Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

1st edition book cover

Author(s) Mark Twain
Illustrator E. W. Kemble
Cover artist Taylor
Country United Kingdom / United States
Language English
Series 27
Genre(s) Satirical novel
Publisher Chatto & Windus / Charles L. Webster And Company.
Publication date

1884 UK & Canada 1885[1] United States

Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 366
OCLC Number 29489461
Preceded by Life on the Mississippi
Followed by A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court


In order of appearance:

  • Huckleberry Finn, a boy about thirteen or fourteen. He has been brought up by his father, the town drunk, and has a hard time fitting into society.
  • Widow Douglas is the kind old lady who has taken him in after he and Tom come across the money. She tries her best to civilize Huck, believing it is her Christian duty.
  • The widow’s sister, a tough old spinster called Miss Watson, also lives with them. She is pretty hard on Huck, causing him to resent her a good deal. Samuel Clemens may have drawn inspiration for her from several people he knew in his life. [4]
  • Jim, the widow's big, mild-mannered slave to whom Huck becomes very close in the novel.
  • Huck’s friend, Tom Sawyer, the main character of other Twain novels and the leader of the town boys in adventures, is “the best fighter and the smartest kid in town” [4]
  • Huck’s father, "Pap" Finn, is the town drunk. He is often angry at Huck and resents him getting any kind of education.
  • Mrs. Judith Loftus seemingly plays a small part in the novel - being the kind and perceptive woman whom Huck talks to in order to find out about the search for Jim- but many critics believe her to be the best female character in the novel.[4]
  • The Grangerfords, the prominent family of Col. Grangerford, take Huck in until most of them are killed in a feudal skirmish with another family.
  • After the Grangerfords, Huck and Jim take aboard two con artists who call themselves the Duke and the King.
  • Joanna, Mary Jane and Susan are the three young women whose wealthy uncle and caretaker recently died.
  • When Huck goes after Jim, he meets Tom's Aunt Sally and Uncle Silas Phelps. She is a loving but high strung lady, and he a plodding old man.

Many other characters play important but minimal roles in the many episodes that make up the novel. They include slaves owned by the various families they meet, supporting townspeople, rafts-men, a doctor and a steamboat captain.


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