On our in-class essay day… (one week after your forum) you will be asked THREE of the following questions and MUST RESPOND TO ONE OF THEM. Your responses will be assessed according to our analytic traits for writing. Though six points are possible for each trait, you will be scored out of five.
1. Twain paints a bleak, depressing picture of the Phelps Plantation. Compare and contrast Huck’s view of life on the plantation to life on the raft. In what way is his view affected by his recent loss of Jim? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
2. Huck is shocked when Tom Sawyer tells him he will help steal Jim out of slavery. What does Tom know about Jim and how does that affect his decision? How does Huck view Tom as a member of society? How does he view himself? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
3. Jim acts as an informant in the case of the king and duke’s Royal Nonesuch show. In what way is justice being done? Why do you think Jim is seen in a different light in this section of the novel? Do his actions seem believable? Defend your argument with examples from the novel.
4. The contrasting personalities of Huck and Tom provide the reader with the satiric humor in these chapters. In what way do their personalities contrast? How are Tom’s romantic notions brought out in the plan to free Jim? How does Huck disagree? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
5. Tom and Huck disagree on the idea of stealing and borrowing. What does Huck call borrowing? What does Tom consider stealing? When does Tom consider stealing all right? When is it wrong? Support your argument with quotes from the novel.
6. In this section of the novel Tom already knows that Jim has been freed by Miss Watson. In view of this fact, how do you interpret his actions in the plan of escape? Is Tom unusually cruel to Jim by making him wait unnecessarily? Why doesn’t he tell Huck and Jim? Explain your answer.
7. Two different types of morality are demonstrated in the novel. Contrast Huck’s morality with Tom’s. How are they different? Explain the origins of each of the boys’ sense of morality? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
8. Twain often satirizes the religious sensibilities of his day through the characters in the novel. In what way is he satirizing Uncle Silas’s prayers with Jim? Do you feel Uncle Silas is being kind to Jim? Why does Jim feel his kindness? Explain your answer.
9. Jim is taken out of his prison to help Huck and Tom with the grindstone. In what way is this humorous incident ironic? Why does Jim go back to his prison? Why doesn’t he leave while he has the chance? Why don’t the boys help him to escape? Explain your answer.
10. Tom often prescribes cruel treatment for Jim in order to carry out his elaborate plan of escape. How does one account for his lack of sensitivity to Jim’s feelings? Is Tom a cruel person? How does Tom treat other people in the novel? Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
11. Tom works on a coat of arms for Jim. Does he have sufficient knowledge of this subject? Is his knowledge limited? Why doesn’t he give Huck the definitions of “fess” and “bar sinister”? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
12. Jim unselfishly gives up his freedom so they can get a doctor for Tom. Does this act seem consistent with Jim’s character? Why does he do it? Describe one other instance in the novel where Jim is unselfish. Cite examples from the novel to support your argument.
13. Tom is happy when they reach the raft in spite of the fact that he has a bullet in his leg. Why is he happy? Why doesn’t he want to see a doctor? What instructions does Tom give Huck about the doctor? How is this a part of Tom’s plan of escape? Explain your answer with examples from the novel.
14. Huck invents stories throughout the novel to get himself out of tight situations. Is Huck’s story to the doctor as believable as his stories have been in the past? Does the doctor doubt Huck? Are there any flaws in his story? Use examples from the novel to support your argument.
15. Jim is often referred to as a noble character in the novel. In what way is his nobility shown in the last few chapters. How does he show courage by helping the doctor? Why does he do it? What price does he pay? Support your answer with examples from the novel.
16. The men who are attending to Jim want to hang him as an example to other slaves who might attempt to escape. Why do they decide against it? How does this incident satirize the morality of the men? Cite examples from the novel to explain your answer.
17. At the end of the novel Huck wants to escape so Aunt Sally will not try to “sivilize” him. How has the meaning of the word “sivilize” changed for Huck? In what way has Huck grown as a character in the novel? Give examples from the novel to support your argument.