I found the disconnect in the ending of the novel troublesome until a student pointed out the symmetry of the two "shacks." The first shack was occupied by Huck, imprisoned by his father, his life threatened. He was locked in and had to escape in a way the romantic Tom would approve. The second was occupied by Jim. He was given care; he was "safe"; he was more imprisoned because of having the mindset of a slave than by the shack itself. Tom had to make his escape more exciting. The two shacks seem almost like Alice's rabbit holes, the adventures between the two take on almost a fantastic characteristic when seen this way.
From: Mark Twain Forum [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Andrew Dickson [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: The ending of Huckleberry Finn
New reader of Twain here.
Immediately after Huck gets to the cabin, it does seem that Twain lets
comic relief take over. Immediately before, the novel deals with a
colossal amount of dread, and it's sudden change of pace does throw you
off. Additionally, most of the ending plot is driven by Sawyer's mischief,
and really draws out what could have been an easy escape, as Huck put it.
Most of the novel feels very profound and filled with freedom and life, but
the ending chapters seem to exist in an entirely separate realm. They keep
the light-heartedness and humor of the book, but none of it's transcendent
purpose. There's no urgency. Hemingway advises the reader to stop after
Huck gets to the cabin, and this is very hard to do on trust alone, for the
book is so compelling, but after reading the ending chapters, you
understand what he was talking about.
It does seem to make more sense that the book is named *Adventures of Huck
Finn*, for it seems as if the adventures themselves were cut short. If Jim
hadn't been sold by the King and the Duke, they likely would've continued
down the river. Thoughts?