Lesson Title: The Adventures Begin: Chapters 7-8 of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Art Gallery Course and Grade: American Literature, 11th Generalization: The main idea here is to follow the plot of the chapters and get ideas for the Art/Text assignment. Learning Targets: Facts: Comprehend how Huck escapes, why he does what he does, and what the town believes about it afterwards; why Jim ran away, how these story-lines intersect, why that is important for the plot, that Huck has faked his death so no one will follow, that he wants to be free and independent of adults in his life who tell him what to do, that though people initially suspected Pap had killed Huck, now Jim is suspected of the murder since he ran away the same night as Huck’s ‘death’ occurred, Jim ran away because he suspected Miss Watson was going to sell him down the river, the Widow Douglas tried to talk Miss Watson out of selling Jim, Jim wants to escape and has a plan to escape, he escaped by hitching a ride on part of a raft (that was occupied with white men) in the dark but when a man in the middle of the raft approached where Jim was with a lantern he had to jump off and swim for shore, Jim makes Huck promise not to tell before he reveals to Huck that he ran away, Huck promises not to tell anyone Jim has run off even though Huck thinks it was wrong of Jim to do this, Jim first thinks Huck is a ghost, Jim and Huck are both superstitious, people did search the river for Huck’s body (using superstitious means: quicksilver in bread), they almost kill Huck by shooting the cannon near to him, Jim knows he is worth $800 and believes he’ll be rich someday (he owns himself, now); Twain may have rewritten that line (possibly someone else did) for a serial publication of portions of the novel in a magazine, and changed it to reflect Jim’s belief that cattle are unreliable, that he wished he had the money and someone else had responsibility for the ‘n*****r,’ saying he doesn’t believe in himself, the river rises and a house (two-story) floats by. Skills: making inferences, comprehending text. Materials: Lesson plan, copies of their books, pencils and pens, paper, SmartBoard, examples of Art and Text (Jessica’s scene of Huck and Jim on raft, the visual metaphor about racism that I made with an explanation relating it to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) projected on to the SmartBoard, several burlap bags with corn meal, rocks inside them, one marked sugar, another coffee, a handle-less ‘handsaw’ (cardboard and aluminum foil, or painted silver then made to look rusty), string, an ‘ax,’ a fake pig, a skillet, a coffeepot, etc, copies of the hand out about the serial publication of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, copies of the articles “Only a N*gger” by Twain and “Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy” by Twain. Anticipatory Set: Have students recall what they can of the Crime Scene activities; ask how it fit with their own plans and conclusions. Context and Purpose: “Today we’re reviewing and discussing Chapters 7-8, because I want to make sure you were all able to follow and understand the most important key events in the plot’s development. These two chapters are crucial because this is where the adventures of Huck and Jim really begin, and you all need to understand why they are both running away and why the plot forces them together.” Instruction: Re-read the section in which Huck describes his escape while a student mimes the actions Huck went through. Then discuss: Discussion Questions for Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn When Pap wakes up and then wakes up Huck, who’s still holding that gun, and asks Huck what he’s doing with that gun, what does Huck say to Pap about why he was holding that gun? Huck tells Pap he heard someone prowling around outside and trying to get in, and that he tried to wake up Pap but couldn’t. When Pap tells Huck that if he ever hears a man prowling around outside again he should wake up Pap so that Pap can shoot the man, what idea does this give Huck? Huck decides to fake a burglary and murder (of himself) to escape from Pap. Why does Huck fake his death? So no one will think to follow him; he wants to be free and start over. Who does Huck wish was there, and why? (33) Tom Sawyer, because he loves adventures like this and is good at them and could throw in fancy touches. What efforts do the townspeople go to in order to find Huck’s dead body? (37-38) They search the river (by putting quicksilver into loaves of bread and floating them on the water’s surface, superstitiously believing that the loaves would gravitate towards his body and float directly over the spot where his body was, as well as by shooting off a cannon to dislodge his body and bring it up to the surface). What is ironic about their trying to find Huck with the loaves of bread with quicksilver in them? (37) One of the loaves of bread does find Huck, and he eats it (after removing the plug filled with quicksilver). What is ironic—as Huck comments on—about their shooting off the cannon to find his dead body? (38) They almost kill him with a cannonball and would have found the dead body for which they were looking. When Huck finds the still-smoking ashes of a small campfire, how does he react, and why? (39) He becomes extremely nervous, and he hides, because he doesn’t know who’s on the island and whether or not he’s dangerous. When Huck sees the other person on the island with him is Jim, how does Huck feel, and why? (41) Huck feels relieved that it’s someone he knows, someone not dangerous, and someone he feels he can trust. When Huck emerges from the nearby bushes on Jackson’s Island and says hello to Jim, what does Jim apparently first assume Huck is, and why? (41) Jim at first seems to think Huck is a ghost, since the last anyone had heard, Huck had been murdered; Jim is allegedly superstitious, and also Jim might again be playing the role of the superstitious slave. Huck tells Jim about how he faked his death and came to Jackson’s Island. Huck then asks Jim how he came to be on the island. What does Jim make Huck do before he tells him about how he ran off? (43) Promise not to tell. How does Huck initially react when Jim does tell him he ran away? (43) He is shocked and disappointed in Jim; he thinks Jim has done the wrong thing. Why did Jim run away? (43) He had heard Miss Watson talking about selling him. What was Widow Douglas’s reaction to Miss Watson saying she was thinking about selling Jim? (43) The Widow Douglas tried to talk her Miss Watson out of selling Jim. How did Jim escape? (43-44) Jim escaped by hitching a ride on part of a raft (that was occupied with white men) in the dark but when a man in the middle of the raft approached where Jim was with a lantern he had to jump off and swim for shore. Why was Jim so confident that the widow and Miss Watson wouldn’t miss him for a long time? (43-44) Jim knows that they go to a camp-meeting right after breakfast and would be gone all day, and that Jim goes off with the cattle at daybreak, so they wouldn’t expect to see him around the place and would not miss him until after dark, and the other slaves wouldn’t miss him because as soon as the widow and her sister left they would ‘take holiday.’ When Jim recounts how he once had fourteen dollars, but lost it through bad investments (where other blacks basically conned him and took his money), is Twain portraying Jim as stupid, or is Jim just making all this up and portraying himself to Huck as stupid? (46-47) Answers will vary. Why is Jim now ‘rich,’ as he explains to Huck? (47) He now owns himself, and he’s worth $800, so he’s rich. Look again at the line where Jim says he is now rich because he owns himself and he’s worth $800. Read the hand out on Twain’s possibly having rewritten that line for serial publication in a magazine. Discuss: In this re-interpretation of that scene, what is Jim basically saying about himself, or blacks? That he/they can’t be trusted; he is/they are unreliable. Is Twain, if indeed he did this re-write himself, portraying Jim as stupid, or is this again an example of what some have argued is Jim’s playing dumb because that’s the role he was expected to play? Answers will vary. Is this re-interpretation of this section racist? Answers will vary. Why will Huck and Jim probably go down the river together; why must they travel together from the point of view of the characters and of the author? Jim needs Huck because Huck, as a white boy, can go into town alone during the day without arousing suspicion, which Jim could not; also, the two could travel together and pretend that Huck owns Jim. Huck is useful to Jim. Only Jim knows that Huck is alive and Huck might want to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t betray his secret, which he might if he were re-captured, since he is suspected of having murdered Huck, for which he would be killed. From Twain’s perspective, the two must travel together because the whole point of the book is how Huck overcomes his society’s racist teachings by spending time with Jim and coming to see him as a human being. Huck must struggle and decide to reject his society’s teachings that racism and slavery are okay, and choose to help Jim escape, which is ‘the wrong thing.’ Why does Huck—who doesn’t want adult interference—stick with Jim? Because Jim is an adult whom Huck can exert power over; he can control Jim. Huck can’t control his father or any other adult, but Jim is an adult whom he can trust because Huck will always have the most power and control in their relationship. Closure: Look at gallery of text and art projects for further inspiration. HW: Read Twain’s articles on lynching and racism for next time.
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