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Racism In Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

735 words - 3 pages

James Phelan’s commentary, while extremely interesting and enjoyable, turned out to be the least useful in developing my understanding of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. “On the Nature and Status of Covert Texts: A Reply to Gerry Brenner’s ‘Letter to ‘De Ole True Huck’ ” is, as the title plainly states, a response to Gerry Brenner’s story rather than Mark Twain’s novel. Phelan openly declares, “My analysis of Brenner’s critique of Huck in effect unmoors that critique from Twain’s text and reconstitutes it as a separate narrative” (433). The article was actually about “Letter to ‘De Ole Huck,” rather than Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Phelan discussed the novel only in comparison with Brenner’s narrative, thus assisting more with my understanding of the narrative than the novel. While I enjoyed reading the different ways Phelan managed to manipulate Brenner’s narrative and expose varying interpretations, it did not bring anything truly unique to my reading experience. Despite having not read the novel before, I did possess a degree of knowledge of the racial controversy surrounding it. My previously acquired knowledge no doubt influenced the way I read the novel, thereby coloring my interpretation as well. As I read, I purposefully sought passages potentially containing underlying or alternate meanings. My reading was geared toward identifying and understanding multiple viewpoints of a single event. Phelan acknowledges “Twain’s text does leave open the possibility that Huck places the rattlesnake on Jim’s blanket for some reason other than to play a good-natured prank,” in his article (432). I also noticed the dual possibilities presented by Twain in the rattlesnake scene. As Phelan might say, I searched for my own covert text during my reading. Phelan’s article affirmed discoveries I made during my reading of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but it did not offer anything new or innovative compared to the opinions I had already formed. While I relished having my discoveries affirmed by a qualified expert, I cannot claim that the article assisted me in understanding the novel.
Just as Phelan’s article quickly became my favorite, albeit least useful, reading, Julies...

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