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fanuzzir
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Huck and Jim, Chapters 1-16

This immortal pair are actually well-matched, both being fugitives in search of freedom and both enjoing the journey downriver. However, their friendship is also fraught with divided loyalties and old baggage, which is why I dated the relationship to the earliest parts of the novel on land, when Jim is just a easy target for boy's jokes, and effectively end it when they face an oncoming steamer and go their separate ways. Let's put our stamp on one of the most fruitful discussion topics in all of American literature.
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KristyR
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Re: King Solomon

[ Edited ]
I just wanted to say that I love Chapter 14 about King Solomon. It's so funny! It's the same kind of reaction I would expect out of my children before I had a chance to tell them the end of the story. My husband is taking a class on reading the entire bible in 90 days, and he read about King Solomom last night. He was trying to tell me about something he read and I just started laughing. Of course, then I had to explain why... He hasn't read Huckleberry Finn yet, so he might when he's done with his other class.

Message Edited by KristyR on 03-22-200709:59 AM

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fanuzzir
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Re: King Solomon

That's a very interesting chapter, particuarly because Huck looks silly trying to be erudite and evangelical, while Jim looks wise for bringing his own sensibility to the problem of belief. This was very much a staple of southern writing, and showed some of the comlex racial roles that literature dramatized for readers.
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KristyR
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Re: King Solomon

[ Edited ]

fanuzzir wrote:
That's a very interesting chapter, particuarly because Huck looks silly trying to be erudite and evangelical, while Jim looks wise for bringing his own sensibility to the problem of belief. This was very much a staple of southern writing, and showed some of the comlex racial roles that literature dramatized for readers.


I think I missed the point Twain was trying to make in this chapter. I knew the story of King Solomon and knew he wasn't really going to cut the child in half so I just thought the chapter was funny. It didn't occur to me to think about "the complex racial roles that literature dramatized for readers". I'll have to reread that chapter with that thought in mind, thanks.

Message Edited by KristyR on 03-24-200710:34 PM

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fanuzzir
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Re: King Solomon

[ Edited ]
JesseBC wrote:
Hmm...seems to me like this is reading too much into it.

I just finished chapter 14 and, while I suppose this belongs in the folder that includes chapter 14, the following is not a spoiler.

Jim also uses the same word in the context of just an accepted common noun when he says, "I wouldn't 'low no **bleep** to call me dat."

Granted, in self-same context, both Jim and Huck are presuming racist stereotypes. But what they're saying wouldn't be any LESS racist if they had used "black man" instead.

It's the presumptions they're operating with that are racist, not the words they're using to express those presumptions.

For that matter Huck is basically right -- Jim is being stubborn and misinterpreting (perhaps intentionally) both of the things Huck is telling him in that chapter.

But that doesn't make Huck's presumptions any less racist any more than his words make them more so.

Fourteen is a difficult and thought-provoking chapter. There's more I want to say about it, but I'll do so in the proper folder since anything else would be getting into the chapter's content too much for this folder.

Please see the Huck and Jim Thread 1-16 for more discussion on this point.
Bob

Message Edited by fanuzzir on 03-26-200710:36 PM

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JesseBC
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Re: King Solomon

I thought 14 was a difficult chapter and I'm not sure what to make of it.

On the one hand, Huck is right -- Jim is missing the point of the Solomon story. Huck is usually the one who's so literal, but, here, it's Jim who's taking the story literally. Huck seems to understand that the story is supposed to be a metaphor while Jim can't see what good a kid would be chopped in half, so it must mean that Solomon undervalues children because there are so many of them.

Then the same thing happens when they start talking about French. Huck has the more mature (or at least more educated) grasp that different people speak different languages. Ironically, Jim thinks all humans should speak the same language by virtue of species when Jim himself is not even legally regarded as human himself.

I've considered that Jim is purposely missing the point in order to show up that (a) Huck, despite thinking "you can't learn a **bleep** to argue," is the one who can't make a logical point even to refute Jim's silliness or (b) that Huck, who assumes he's smarter by virtue of his race and literacy, isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Huck can recite what's he's learned, but he hasn't internalized it enough to explain it.

I also see this chapter as underscoring that racism isn't about words; it's about power and beliefs. Both Huck and Jim use "**bleep**" as a completely unremarkable common noun, yet they both reveal racist attitudes that blacks can't argue logically and shouldn't get "uppity," even with each other.

Incidentally, I think that's why bleeping out the word is, at best, naive and, at worst, latently racist. Not only because we're reading the word in this book and, obviously, no one's eyes have melted from it yet, but bleeping it out of the discussion reinforces this idea that we can abolish racism as long as we don't speak of it directly, that racism has to do with certain words rather than with power and ideas.

Everything Jim and Huck believe would be just as racist even if they substituted any OTHER word ever used for "black person," such as "Negro," "colored," "African American," etc. It's so much easier to just ban a word than to challenge the power structure that perpetuates racism.






KristyR wrote:
I just wanted to say that I love Chapter 14 about King Solomon. It's so funny! It's the same kind of reaction I would expect out of my children before I had a chance to tell them the end of the story. My husband is taking a class on reading the entire bible in 90 days, and he read about King Solomom last night. He was trying to tell me about something he read and I just started laughing. Of course, then I had to explain why... He hasn't read Huckleberry Finn yet, so he might when he's done with his other class.

Message Edited by KristyR on 03-22-200709:59 AM




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Re: King Solomon



KristyR wrote:
I just wanted to say that I love Chapter 14 about King Solomon. It's so funny! It's the same kind of reaction I would expect out of my children before I had a chance to tell them the end of the story. My husband is taking a class on reading the entire bible in 90 days, and he read about King Solomom last night. He was trying to tell me about something he read and I just started laughing. Of course, then I had to explain why... He hasn't read Huckleberry Finn yet, so he might when he's done with his other class.

Message Edited by KristyR on 03-22-200709:59 AM






Did you mean Sollermun?

ziki :smileyvery-happy:
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Re: King Solomon



fanuzzir wrote:
That's a very interesting chapter, particuarly because Huck looks silly trying to be erudite and evangelical, while Jim looks wise for bringing his own sensibility to the problem of belief. This was very much a staple of southern writing, and showed some of the complex racial roles that literature dramatized for readers.




This is the difference between knowledge (that Huck has some from his short days at school) and knowing as akind of wisdom who Jim might have instead, his own logic. And Jim therefore will not easily comply.It also becomes evident that if he stops trusting himself he is fooled (chapter 15) by the 'clever' Huck.

ziki
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stubborn?



fanuzzir wrote:For that matter Huck is basically right -- Jim is being stubborn and misinterpreting (perhaps intentionally) both of the things Huck is telling him in that chapter.




But is he really? He follows his own reason and there's logic in what he's saying but not that logic that is widely accepted. is it really so that we speak different languages? On the verbal level, but not otherwise.

And the poor little French chap...Jim has some sympathy with the 'content' of what happened. He doesn't just go with the 'learned' part of the story! So why would he be stubborn? Who says Huck is right when it really comes to it?

ziki
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JesseBC
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Re: stubborn?

It was me who wrote that, not Fan.

I suppose we could mince words over the Solomon story since Biblical stories are open to interpretation to begin with, so we could say that their differing interpretations reflect the difference in their social power. Except, by this point, Huck isn't exactly a paragon of white male privilege. He's really not a whole lot better off than Jim. And Jim's contention that humans should all speak the same language is...well...kinda dumb. Or, more charitably, at least it's sheltered and uneducated.

That's why I saw it more as Jim hoisting Huck by his own petard. Jim may not have a clue about linguistics or the Bible, but he proves that Huck doesn't know what he's talking about either. Huck doesn't have an intelligent critique of these subjects because, when challenged, he can't explain them. All he knows how to do is parrot what he's been taught and Jim proves that that's all Huck's doing.





ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote:For that matter Huck is basically right -- Jim is being stubborn and misinterpreting (perhaps intentionally) both of the things Huck is telling him in that chapter.




But is he really? He follows his own reason and there's logic in what he's saying but not that logic that is widely accepted. is it really so that we speak different languages? On the verbal level, but not otherwise.

And the poor little French chap...Jim has some sympathy with the 'content' of what happened. He doesn't just go with the 'learned' part of the story! So why would he be stubborn? Who says Huck is right when it really comes to it?

ziki


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Re: stubborn?



JesseBC wrote:
It was me who wrote that, not Fan.

....That's why I saw it more as Jim hoisting Huck by his own petard. Jim may not have a clue about linguistics or the Bible, but he proves that Huck doesn't know what he's talking about either. Huck doesn't have an intelligent critique of these subjects because, when challenged, he can't explain them. All he knows how to do is parrot what he's been taught and Jim proves that that's all Huck's doing.







Aha, OK.

ziki
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