The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay Assignment pre-writing due: Monday, November 13

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Essay Assignment

PRE-WRITING DUE: Monday, November 13

ESSAY DUE: Monday, November 20
General Guidelines

  • Minimum of 2 FULL pages, maximum of 4 pages

  • Double-spaced with one inch margins

  • Font: Times New Roman, 12 Point

  • No cover page

  • Essay must include creative title that makes me want to read your paper!

  • Bold your thesis statement in the introduction paragraph

  • Minimum of four quotes from Huck Finn needed (but no bibliography)

    • Don’t attempt to write a literary essay without using plenty of quotations from the work you are discussing. That means that you cannot write an essay from memory; you must go back and do some re-reading to write an effective essay.

    • Final punctuation (period) ALWAYS goes inside (i.e., to the left of) final quotation marks (and so do commas); semicolons and colons go outside.

    • If a quotation contains a word or words in quotation marks, change them from double to single: "the 'wiggle' factor."

  • Every day your paper is late, it’s dropped one letter grade!

  • You must turn your pre-writing in with your paper – Next Monday I will collect it and make sure you’re on the right track and return it on Tuesday

  • Do not retell the story. I've read it. (You may provide immediate context for your analysis, however.)

  • Write in the present tense.


Three-division essay:

Introduction – first paragraph

Introduces topic to reader

First sentence is topic sentence, which states main idea of paragraph

General statements about the topic follow; they are to support the topic sentence

Last sentence is the thesis statement (main idea of essay) – bold this sentence!!
Body – supporting paragraphs

Provides support for thesis statement
Conclusion – final paragraph

Provides logical ending to essay

First sentence restates the thesis statement, but does so in other words

Summarizes main points of essay

Concluding sentence clearly marks the end of the essay

-- over --

Essay Topics

Choose ONE of the following essay topics to focus on for your paper.

1. Huck Finn is often described as a powerful commentary on the issues of racism and slavery. How do these issues come out in the book’s plot? How do they affect the friendship of Huck and Jim? As the novel develops, how does the impact of slavery and racism on the lives of these two friends evolve and develop? How do Huck’s and Jim’s characters evolve – how are the two characters different at the end of the novel from what they were at the beginning?

2. While traveling down the Mississippi, Huck meets a wide variety of people. Based on Huck's interactions with these people and his description of them, write an essay on whether Mark Twain's view of society/humanity is positive or negative. Be sure to use specific examples to support your answer. 

3. Write an essay analyzing disguise as a theme in Huck Finn. Which characters wear disguises throughout the novel and pretend to be somebody that they really are not, and for what reasons? Which characters cannot wear disguises and why not? Use specific examples to support your answer. 

4. One of the most important elements of Huck Finn is the element of satire that Mark Twain uses in his novel. Refer to at least four different incidents you consider funny in Huck Finn. Show how they are typical of humor in the book. Why would Mark Twain use these examples of humor? For what purposes? Use specific examples to support your answer. 

Prewriting worth 50 points!
Writing Process worth 100 points! Here are the main items I’ll be grading:

  • Introduction is exciting; has a thesis statement; thesis statement is clear

  • Paragraphs are developed, including a topic sentence, support – including
    quotes – and an appropriate conclusion

  • Conclusion summarizes main points of essay; includes restatement of thesis statement

  • All words spelled correctly; grammar and punctuation used correctly throughout; verbs in present tense


The common saying, “A dog is man’s best friend,” may contain some truth, but dogs are not the only animal friend whose companionship people enjoy. For many people, a cat is their best friend. Despite what dog lovers may believe, cats make excellent housepets.

In the first place, people enjoy the companionship of cats. Many cats are affectionate. They will snuggle up and ask to be petted, or scratched under the chin. Who can resist a purring cat? If they're not feeling affectionate, cats are generally quite playful. They love to chase balls and feathers, or just about anything dangling from a string. They especially enjoy playing when their owners are participating in the game. Contrary to popular opinion, cats can be trained. Using rewards and punishments, just like with a dog, a cat can be trained to avoid unwanted behavior or perform tricks. Cats will even fetch!

In the second place, cats are civilized members of the household. Unlike dogs, cats do not bark or make other loud noises. Most cats don't even meow very often. They generally lead a quiet existence. Cats also don't often have "accidents." Mother cats train their kittens to use the litter box, and most cats will use it without fail from that time on. Even stray cats usually understand the concept when shown the box and will use it regularly. Cats do have claws, and owners must make provision for this. A tall scratching post in a favorite cat area of the house will often keep the cat content to leave the furniture alone. As a last resort, of course, cats can be declawed.

Lastly, one of the most attractive features of cats as housepets is their ease of care. Cats do not have to be walked. They get plenty of exercise in the house as they play, and they do their business in the litter box. Cleaning a litter box is a quick, painless procedure. Cats also take care of their own grooming. Bathing a cat is almost never necessary because under ordinary circumstances cats clean themselves. Cats are more particular about personal cleanliness than people are. In addition, cats can be left home alone for a few hours without fear. Unlike some pets, most cats will not destroy the furnishings when left alone. They are content to go about their usual activities until their owners return.

Cats are low maintenance, civilized companions. People who have small living quarters or less time for pet care should appreciate these characteristics of cats. However, many people who have plenty of space and time still opt to have a cat because they love the cat personality. In many ways, cats are the ideal housepet.


Not so good:
In a democracy all citizens are allowed to participate.
Coming along:
Democratic rule requires participation, therefore, everyone should vote.
Right on:
Low voter turnout is undermining our democracy, therefore, we must encourage greater participation through voter information.

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