Huckleberry Finn tells, in his own voice, of the life of his author Mark Twain, a.k.a Samuel Clemens.
Robert Burleigh and Barry Blitt, Atheneum Books, ©2011, 978-0-689-83041-9
A Story with Modern Expression
Huck Finn was written in the language of a back country boy in the 1800’s USA. Ask students to write any story in which they use common 21st century expressions to show how people “really talk”. First brainstorm the possible expressions students could consider: OMG, BFF, having a rush, goofing off, being gross, or lame, or awesome, or sweet, or cool. Something could rock, or suck. Things happen 24/7. There are zits. Things rock or rule.
Then ask students to write a very brief story in that “voice” as in the opening of Huck Finn. Something less that 200 words is fine. The objective is try out the “voice” of the 21st century.
Bad Luck Superstitions
Huck Finn said that Mark Twain’s luck turned bad like after “killing a spider”. Ask students to brainstorm bad luck superstitions they have heard of. They should be able to come up with:
- Step on a crack, break your mother’s back
- Break a mirror – 7 years bad luck
- Walk under a ladder
- Cross the path of a black cat
- A shiver means a goose walked over your grave
- Open an umbrella inside brings bad luck
- If you spill salt, toss it over your left shoulder or you’ll have bad luck
Students might enjoy writing a story about a character who frequently but inadvertently breaks bad luck superstitions and what happens to him or her, if anything.
For 10 creative writing ideas, click The Adventures of Mark Twain to download.