of self and others, and instinctive but uncivilized behaviors. Tom Sawyer tries to teach Huck how to live based upon his own readings of Romance fiction, lessons largely lost on practical-minded Huck. Interestingly, Huck learns about social responsibility, when and how to conform, and a truer meaning of being civilized from Jim, a runaway slave, and from negative examples of those who hurt others.
1. The “Golden Rule” is central to teachings in all major world religions. Ask students: What principles of living are suggested within this rule? What behaviors do we owe to our fellow beings? What challenges does social responsibility pose for us? Do moral guides such as the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule force conformity in a community or do they help a society free itself from fear and crime?
2. Make a chart listing simple ways you have been taught to conform (forming lines, raising hands, wearing clothes, using inside and outside voices, saying thank you and please), who taught them this behavior, and the reasons for these teachings. Discuss whether these acts of conformity have been good or bad for society.
3. Focus on ways of conforming that you consider bad for you and for your society (voting as another person says, mindless imitation of others in dress and behavior, memorization without meaningful learning, feuding) and the reasons for these behaviors. Under what conditions are social rules for conformity an abuse to its citizens? Do such rules create a civilized society?
4. Define civilization. Discuss: What behaviors would a civilized person and society exhibit? What factors would cause a person (like Huck Finn and Pap) to reject civilization in favor of freedom? Why do people still “drop out” of school and society? Can a person ever escape social responsibility, conformity, and civilization?
Friendship and Betrayal - 1. Without an initial act of friendship or promise, betrayal would be non-existent. After all, how can one betray a person or society he has not acknowledged and cares nothing about? The very act of betrayal suggests that in a world of friends and enemies, one has delivered the former to the latter. While Huck is still learning to be a friend, he plays pranks on Jim that are hurtful. Likewise, when Huck and Jim have helped the King and Duke, the pair abuse and take advantage of them, ultimately selling Jim. Write a short paragraph about what friendship means in your life. Which is more important: to be a friend or to have a friend? How does one go about learning to be a friend?
2. When have you experienced betrayal, either your own or someone else’s betrayal of you. What feelings did you have at the time? What lesson did you learn?
3. All betrayals are not of people, but can also be of principles. Have you broken or betrayed one of your own strongly-held beliefs?
Freedom and Enslavement 1. Any work set in the American South in the 1830’s involving a runaway slave and a white boy must perforce be about enslavement and freedom. Both Jim and Huck define and redefine what it means to be free, even as they encounter scores of kinds of slavery, from alcoholism and ignorance to racism and economic want. Define freedom with examples of what each type of freedom will do in their lives (for example, not depending on others for a ride=having one’s own car). Discuss: Are there occasions when freedoms involve enslavements, (for example, having one’s own car/freedom=paying for gas, insurance, tires and having to work for those things)?
2. Make a chart with two columns: My Freedoms and My Slavery. In each column, write ways in which you are free and ways in which you consider yourself enslaved. Do you feel enslaved by others or by your own traits and choices? Discuss ways in which you can free yourself from your enslavements. (Running away should not be an option here).