Today, we started off the class with a presentation by Maggie on the children’s movie Storks. The movie is about storks that used to deliver babies to people who would write the company letters, but the CEO became greedy and wanted to make more profit, so he started to deliver packages. One of the main characters, Tulip, received a letter while working in the mailroom from a little boy who was hoping for a little brother. Tulip started up the baby factory machine again to grant boy his wish of becoming a big brother. Maggie then focused on some of the major themes the movie portrayed such as: family, identity, corporate culture, and mainly, parenthood.
We then shifted focus to begin our discussion of our next class book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain. Professor Soudabeh started off a discussion of Mark Twain and where he came from. He was born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1835 to a rather large family of 7 children. His first job was with a printer. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1884. He got his license for steamboats in 1885, which the symbolism of steamboats played an important role in his writing.
The class had an open discussion on whether we believe that the text of the book should be changed or not. The majority of the class made comments about how they wouldn’t appreciate turning it into an anti-racist book. They feel like it’s one thing to read an offensive word, but it doesn’t force you to say it out loud of use it in everyday life because its still wrong. Leaving the words in the book shows how harsh things were during that time period and it gives us perceptive today on the reality of this harshness.
We worked in groups of two and filled out a character chart, where we described the characters’ traits, their relationships with the main character, Huck, and if they were abusive or helpful to him along the way. After all of the groups filled out the chart, we came back together and had an open discussion about all of the characters thus far in the book.
The first character we discussed was Jim, who was one of Miss. Watson’s household slaves. Jim is described as patient and protective over his family. He understands the reality of what’s going on around him unlike Huck. His relationship towards Huck is definitely a friendly one, which really develops later on in the book. At the beginning of the book, their relationship wasn’t really developed yet. Their relationship develops as they run away together; Huck running away from his abusive father and Jim running away from being a slave, so he isn’t separated from his family.
The next character we discussed was Widow Douglas, who is a wealthy woman who adopted Huck. She is very friendly towards Huck and tends to have a lot of patience with him. She isn’t as strong with her beliefs, as her sister, Miss. Watson is. Widow Douglas and Huck seem to have a pretty good relationship, even though she tends to feel obligated towards taking care of Huck.
Miss. Watson is the wealthy sister to Widow Douglas. Her relationship with Huck is similar to Widow Douglas, where she is tough on him, but her beliefs are more strongly laid out. She is always discussing her beliefs regarding religion and telling him stories.
Next, we discussed Tom, who is Huck’s best friend. Huck and Tom are really close friends, but it’s almost like Huck idolizes Tom in terms of a big brother figure. It was described that Tom is everything that Huck is not. He seems to be the dominating one in their friendship, where his passion for romance novels allows him to easily act in a way of cruelty regarding their so called “gang”.
All of these relationships are affected in a different way because Huck is still a child. Some relationships are affected negatively and others are affected positively. Among these relationships so far in the story, Huck is most comfortable with Tom because of their past together. It is brought up in the story that Huck knows Tom from the novel of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It will be interesting to continue reading and see how these particular characters further develop in this story.