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As expressed through Mark Twain’s characters in his novel Huck Finn, what does it mean to be an American? 


Select three characters from the novel and demonstrate how their lives typify the historical reality of the antebellum South (1812-1861).  Explain three facts from research for support with one quotation for each factual example.  Also, use one quotation from the novel for each character.  So a total of six quotations using MLA citation.  Use at least one of the library databases for research.    


Essay Tips:


- In your intro, include:  title of the book (underlined or italics) and author; a statement about the essential question, the three characters and a brief overview of the factual examples from research.


- Do NOT use “I think/believe” except in the conclusion


- Topic sentence for each paragraph (not “Huck helped Jim to freedom,” but rather, “Huck helping Jim to freedom was Twain’s way of saying that Americans appreciate and have a desire to help those who are oppressed.”)


- Punctuate and cite quotes correctly with Twain and page # (extra quote marks for direct dialogue) for novel quotes.  Use parenthetical MLA citation for research with a separate citation page along with using citation within your essay after the research quotes.

An example from a student’s essay (you can not plagiarize the following):


One example of the economics of historical context of Jim’s character is when Mrs. Loftus tells Huck about the reward for the escaped slave.  “’So there’s a reward out for him—three hundred dollars.  And there’s a reward out for old Finn, too—two hundred dollars… it’s worth the trouble to give the place (Jackson Island) a hunt’” (Twain, 55-57).  Jim’s life was worth more than a white man’s like Pap because of the work he produced, therefore, his reward would be more.  “The average slave owner spent perhaps $30 to $35 a year to support an adult slave; some expended as little as half that… a slaveowner took about 60 percent of the annual wealth produced by a slave’s labor” (Davidson, 247-8).  It was worth it for anyone to help look for escaped slaves, and it was also dangerous to be caught harboring one. 


Example Citation Page: 


Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Bantam, 1981.


Delay, Brian, Christine L. Heyrman, Mark Lytle, and Michael Stoff. "The Class Structure of the White South." US: A Narrative History, Volume 1: To 1877. By James W. Davidson: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008. 247-48.


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