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Lorena Smalley

Mark Twain’s “river novels”  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) represent Twain’s rise to literary prominence and maturation as an artist, displaying his genius for dialogue and dialect, unforgettable characters and prescient social commentary cloaked in the awesome spiritual presence of the Mississippi River

Twain’s love for the river started as a boy, growing up within sight of the Mississippi, and his affair deepened with his stint, cut short by the Civil War, as a river boat pilot. He saw and recalled all matter of humanity from those formative years and poured all of it into these three volumes.


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain created the memorable characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn drawing from the experiences of boys he grew up with in Missouri. Set by the Mississippi River in the 1840’s, it follows these boys as they get into predicament after predicament. Tom’s classic whitewashing of the fence has become part of American legend, and the book paints a nostalgic picture of life in the middle of the nineteenth century. Tom runs away from home to an island in the river, chases Injun Joe and his treasure, and even gets trapped in a cave for days with Becky Thatcher. The book is one of Twain’s most beloved stories.

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Set in a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing satire on entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

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