RARA-AVIS: Public Acclain & "Masterpeices"/Huck Finn & Plots

From: Keith Alan Deutsch ( keithdeutsch@earthlink.net)
Date: 29 Apr 2000

Dear Bob,

I think Huckleberry Finn is an example of a number of classic plot motifs:

---the buddy novel/movie (and one of the most important buddy relationships culturally in any popular American entertainment)

---the escape novel/movie (and one of the more important escapes culturally in any popular entertainment, obviously because of the slavery issue)

---the chase novel/movie, which I believe Mack Sennett and later Charlie Chaplin cited as one of only three or four basic plots (Chaplin's favorite, of course, was boy meets girl.)

I agree wholeheartedly that the disruptive section with Tom Sawyer is a debacle. And it undermines the seriousness of the quest for giving Jim his freedom. But certainly the whole novel ends with one of the most memorable resolutions in American fiction---Huck's decision to follow his version of the American dream and head out for the territories to find/invent his own kind of freedom.

Bob Toomey wrote:

> Picaresque [Huckleberry Finn] is, maybe the best ever written by an American, but
> plotted it is not....and is at its absolute worst in the end when Twain makes a stab
> at plotting by bringing an insufferable Tom Sawyer in from left field to
> resolve matters....
> Here's Twain's own NOTICE up front:
> "PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be
> prosecuted; persons
> attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to
> find a plot in it will be shot. "

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