Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain is commonly accounted as one of the first Great American Novels. It was also one of the first major American novels ever written using Local Color Realism or the vernacular, or common speech, being told in the first person by the eponymous Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, best friend of Tom Sawyer (hero of three other Mark Twain books). The book was first published in 1884.
The book is noted for its innocent young protagonist, its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River, and its sober and often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism, of the time. The drifting journey of Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature.
The book has been popular with young readers since its publication, and taken as a sequel to the comparatively innocuous The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which had no particular social message), it has also been the continued object of study by serious literary critics. Although the Southern society it satirized was already a quarter-century in the past by the time of publication, the book immediately became controversial, and has remained so to this day (see "Controversy" below).