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The Linguistic Art Of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay

The most significant feature that I noticed, after the first glance of the novel of? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? ,(Mark Twain ,Penguin Books LTD,1985,ISBN0-14-243717-4), are the words, phrases and sentences structures used by Mark Twain. This is the first book that I have ever read, which all is written by colloquial languages, and sometimes even in misspelling words and dialects. These morphological and grammatical changes did cost extra time to understand, but they are also the most interesting feature caused most of my attention while reading it.

So in this reading response, I would like to analyze the language arts in the novel of ? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?. First, as the adventures carried on, the protagonist Huckleberry met a lot of different people with different back ground. And the writer used many dialects and slangs for those characters to make the descriptions much more real. Take the following part of Jim’s words as example, ‘Yo’ ole father doan’ know, yit, what he’s a-gwyne to do. Sometime she spec he’ll go ‘way, en den agin he spec he’ll stay. De bes’ way is to res’ easy en let de ole man take his own way.

Dey’s two angels hovein’ roun’ ’bout him. One uv’ ’em is white en shiny, en ’tother one is black. De white one gits him to go right, a little while, den de black one sail in en bust it all up. A body can’t tell, yit, which one gwyne to fetch him at de las’. But you is all right. You gwyne to have considable trouble in yo’ life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hirt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well agin. Dey’s two gals flyin’ ’bout you in yo’ life. One uv ’em’s light en ’tother one is dark. One is rich en ’tother is po’.

You’s gwyne to marry de po’ one fust en de rich one by – en – by. You wants to keep ’way fum de water as much as you kin, en don’t run no resk, ’kase it’s down in de bill dat you’s gwyne to git hung. ’(27) As in this part, all over the words of Jim, your, away, best, round, about, them, the other, considerable, flying, poor are all shortened as yo’, ‘way, bes’, roun’, ‘bout, ‘em, ‘tother, considable, flyin’, po’ respectively, and old, yet, going, speak, then, there, get, hurt, girls, first, from, because are all reformed as ole, yit, gwyne, spec, den, dey, git, hirt, gals, fust, fum, ’kase respectively.

These are exact the features of black slangs, which is the most suitable words for Jim. Second, instead of describing a lot of feelings and atmosphere, Mark Twain just using verbs to lead readers into the sceneries. As the following part, ‘Then he turns and goes in.

The crowd looked mighty sober; nobody stirred, and there warn’t no more laughing. Boggs rode off blackguarding Sherburn as loud as he could yell, all down the street; and pretty soon back he comes and stops before the store, still keeping it up. Some men crowded around him and tried to get him to shut up, but he wouldn’t; they told him it would be one o’clock in about fifteen minutes, and so he must go home – he must go right away. ’(154) In the first sentence of this part, writer used simple present tense to place Huckleberry’s behavior in the spotlight, while used simple past tense to describe others to make them as the background of the main character.

This little change in tense made readers feel much more easier to get the real feeling. And as the next example when Huckleberry found out there was someone else was talking on the island with him on his way of escaping, ‘I didn’t wait, but shoved out and paddled away easy. I tied up in the old place, and reckoned I would sleep in the canoe. ’(51) The usage of constant verbs gave the readers a direct experience of being spooked, which is much more real feeling than the description of Huckleberry’s feeling at that time.

Third, there are a lot of informal contractions of grammar to fit for Huckleberry who is a thirteen years old boy without too much education. For example, ‘Well, Judge Thatcher, he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece, all the year round. ’(page9) ‘But Tom Sawyer, he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers. ’(9)

‘The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too. ’(9) These sentences are all in a ‘ Noun + Personal Pronoun’, which is not formally grammatical, but suitable for Huckleberry. Other examples as, ‘She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn’t do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up. ’(9~10) ‘Well, I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it. ’(11) These double negative sentences do not mean an affirmative way, but matchable ungrammatical words for a thirteen year little boy.


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