The Well Educated Mind Reading Group

Private reading group discussions
 
HomePortalFAQSearchRegisterMemberlistUsergroupsLog in

Share | 
 

 Discussion Questions

Go down 
AuthorMessage
Kelley
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 890
Age : 37
Localisation : Delta, Colorado
Registration date : 2006-11-20

PostSubject: Discussion Questions   Mon May 28, 2007 8:00 am

1.What does the first sentence of the novel tell us about what we should expect from this story? What imagery does the author use in this sentence? Why? How does it set the tone of the novel?

2.Describe the overall structure of the novel. Why might the author choose to utilize twenty-four chapters?

3.Why might the author have chosen to alternate the chapters so that we take turns reading about Finn’s life before Mary’s murder and his life after this? Does this back-and-forth movement tell us anything about Finn’s mental state or internal struggles?

4.Describe some of the metaphors and similes that the author uses in the first chapter. How do they help to create a sense of place?

5.In Chapter 1, we learn that other children have been ordered to stay away from Huck; they find Huck’s “dark history as dizzying as a leap from some great bluff, into a Mississippi pool.” What does this mean? Why do they feel this way about him?

6.Why might the author have chosen the name “Bliss” for the blind bootlegger? What might he represent?

7.In comparison to Finn’s relationship with other bartenders and proprietors, why is Finn so comfortable with Bliss?

8.Discuss some examples of foreshadowing in Finn.

9.Finn catches fish for a living. What skills and characteristics does Finn need in order to be successful at this and to survive in the wilderness?

10.Why does Finn whitewash the room? Is it simply to cover up his crime or does it represent something more? Later in the story, he covers the walls in charcoal drawings and words. Why do you think that he does this? What does it signify?

11.When Finn tells Huck that Mary is not his mother and that his real mother was white, why doesn’t Mary tell Huck the truth? Is her decision helping or hurting Huck?

12.After Mary is murdered, Finn becomes interested in another African American woman. Why do you think the author chose to make her a laundress? Accordingly, what might she represent?

13.When Finn drinks, he sees spiders and snakes. These kinds of visions are indicative of alcoholism and of symptoms such as delirium tremens, but what might these apparitions further symbolize?

14.How does the Judge view African Americans? How does this affect his son’s view of African Americans? What other childhood experiences may have contributed to Finn’s troubled identity as an adult?

15.There are many references to reconciliation and redemption in Finn. Describe some of the opportunities that Finn has for reconciliation or redemption. Is Finn able to capitalize on these opportunities? Why or why not?

16.In Chapter Six, the author introduces us to a pair of professors of different heritages. One of them states that “change is afoot.” What do these characters tell us about the changes taking place in American society at this time?

17.When Judge Stone invites Finn over for dinner, they eat huckleberry pie. What do the huckleberries represent and what information does this give us about Huck and what he symbolizes?

18.Why were Mary and her father trying to escape to Iowa? When they are caught, Mary’s father is stripped of his white suit. What might this represent?

19.What do we discover about Huck’s true heritage? How was this perceived during Huck’s lifetime? How would it be perceived today?

20.Finn is a very violent man. What do you think causes him to be so violent? Why do you think that he kills Mary? What is significant about Finn’s method of killing Mary and disposing of her remains?

21.Did your perception of Finn fluctuate throughout the story? If so, what made your opinion of him change?

22.In Chapter Sixteen, there is an important exchange between Finn and his brother Will. Finn makes a comment: “The way people look at me.” Will corrects him: “The way you look to them.” What are they talking about? Why is this exchange significant? Who is right?
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://welleducatedmind.editboard.com
Kelley
Admin
avatar

Number of posts : 890
Age : 37
Localisation : Delta, Colorado
Registration date : 2006-11-20

PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:41 pm

1.What does the first sentence of the novel tell us about what we should expect from this story? What imagery does the author use in this sentence? Why? How does it set the tone of the novel?

The first sentence of the novel sets the mood of a dark mystery. Through out the story we are led to believe one thing, then find out it is something else. Right off the bat, I thought that we were talking about Finn, especially after just finishing Huckleberry.

2.Describe the overall structure of the novel. Why might the author choose to utilize twenty-four chapters?

I thought that the way he altered the sense of time added to the mystery of the novel. The twists and turns made each discovery exciting. I didn't see any importance in the use of 24 chapters, did you guys?

3.Why might the author have chosen to alternate the chapters so that we take turns reading about Finn’s life before Mary’s murder and his life after this? Does this back-and-forth movement tell us anything about Finn’s mental state or internal struggles?

I think we are allowed to see the sides of Finn when he is trying to be a better man, and how he gets of course again and again. I think the swirl of information provided to the reader parallels the swirling emotion and turmoil going on inside of Finn.

4.Describe some of the metaphors and similes that the author uses in the first chapter. How do they help to create a sense of place?

the body comes down the river like a deadfall stripped clean-a dead fall is a mass of fallen timber and tangled brush- making us see the body as insignificant, hidden in the weeds, tangling, getting hung up on the rocks
two smallmouth bass darting warily as thieves- a criminal sound
a crow screams-personification
an alligator gar...rises deathlike
a hipbone...snaps like rotting wood
Just the first part of the first chapter had me hooked. The visuals, the scene was set, dirty and wet, the body saturated, the mutilated and rotted body...oh a how could your resist?


5.In Chapter 1, we learn that other children have been ordered to stay away from Huck; they find Huck’s “dark history as dizzying as a leap from some great bluff, into a Mississippi pool.” What does this mean? Why do they feel this way about him?

As any parent of any child knows the more forbidden, the more desirable. After reading the entire story we know that the 'dark history' could refer to many different parts of Huck's history.

6.Why might the author have chosen the name “Bliss” for the blind bootlegger? What might he represent?

'Bliss' is an ironic name for a lonely man who provides other lonely men and alcoholics with their 'bliss'.

7.In comparison to Finn’s relationship with other bartenders and proprietors, why is Finn so comfortable with Bliss?

I believe it is because Bliss can't see him. Finn always believes he is better than Bliss, and Bliss is the only character Finn always believes that he is continuously better than.

8.Discuss some examples of foreshadowing in Finn.

Foreshadowing started from the first sentence, we know that there is a murder and we are waiting for the details. The way the plot is laid out for us, plus having read Huckleberry Finn, we are bombarded with foreshadowing.

9.Finn catches fish for a living. What skills and characteristics does Finn need in order to be successful at this and to survive in the wilderness?

He needs to have patience and a good understand of the wild. He seems so at ease in the 'wild', and has grown accustomed to being patient, this is a job that is good for him. The other quality needed, that Finn does not have and that we see him struggle with, is marketing. He needs to be able to find someone to purchase his fish. He is so crass and has such a reputation he never gets what his fish are worth.

10.Why does Finn whitewash the room? Is it simply to cover up his crime or does it represent something more? Later in the story, he covers the walls in charcoal drawings and words. Why do you think that he does this? What does it signify?

I think he is trying to cleanse himself, not only of the murder, but of all of his decisions. He becomes consumed by his past, and realizes that he can't cover it up, but needs to let it out to become free of the guilt.

11.When Finn tells Huck that Mary is not his mother and that his real mother was white, why doesn’t Mary tell Huck the truth? Is her decision helping or hurting Huck?

Mary is hurt by the words Finn has told Huck, but knows that if Huck and everyone else believes he is white, he will have a better life in the long run. I think that she hopes that somewhere down the road, Huck will look back and know the truth.
I think that as far as helping or hurting Huck, that is a double edged sword. He is now free and can live the life of a white person, but has no mother and is constantly returned to his father. If he grew up knowing the truth, he could have been a slave, but would have his mother.


12.After Mary is murdered, Finn becomes interested in another African American woman. Why do you think the author chose to make her a laundress? Accordingly, what might she represent?

I suppose that her being a laundress could be representative of her washing away sin. Then again, Finn hated that Mary worked as a laundress. I think more than anything she represented all that Mary was, especially when Finn was in jail. She was a chance for redemption for Finn.

13.When Finn drinks, he sees spiders and snakes. These kinds of visions are indicative of alcoholism and of symptoms such as delirium tremens, but what might these apparitions further symbolize?

I think these apparitions could also symbolize the terrors of his life, his sins haunting him.

14.How does the Judge view African Americans? How does this affect his son’s view of African Americans? What other childhood experiences may have contributed to Finn’s troubled identity as an adult?

The Judge had very conflicting views of African Americans. He didn't own any slaves, but felt that it was important to hire his help and pay them fair wages. On the other hand having a relationship with an African American or treating them as an equal was appaling. This contradiction may have been difficult for Finn as a child.

16.In Chapter Six, the author introduces us to a pair of professors of different heritages. One of them states that “change is afoot.” What do these characters tell us about the changes taking place in American society at this time?

It allows us to see the changes that are taking place regarding slavery and the roles that black Americans are allowed to play.

17.When Judge Stone invites Finn over for dinner, they eat huckleberry pie. What do the huckleberries represent and what information does this give us about Huck and what he symbolizes?

EEEK!

18.Why were Mary and her father trying to escape to Iowa? When they are caught, Mary’s father is stripped of his white suit. What might this represent?

They were trying to make it to freedom. Stripping the white suit, stripped her father of freedom and any chance of it. He was treated like an animal, not as a worker, not as a free man.
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://welleducatedmind.editboard.com
Minimoosey

avatar

Number of posts : 512
Localisation : Grand Junction, CO
Registration date : 2006-11-21

PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Sat Jun 09, 2007 3:04 pm

1.What does the first sentence of the novel tell us about what we should expect from this story? What imagery does the author use in this sentence? Why? How does it set the tone of the novel?

The first sentence in this novel describes gloom and despair. The crows and the bluebottle flies are symbols of death and rot.

Clinch has a well written novel that takes you to surprises til the last paragraph of the novel. I have never read a novel of this sort before.

The tone of the novel is depressing. As the south is a hard life, Clinch seems to capture it like Mark Twain did. I do wonder where he got some of his ideas. He apparently was raised in the Northeast US.


2.Describe the overall structure of the novel. Why might the author choose to utilize twenty-four chapters?

I don't think that using 24 chapters is too relevant either. The overall structure is probably using flashback and two story lines that tie into one. I'm sure there is a name for it


3.Why might the author have chosen to alternate the chapters so that we take turns reading about Finn’s life before Mary’s murder and his life after this? Does this back-and-forth movement tell us anything about Finn’s mental state or internal struggles?

I think that the painting of the bedroom and drawing on the walls in black is symbolic. I think that Clinch is trying to relay to us that this man was essentially confused throughout his life. I'm not sure if it was his neglect from a perfectionist father and needy sick brother or if it was an inherited thing. As we recall the "Judge's" father was a drunk also. Males inherit alcoholism in greater number than females.



4.Describe some of the metaphors and similes that the author uses in the first chapter. How do they help to create a sense of place?

Can't comment too much on similes and metaphors. I guess I don't appreciate them as some do.

I do say that Clinch shocked me once in the book and referred to Mary as an African Girl. It was out of character for the novel. The foundation of the story of the Finn's was so well known for using the "n" word. Here he using African Girl. What do you think about that.

5.In Chapter 1, we learn that other children have been ordered to stay away from Huck; they find Huck’s “dark history as dizzying as a leap from some great bluff, into a Mississippi pool.” What does this mean? Why do they feel this way about him?

I would like to comment on the section where it is referred to Huck as their entertainment. He is their "prince." He knows all the stories of the pirates and villains of the times. As we know, they are all from literature. Is Huck so illiterate? I don't think so. The Pied Piper comes to mind when I think of Huck at school in this novel.

6.Why might the author have chosen the name “Bliss” for the blind bootlegger? What might he represent?

Well ignorance is Bliss is the most popular phrase. I think that Bliss' lack of caring about others or conscious ignorance is ironic.


7.In comparison to Finn’s relationship with other bartenders and proprietors, why is Finn so comfortable with Bliss?

I think that Bliss (as Kelley said) can't see Finn and isn't going to or doesn't want to make judgments. Finn is comfortable with this. That is why Finn covered up for Bliss killing the preacher.

8.Discuss some examples of foreshadowing in Finn.

Well, my favorite was with Mary. I had a second thought of Mary being the one skinned in the river. What would make Huck go to all that trouble. I didn't know what, but it sure crossed my mind.

9.Finn catches fish for a living. What skills and characteristics does Finn need in order to be successful at this and to survive in the wilderness?

I was really surprised at Huck's upbringing that he was so comfortable in the wild. He seems to take the wilderness and culture and embrace it. I can't understand why he was educated and brought up with a well respected father and mother and ended up accepting his life in squaller.

10.Why does Finn whitewash the room? Is it simply to cover up his crime or does it represent something more? Later in the story, he covers the walls in charcoal drawings and words. Why do you think that he does this? What does it signify?

I already mentioned this above. I think the walls are a representation of his mind in confusion.


11.When Finn tells Huck that Mary is not his mother and that his real mother was white, why doesn’t Mary tell Huck the truth? Is her decision helping or hurting Huck?

Her decision is definitely helping Huck. He is already starting off behind the eight ball and being a mulatto their lie has taken off some of the pressure.

Did Huck really miss his mother. I'm not sure there was bonding there from the beginning. Huck was not raised to have and express feelings. Finn wasn't either. Two separate upbringings and really they turned out somewhat alike.



12.After Mary is murdered, Finn becomes interested in another African American woman. Why do you think the author chose to make her a laundress? Accordingly, what might she represent?

I don't think that was much of a representation. There isn't much a black woman can do and keep within their class. I think Finn just liked black women and it was convenient. You have to admit that the laundress from darktown had more spirit than Mary.

13.When Finn drinks, he sees spiders and snakes. These kinds of visions are indicative of alcoholism and of symptoms such as delirium tremens, but what might these apparitions further symbolize?

Negativity. Now I read Kelley's response. I don't really think that Finn has much of a conscience, but whatever he has it is haunting him.

14.How does the Judge view African Americans? How does this affect his son’s view of African Americans? What other childhood experiences may have contributed to Finn’s troubled identity as an adult?

the Judge is one of thoe people who were in the "border states" that he hired black people, but didn't think it was right to mate with them. Clinch brought this up well with the Judge.

15.There are many references to reconciliation and redemption in Finn. Describe some of the opportunities that Finn has for reconciliation or redemption. Is Finn able to capitalize on these opportunities? Why or why not?

Finn does have a little conscience. He wants to have his fathers approval. His father will never give it. No wonder Finn is so screwed up. Will is too. He is very passive and won't find happiness either. Will's like is just a bit more respectable, I can't say it is probably happier.

16.In Chapter Six, the author introduces us to a pair of professors of different heritages. One of them states that “change is afoot.” What do these characters tell us about the changes taking place in American society at this time?


The author is just conveying the conflict of America in another light. I think it was excellent where he brought this up in an educational setting.

17.When Judge Stone invites Finn over for dinner, they eat huckleberry pie. What do the huckleberries represent and what information does this give us about Huck and what he symbolizes?

No clue. I'm going to research this one.

18.Why were Mary and her father trying to escape to Iowa? When they are caught, Mary’s father is stripped of his white suit. What might this represent?

The crossing of the border states and their repercussions.


19.What do we discover about Huck’s true heritage? How was this perceived during Huck’s lifetime? How would it be perceived today?

What do they mean Huck's true heritage. Mulatto? Well now adays it is more widely accepted. I have to say in Grand Junction that their are a lot of inter-racial marriages. I do see more black men in the town than black woman. What do you think Kelley.

How is it in Cortez Karen?


20.Finn is a very violent man. What do you think causes him to be so violent? Why do you think that he kills Mary? What is significant about Finn’s method of killing Mary and disposing of her remains?

I can't say why Finn is so violent, maybe mental illness. Mary was a piece of property of insignificant existance. He skinned her like a fish beecause that's all Finn knew what to do.

21.Did your perception of Finn fluctuate throughout the story? If so, what made your opinion of him change?

My opinion was set before I opened the book. It was changed when I saw him take Mary in. Then it went back to loathing him.







Excellent read. Thanks Karen.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Karen

avatar

Number of posts : 365
Localisation : Cortez, Colorado
Registration date : 2006-11-20

PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:39 pm

1.What does the first sentence of the novel tell us about what we should expect from this story? What imagery does the author use in this sentence? Why? How does it set the tone of the novel?
Itt was meant to draw us in to the mystery and the vague menace that would pervade the entire story. It has the 'hook' beginning that many novelist use today to grab a persons attention who may ick it up from the shelf and glance at the first page and then, if not snagged, put it down.

2.Describe the overall structure of the novel. Why might the author choose to utilize twenty-four chapters?
I did not even grasp that there were twenty four chapters. Was there an explanation in the guide about that? The structure was present tense/past tense which I enjyed, though every once in a while I had to think a second to figure out which tense i was reading

3.Why might the author have chosen to alternate the chapters so that we take turns reading about Finn’s life before Mary’s murder and his life after this? Does this back-and-forth movement tell us anything about Finn’s mental state or internal struggles?
One of you guys, or maybe both, mentioned that it might have been to show that finn did not start out all bad and that there was a time when he was modestly happy and an ok guy in a rough sort of way.

4.Describe some of the metaphors and similes that the author uses in the first chapter. How do they help to create a sense of place?

the skiff was as reliable and wise as a blood hound. (dogs are reliable, the boat was reliable, you know your dog well, you know your boat better)

the boy rises like a perch, judging furiosly the relativ risks and advantages that are upon him (when Finn jerked the fish hook out of the young boys hand)

5.In Chapter 1, we learn that other children have been ordered to stay away from Huck; they find Huck’s “dark history as dizzying as a leap from some great bluff, into a Mississippi pool.” What does this mean? Why do they feel this way about him?
Now there's a good metaphore! 'dark' maybe peole knew his mother was black, or they knew his dads dark moods or his disreputable past, but because he has been forbidden by the parents,boys are eager to make his aquantence, just like kids can hardly resit jumping from a high place into a pool of water.

6.Why might the author have chosen the name “Bliss” for the blind bootlegger? What might he represent?
Maybe it represented the old mans ability to just go aong with whatever was going on. he could see no evil, therefore there was no evil. yes, you both touched on the fact that he provided pleasure to his patrons, too. He has a kind of innocence, too in his business and how he allowed his drink to be taken.

7.In comparison to Finn’s relationship with other bartenders and proprietors, why is Finn so comfortable with Bliss? Finn knew he could always take advantage of Bliss when he wanted to and that bliss was pretty helpless to do anything about it. finn did not feel judged by Bliss for his filth and desreputable appearance.

8.Discuss some examples of foreshadowing in Finn.

9.Finn catches fish for a living. What skills and characteristics does Finn need in order to be successful at this and to survive in the wilderness?
finn would have been self taught most likely since his dad was a judge, but he would need to know where on the river were likely places to lay his lines, know how to clean and preserve the fish until he can get them sold. he would have to be excellent on a raft or canoe.

10.Why does Finn whitewash the room? Is it simply to cover up his crime or does it represent something more? Later in the story, he covers the walls in charcoal drawings and words. Why do you think that he does this? What does it signify?
Finn felt really bad about what he had done at first and wanted to expunge the act by whitewashing over it and nailing the door shut to refute that it ever happened. he is not able to shake the memories and thus he faces them by opening the door and perhaps hoping to clear his conscience, he starts depicting his crimes. I think the man was probably insane and just had moments of lucidity.

11.When Finn tells Huck that Mary is not his mother and that his real mother was white, why doesn’t Mary tell Huck the truth? Is her decision helping or hurting Huck?
Mary was already considering doing this, and didn't she tell the widow she wasn't hucks mother trying to pave the way for Huck to be free? It helped Huck cut his ties with his mother which he maay not have been able to do otherwise, but at a very hight price. I don't think Finn did it to help Hcuk but to drive a dagger in Marys heart.

12.After Mary is murdered, Finn becomes interested in another African American woman. Why do you think the author chose to make her a laundress? Accordingly, what might she represent?
he chose to depict her as a laundress because subconsciously, Finn, realizes that it wasn't so bad that mry took in laundry while he was away and that if he could hook up with this new woman he would be more forgiving.

13.When Finn drinks, he sees spiders and snakes. These kinds of visions are indicative of alcoholism and of symptoms such as delirium tremens, but what might these apparitions further symbolize?
His crimes and unkindnesses he has done all of his life.

14.How does the Judge view African Americans? How does this affect his son’s view of African Americans? What other childhood experiences may have contributed to Finn’s troubled identity as an adult? he distains them altogether and would prefer thery were completely eradicated and he certainly did not any of his blood flowing through a black person. Finns parents didn't get along and his dad was a compleate tyrant.

15.There are many references to reconciliation and redemption in Finn. Describe some of the opportunities that Finn has for reconciliation or redemption. Is Finn able to capitalize on these opportunities? Why or why not?
finn could have been accepting of marys need to work while he was gone instead of being so unrealistic abouthow she might have survived

16.In Chapter Six, the author introduces us to a pair of professors of different heritages. One of them states that “change is afoot.” What do these characters tell us about the changes taking place in American society at this time? People are opening hinting about the upcoming divide within the country.

17.When Judge Stone invites Finn over for dinner, they eat huckleberry pie. What do the huckleberries represent and what information does this give us about Huck and what he symbolizes?
wow, that went right by me. i could venture a guess, but I didn't notice it in the story. Terrible

18.Why were Mary and her father trying to escape to Iowa? When they are caught, Mary’s father is stripped of his white suit. What might this represent? the white suit represents freedom/whitenss/equality

19.What do we discover about Huck’s true heritage? How was this perceived during Huck’s lifetime? How would it be perceived today? that Huck is half black which was a eal shock to me but I liked it! it would have been sure slaverly in the south back then and surely being ostrisized in the North. today it is very common. I think tiger woods is white/chinese and black. i don't know how comfortable people are being in that kind of skin. when i was in high school being half mexican or half indian still had a lot of stigma.
20.Finn is a very violent man. What do you think causes him to be so violent? Why do you think that he kills Mary? What is significant about Finn’s method of killing Mary and disposing of her remains? I think he killed mary because he was impotent and he just treated her worse and worse until one day he killed her. i think he stripped her flesh in a cowardly attempt to not have her be identified, or maybe to say look, underneath she is the same as me.

21.Did your perception of Finn fluctuate throughout the story? If so, what made your opinion of him change? I felt a tiny bit of sympathy for him as a young man, but really disliked him by the middle of the book.

22.In Chapter Sixteen, there is an important exchange between Finn and his brother Will. Finn makes a comment: “The way people look at me.” Will corrects him: “The way you look to them.” What are they talking about? Why is this exchange significant? Who is right?
Maybe the brother was pointing out that Finn was always thinking people were judging him when in reality, they were just going about their own business. he was a paraniod person no doubt
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   

Back to top Go down
 
Discussion Questions
Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» mark 3 questions
» Azumanga Daioh Discussion
» Burst Angel Discussion
» Tokyo Mew Mew Discussion
» Newbie Questions

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
The Well Educated Mind Reading Group :: Novel Section :: Huckleberry Finn :: Finn-
Jump to: