There are few novels that nosedive and soar so sporadically as that of Twain’s Huck Finn. It began as a capitalization on his prior work of Tom Sawyer, but quickly turned into a magnum opus of Americana. In order to fit that theme, the material must break the mold entirely. People say often (similar to Kubrick’s Full-Metal Jacket) that you should really stop experiencing the art around the end of the third quarter of the book. In that way it is wholly American, messy and composed. It is also a terribly ambiguous story. For all of the caricatures and pageantry, it is a very ambiguous book, just at the semi-threatening prelude would suggest, definitely the most neutral book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read six of those things.
So what can be extracted from this novel of chief importance? I prefer to break it down like this: when I was in the Nut-Hut, I had more time than I knew what to do with and very few venues of entertainment; what I would do was get a book, read it through and plot everything out in my head as if I was adapting a movie. This is what I propose to do with Huck Finn, find the most powerful, the most effective and impactful scenes based on what impact I feel they would make cinematically as a judge of their true merit. What would be the famous scene people revisit on YouTube years after its release? What would it be lauded on for theoretically?
Starting the list of important scenes off is the portion of chapter thirty-one wherein Huck grapples with social ideals and his personal judgment. He has a message he means to send to Mrs. Watson, the owner of Jim, an escaped slave and Huck’s companion on the Mississippi, proclaiming Jim’s whereabouts and the location of her lost “property”. Now, in the nineteenth century antebellum south, it would not only be a social faux pas to let Jim go, but a religious one as well. It only seems natural to Huck as he’s been around it all his life. He sees the darker humans as pets or livestock to others, not in a spiteful manner, but a matter of fact “There’s Mister Greely’s nigger out at the market for him.” As a boy of thirteen, how is he to make these distinctions morally? He then reminds himself of Jim’s companionship, how he can’t help but see Jim as an equal. With a conscience he sees as a probable wicked one, he says “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” before he shears the paper in his hands.
Obviously the above is a very powerful scene and it sure to...