12 March 2012
Capturing the American Landscape
“…and the wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me”, confesses Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s novel The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (7). Throughout these two pieces, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” Bret Harte and Mark Twain use nature to show the effects it has on the characters in their stories. A reason on why nature had such an impact on people of this time was the lack of technology. People in the 1800’s didn’t have the technology that is available today so relying on nature played a huge role. People of this time period were very philosophical and always pondering about things out of the box, using journals and diaries to keep their thoughts. This was a new thing for people of the 1800’s. American Literature describes this area of regionalism and naturalism as a reconstruction of time, stating that people who could not leave the troubles and move away read works like this to escape. It was the next best thing (623). Although most people enjoyed reading them for escapism, some thought Huck Finn was vulgar and immoral. Some libraries even banned it (624). According to Suzanne Bilyeu, the Library Committee in Concord, Massachusetts was appalled by Twain’s bad use of grammar and rough language (New York Times- Upfront). Though people had a rough time accepting this “reconstruction” of time, Harte and Twain described what people were really feeling about this time. In their pieces, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”, Mark Twain and Bret Harte both reflect the understanding of being different and how the need to escape from society feels. The main characters in these two pieces are not “normal” in the eyes of their peers. In Huckleberry Finn, Twain uses the same structure and wording on how Huckleberry is an outcast...
Cited: “Regionalism and Naturalism 1870-1910: Capturing the American Landscape. McDougal Littell,
2008. 618-629. Print.
Bilyeu, Suzanne. "Mark Twain 's Bad Boy." New York Times Upfront (Vol. 142, No. 10). 01 Mar
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Web. 11 Mar.2012<http://web.ebscohost.com/src/detail?vid=7&hid=127&sid=b330c28f-bcd046648cda2a3fca26200a%40sessionmgr15&bdata=JnNpdGU9c3JjLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=mih&AN=9008013132>.
Harte, Bret “The Outcasts of Poker Flat.” American Literature. Ed. Janet Allen, et al. Dallas:
McDougal Littell, 2008. 674-684. Print.
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York City: New American Library, 1959.
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