Huck Finn

He has red hair, goes barefoot and wants to float away from his troubles.

Huckleberry Finn, drawn from the memory and imagination of Mark Twain, is my all-time favorite literary character. The first time I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was in third grade. Much of the symbolism was lost on me, but the story captivated. Growing up playing on Mozingo Creek that ran through our family farm, I could just imagine hopping on a raft and floating away without a care in the world. I even fashioned a Halloween costume that year as Huck. (I was a bit of nerd, yes.)

Mark Twain, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer having a conversation.

The second time I read the book was in high school, where any symbolism I may have missed the first time was analyzed in meticulous detail. The third time through was in a book club with co-workers. While they debated the themes of racism, cultural pressure and political motives, I peered out at the Missouri River and wondered if it would be possible to construct a seaworthy raft of logs.

Last summer, a friend and I decided we would float away from the stress of life and headed east on Highway 36 to Hannibal, Mo. We got to see the house where Mark Twain grew up and the nearby home of the real-life boy who inspired Huck Finn.

I’m on Huck Finn’s raft!

Near the end of our day in Hannibal, we sat down to the riverfront and gazed across the Mississippi River to Illinois. A massive barge chugged upstream and behind us, a train rolled by, its whistle echoing off the bluffs. It was 2011, but the river seemed to flow with a timeless current where a steamboat captain sounded the whistle, barefoot boys ran through a cave and Mrs. Clemons called young Sam home for supper.

Mark Twain, Huck Finn and the girl of my childhood may all be ascribed to history, but they live on in my memory.

~Susan

When you read Huckleberry Finn, was it a pleasure or a chore?

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3 responses to “Huck Finn”

  1. Susan Hollaway says :

    Cute post, Susie. I love field trips! Yours sounds like it was a blast!

  2. Cherie Gagnon says :

    That’s on my “to read” list someday. Nice post Susie!

  3. Susan Mires (@susanmires) says :

    Apparently this wasn’t required reading in Canada. But it is for Missouri students!

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