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October 30, 2014

Homework Help: Huck Fin

Posted by Jordan on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 2:31pm.

"Two or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might say they swum by, they slide along so quiet and smooth and lovely. Here is the way we put in the time. It was a monstrous big river down there—sometimes a mile and a half wide; we run nights, and laid up and hid day-times; soon as night was most gone we stopped navigating and tied up nearly always in the dead water under a tow-head; and then cut young cotton-woods and willows and hid the raft with them. Then we set out the lines. Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool off; then we set down on the sandy bottom where the water was about set down on the sandy bottom where the water was about knee deep, and watched the daylight come. Not a sound, anywheres, perfectly still, just like the whole world was asleep, only sometimes the bull frog’s a-cluttering, maybe. The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line, that was the woods on t’other side, you couldn’t make nothing else out, then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness, spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and warn’t black any more, but gray; you could see little dark spots drifting alone, ever so far away, trading scows, and such things; and long black streaks, rafts; sometimes you could hear a sweep screaking; or jumbled up voices, it was so still, and sounds come so far, and by and by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the streak that there’s a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes the streak look that way; and you see the mist curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, you make out a log cabin in the edge of the woods, away on the bank on t’other side of the river, being a wood-yard, likely, and piled by them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh, and sweet to smell, on account of the woods and the flowers; but sometimes not that way because they’ve left dead fish laying around, gars, and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you’ve got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the son-birds just going it!"


One of the most successful and important elements of Huckleberry Finn is its colloquial style, which uses American speech as its foundation and manages to be both realistic and poetic. Write a paragraph that analyzes the style of the first paragraph in Chapter 19. Concentrate on Twain's use of vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and imagery, and show how the style presents a portrait of the river that is both realistic and lyrical.

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