5 Things You Didn't Know About The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

On February 18, 1885, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book remains one of the most loved, and most banned, books in American history. Here are five things you didn’t know about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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Huckleberry Finn First appears in Tom Sawyer The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a sequel to Tom Sawyer, Twain’s novel about his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri. Huck also appears in Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Tom Sawyer Abroad. Twain once said that Huck is based on Tom Blankenship, a childhood friend whose father, Woodson Blankenship, was a poor drunkard and the likely model for Pap Finn. "In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was,” Twain wrote in his autobiography, “He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had."

Many Consider Huckleberry Finn The First American Novel “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn,” Ernest Hemingway wrote in Green Hills Of Africa. “There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since." Huckleberry Finn was notable because it was the first novel to be written in the American vernacular. Huck speaks in dialect, using phrases like “it ain’t no matter” or "it warn’t no time to be sentimentering.” Since most writers of the time were still imitating European literature, writing the way Americans actually talked seemed revolutionary. It was language that was clear, crisp, and vivid, and it changed how Americans wrote.

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The Book Is Frequently Banned By Schools Around The Country Huckleberry Finn was first banned in Concord, Massachusetts in 1885. It was considered “trash only suitable for the slums”, and continues to be one of the most-challenged books. The objections are usually over the n-word, which occurs over 200 times in the book. Others say that the portrayal of African Americans is stereotypical, or racist.

The Drawing Of A Penis Nearly Ruined The Book Twain hired 23-year-old E.W. Kemble to illustrate the book’s first edition. As soon as the book went to press, it was discovered that someone added a penis to the drawing of Uncle Silas. According to Twain’s business manager Charles Webster, 250 books were sent out before the mistake was caught. They were recalled and publication was postponed for a reprint. Webster went on to say that if the full run had been sent out, Twain’s “credit for decency and morality would have been destroyed."

It Took Seven Years To Write The Book Huckleberry Finn was written in two bursts. The first was in 1876, when Twain wrote 400 pages that he told his friend he liked “only tolerably well.” He stopped working on it for several years to write The Prince and the Pauper and Life on the Mississippi. Twain explained in his autobiography that he would work faithfully on a book for as long as it "wrote itself". He returned to writing Huckleberry Finn in 1882, after he took a steamboat ride on the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minnesota.