The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Should you ever find yourself on a raft, floating down the Mississippi River, you're going to want something to do. Reading Mark Twain's classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would certainly fit the bill. Or, if your raft gets wi-fi, you could watch this video.

19th-Century Literature19th-Century American Literature
American Literature19th-Century American Literature
All American Literature
AuthorTwain - Mark Twain
FormNovel
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureAmerican Literature
ThemesFamily
Race

Transcript

00:29

What’s the first thing you’re going to do with all this newfound fortune?

00:33

New house? New ride? Mediterranean cruise?

00:37

Give it all away? Ha, give it all away. Right.

00:41

Wait, what?

00:43

In Mark Twain’s Huck Finn, that is precisely what his title character does.

00:47

What could have possessed him to do such a thing? Is he totally nuts?

00:52

First of all, let’s be clear… he gave the cash to Judge Thatcher for safekeeping.

00:58

So it was still technically his.

00:59

But it wasn’t because he didn’t trust himself to not blow it all during a sale at

01:05

Bloomingdale’s.

01:06

It was because he truly did not want it. For a kid who lived his entire life in abject

01:15

poverty…

01:15

…that money could have come in handy.

01:18

It could have kept him clothed and fed, and gone a long way to helping out his loved ones.

01:23

Even if he didn’t want the pressure of wealth…

01:26

…or was freaked out about Uncle Sam hitting him with some sort of “spelunking tax”…

01:32

…he could have bought some really nice things for those who cared about him… or had cared

01:37

for him. But Huck didn’t give the money to Judge

01:39

Thatcher immediately.

01:41

He did actually give the “sivilized” life the old college try.

01:46

But the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, who were trying to turn Huck into… well, a real

01:53

boy…

01:53

…were driving him bonkers.

01:56

He may have lived his entire life up to that point without much spending cash…

02:03

…but at least there weren’t so many dang rules.

02:09

Once Huck learned that money and responsibility were inextricably tied together…

02:13

…all that green may have lost some of its former allure.

02:18

But maybe some part of Huck realized that he wasn’t quite ready to make the mature

02:21

decisions required of someone receiving such a windfall.

02:26

Whatever excuses he made, could it be that he just wanted the money to be out of sight,

02:31

out of mind…

02:32

…until he was a bit older and would have a better idea what to do with it?

02:41

After all, six thousand dollars buys an awful lot of penny candy. He could have wound up

02:45

with a truly awful stomachache. Why did Huck say adieu to his fortune?

02:52

Did he honestly dislike money and prefer being poor?

02:56

Did he decide it wasn’t worth becoming “sivilized?”

02:59

Or was this decision about the only mature one Huck ever made?

03:04

Shmoop amongst yourselves.