Historical Context in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Transition from Romanticism to Realism: Having been published after the American Civil War, The Adventure’s of Huckleberry Finn reflects the influence of both romanticism—which focuses on human emotion and an appreciation of nature, among other things—and regionalism. Though romanticism had been the dominant literary force during much of the 19th century, it gave way to regionalism, a style that roots itself in a particular place and its traditions and dialect. Eventually, regionalism would serve as a bridge between romanticism and realism.
American Slavery: Although written after abolition, The Adventure’s of Huckleberry Finn is set while slavery is still legal in the United States, sometime in the 1830s/1840s. Because slaves were considered property of their owners, to aid one to freedom, as Huck does for Jim, was, according to social customs, a morally reprehensible goal that constituted theft.
Historical Context Examples in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
"It was 'lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I warn't too drunk to get there; but when they told me there was a state in this country where they'd let that nigger vote, I drawed out...." See in text (Chapter VI)
"made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
"but after this always do whichever come handiest at the time..." See in text (Chapter XVI)
"the sword fight in Richard III. and the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet..." See in text (Chapter XX)