By Anthony S. Policastro When you read FINN by Jon Clinch, you are immediately taken back to the 19th century where the story begins about the detestable life of Pap Finn, the father of Huckleberry Finn from Mark Twain’s THE ADVENTURES OFFINN HUCKLEBERRY FINN. FINN is a sequel to Huckleberry Finn concentrating on the life of Huck’s father and his misdeeds. The writing is formal and the slang mimics the language used at that time so much so that you sometimes don’t know what they are talking about. Clinch, a professor of American literature, breathed life into some of the characters from the original story – the widow Douglas, Judge Thatcher and even weaves the $6,000 in gold Huck found in the cave. The thrust of this book, however, is the character Finn, a laid back drunkard, who shuns authority and all its trappings including his respectable father, Judge Thatcher and his often spineless brother, Will, who cannot stand up to the Judge. But what comes across most powerfully in this story is the raw brutality of life, the cruelty to others, the subsistent poverty and the entrenched disregard and racism towards blacks. The characters treat blacks in the story no differently than you would a bug found in your house and don’t even flinch when they sometimes swat the life out of these innocents for a wrong word or an indifferent look. The brutality is so intense in some of the scenes that I cringed reading it. However, Clinch says in his note at the end of the book that these characteristics were, “…all drawn whole from Twain’s novel and followed here to their likely ends.” FINN is the dark version of Huckleberry Finn portraying the brutality and cruelty of life in the 19th century and perhaps Clinch was trying to awaken us to the horrors and senselessness of blatant racism.
Causes Anthony Policastro Supports
Duke Children's Hospital Urban Promise National MS Society