Today’s class began with a presentation of The Pink Panther in its various adaptations over the years. Matt and Steven showed a video of the main theme song from the 1963 adaptation, which is one of the catchiest songs known to man. This story was based upon the story of Sir Charles Lytton and his attempt to steal the Pink Panther diamond. There have been many films based upon this story, some successful and some unsuccessful, but all in all, this is a timeless franchise. The film’s propriety is somewhat debatable, but is ultimately up to the parent’s discretion. We still aren’t sure whether or not the movie was nominated for a Golden Globe award or a Golden Glove award…
Before we began our discussion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Professor Soudabeh cleared up some confusion regarding our book presentations, to take place the last two days of class. After a feeling of general panic, everyone got a grip on the assignment and we now understand that each individual will pick a topic from eLC, choose a children’s book covering it, and give a 3-4 minute presentation over it. Some students chose their topics and let Professor Soudabeh know, but there will be a sign up sheet in class on April 4th. Books are available at the main library and at the children’s literature collection in Aderhold Hall.
Next, we truly began our discussion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. For this class, we were to have read through page 79, or chapter 17. Everyone in the class broke off into pairs to discuss one chapter of the novel, summarize its events, and choose the most important event in the chapter. My partner Lindsey and I were assigned chapter 14, and we discussed what Jim and Huck were up to in this chapter, including stealing from the shipwreck. Lindsey and I felt that the most important thing that happened in this chapter had to do with character development rather than plot development. Huck and Jim sit on the bank and discuss whether or not the French speak English. While Huck thinks that they do speak English, and Jim is convinced that the French do not speak English. The fact that the two characters are having this discussion creates a situation in which readers can see the two different viewpoints they have of the world.
Each group presented their chapter, and through this we were able to discuss many different topics. Some of the most notable questions/discussions are as follows:
- What is the purpose of the gang in terms of identity?
- Do the children feel that they are adults because they are a part of the gang?
- Are readers afraid of what the children will do?
- What is the significance of Huck’s relationship with his father?
- Huck vs. Jim
- Is Huck’s fortune a positive or negative thing in his life?
- What is the role of foreshadowing?
- How does Huck change through this river adventure?
- What is the role of the robbers in the shipwreck scene?
Through discussion of each of these questions, many students in the class were able to share their thoughts. Many of my classmates feel that identity and the struggle to find one’s identity is a large part of Huck’s adventure in the novel. His father, however, is something that holds him back in this endeavor. Despite this, it isn’t clear whether or not his caretakers, Widow Douglass and Miss Watson, are really individuals who are encouraging him to create his own identity. Additionally, we discussed the ways that Huck is already changing in this adventure. For example, he can see the importance of attempting to save the robbers despite their bad behaviors, thinking to himself that Miss Watson and Widow Douglass would be proud of him for doing so.
Seeing that a few of the students in the class have already read this novel, it is interesting to see how their impressions of the characters and the plot has changed through a second reading at a different stage in their lives. I’m sure that the class would agree that this reading is a little different from their reading in high school. Having already read this book, I am interested to see how the rest of the class reacts to the rest of this novel! I know that the discussions will be very enlightening.