Huck Finn ch 1-11

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain, Mark, pseud.; (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Chapters 1 - 11

Before Reading the Novel
Introducing Major Themes:
Before you read the novel consider the major themes that you will encounter.

  1. Society's values and laws can be in conflict with higher moral values.
    What are higher moral values? What are examples of past laws and values that were in conflict with higher moral values and were ultimately changed? Do you think people should break laws and reject social values that they consider immoral?
  2. People must live outside of society to be truly free.
    Do you believe this statement is true? Explain. How can society limit personal freedom? Are there ways in which living in society enhances freedom? If so, explain. Is it possible to live completely outside of society? If so, how? If not, why not?
  3. Gullible people are partially responsible for their own deception.
    Do you believe this statement is true? Explain. Think of experiences that you know of in which someone has been tricked. How did the trick happen? How can a person keep from being deceived by a very clever trickster?
  4. People tend to behave irrationally and even cruelly in large groups.
    Think of examples in which large groups have behaved irrationally. What examples can you think of that support or contradict this statement? What kinds of groups might inspire irrational behavior? How do you think people's behavior changes when they act as a large group?

Study Questions: Chapters 1-11

  1. Who is responsible for Huck's upbringing? Why does Pap try to get Huck back again?
  2. How does Huck disguise his escape from Pap? What disguise does Huck use to deceive Mrs. Loftus (the woman on the Illinois shore)?
  3. Compare Hucles two escapes. Why did he run away from the Widow Douglas and from Pap later on? Why can Huck and Jim never return home?
  4. How do Pap and the Widow Douglas represent two opposing lifestyles for Huck? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  5. Compare Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
  6. When slavery was common in the United States, the term nigger was widespread. Is its use in the novel always derogatory?
    How do Pap, Huck, and Jim use the term?
    What does Twain accomplish by including the term?


    Write an essay predicting whether Jim and Huck's escape will be successful. Will Jim, a runaway slave, and Huck, a fourteen-year-old boy, make good traveling companions? What qualities in each will help or hinder their success? Prewriting. Have students make a list of the pair's strengths and weaknesses. Ask them to consider the potential dangers of the world in the mid-1800's and the potential hazards of the river. Have them review, too, how well Jim and Huck get along. How have they handled conflicts and other problems thus far?