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Exploratory Questions





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1. Why did the accurate representation of dialect play such an important role in regional realism? How did these writers’ innovations in the creation of realistic-sounding dialogue affect later American literature?

Many regionalist writers became accomplished at transcribing the authentic rhythms and idioms of local dialect in their efforts to make their characters' dialogue mimic the way people really talked. Literalized, phonetic spellings forced readers to pronounce words as speakers of a regional dialect would pronounce them. The video for Unit 8 focuses on three influential practitioners of regional realism in the South: Mark Twain, Charles W. Chesnutt, and Kate Chopin. Twain used realism and regional dialect in his masterpiece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, to challenge readers to come to new conclusions about the role of race and class in America. His complex portrait of race relations in the 1840s continues to inspire controversy. Charles W. Chesnutt adopted the regional realist style to explore the contradictions of life on the "color line" between black and white society and to challenge racial stereotypes. Kate Chopin depicted the exotic culture of Creole and Cajun Louisiana, offering a controversial exploration of the constraints placed on women's individuality and sexuality in the process. All of these writers were committed to providing realistic representations of their local cultures and to constructing complicated, believable characters who faced complex moral dilemmas about the nature of their American identities.

2. What made Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Chopin’s The Awakening such controversial novels, both in their own time and in ours? How did their representations of southern culture unsettle assumptions and cause discomfort in their readers? How does their work continue to challenge readers?

Not only is this book, one of the most controversial novels of all time, but it is true American ideals and flaws. First, the use of satire throughout the book gives different parts of action irony. Satire is a literary work in which vices, follies, stupidities, abuses, etc. are held up to ridicule and contempt. Twain uses satire through the story to poke fun at the society in which he grew up. Satire is useful because it makes the readers truly think about what Twain has said, and at the same time, the irony of it is based on truth and can be used to force the readers to think about society today. Last, Mark Twain's personal beliefs and struggles are shown throughout the book. True authors use aspects of their own self-characters to create great works that readers admire. Throughout his life, he struggled with moral issues, religion, and he fought against the formation that his society had made him into. Religion was a major aspect of life that Twain expresses in his text. Greatness is defined as much above the ordinary or average, expert, skillful, excellent, splendid, and fine. All of these words cannot truly describe the book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. As "great" as the book is, no other piece of literature is or will be more American than this novel. Twain was like a puppet master, using his characters to not only entertain, but to get a message across. He was a master of literature, because it still lives on. People enjoy it, it is discussed, good or bad, and it still influences our modern world. The book is alive as ever and will continue to be. Its characters and events will continue to thrive. Teachers continue to hand students this book and make them write essays about the characters, the satire, and whatnot. There is no proper way to dissect this novel, and there is no bottom to the hole that readers and critics create as they delve into the meaning of the book. The fact that the book is still living, after Twain's death over 100 years ago, speaks for itself.

3. Ernest Hemingway claimed that all subsequent American literature derived from Huckleberry Finn. What did Hemingway mean by this claim? Why did he see Twain’s novel as so foundational to American identity and to American literary traditions?

All modern American literature," according to Ernest Hemingway, "comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. I believe this and I think the subversion in the novel is established when Mark Twain begins to question the acceptable morality of society. Twain uses humor and effective writing to make Huckleberry Finn a subversive novel about society in the 19th century. In fact, throughout the novel Twain makes violence a humorous issue and does not act upon it as a serious issue. This goes with the whole theme of the novel that there is no moral. This goes with the whole theme of the novel that there is no moral. The way Huck has been raised, he has no clue that what Tom's gang wants to do is ludacrist, and should be totally unacceptable. Twain uses this conversation also to show the beginning of questioning throughout the novel. Mark Twain clearly has written a subversive novel in Huckleberry Finn. In the society that Huck and Jim lived in blacks were inferior to the whites, but that is not the way Twain portrays them in this novel. The fact that killing people is humorous is another way that Twain shows subversion in the novel. He is trying to prove that sometimes what is accepted is not always the correct way. This causes Twain's novel to be portrayed as a very subversive novel. After all, Mark Twain has put together a very interesting and entertaining, but subversive novel named Huckleb.

 

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