This questions your knowledge of the concepts and material related to Frances Harper’s poems “The Deliverance” and “A Double Standard,” and Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. You should also draw on ideas, imagery, and information from Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” and Alcott’s Work to answer the questions. Be sure to indicate the sources you use clearly, citing and documenting them; that’s part of the questions.
Q1) In “The Deliverance,” which passages in the poem depict changes in Chloe’s feelings toward the people who have enslaved her? What lines show Chloe’s relationships to “Mistis” and “Master Thomas,” and what are some specific phrases in “The Deliverance” that represent turning points in those relationships? (Hint: it’s important to read through the poem, as a whole — don’t just refer to the first few stanzas. Harper puts some important turning points in the middle and toward the end of “The Deliverance.”)
Q2) When Jim says to Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, “Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ’em ashamed,” what incident provokes this speech? Explain in five or more sentences why it is a turning point in the novel. What is a comparable turning point — a moment of realization or change of heart — in Work: A Story of Experience? (There are many possible answers to this part; feel free to share parallels you’ve noticed, moments of growth for the main characters, in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Work.)
Q3) In Chapter 31 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, why does Huck feel unable to pray, and what is the decision that causes him to say, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”? In scenes such as this one, and the camp meeting in Chapter 20, what are the criticisms Mark Twain makes of organized religion as a source of moral guidance? What sources for moral values does Twain seem to think are more reliable? (Hint: Mark Twain, like Louisa May Alcott, evinces the influence of American Transcendentalism in his novels; you may want to look for some specifically Transcendentalist passages in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.)
Q4) “I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out in the middle of the Mississippi. Then we hung up our signal lantern, and judged that we was free and safe once more. I hadn’t had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens—there ain’t nothing in the world so good when it’s cooked right—and whilst I eat my supper we talked and had a good time. I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”
What qualities or values does Twain associate with Huck and Jim’s raft on the Mississippi? Point to some specific descriptions (throughout Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) that illustrate why Huck is happier on the raft. What are some situations in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that Twain depicts as “cramped up and smothery,” in contrast? Give examples of specific passages that illustrate your interpretation.
Q5) Crime has no sex and yet to-day
I wear the brand of shame;
Whilst he amid the gay and proud
Still bears an honored name.
What is the situation depicted in Harper’s “A Double Standard”? Why is the fictional character narrating the poem “struggling in the depth,” and why is she so bitter? Which character in Work: A Story of Experience has faced an analogous situation?
Q6) Give a specific example of a passage in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in which Huck is an unreliable narrator — that is, a passage, in which Mark Twain, the real author, makes us see or understand something that Huck, the narrator, does not understand. Explain that double perspective in the passage you have chosen.
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