- Reread chapter 1, focusing on the passage that begins with "Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid," through "You do that when you've lost a horseshoe..." (10-12).
- Identify all the places where religion is referenced, either through belief, ritual, or any other practice. Make a list of the number of times and ways you see religion mentioned.
- Write an analysis in your Reader's Journal.
- What beliefs about religion does Miss Watson try to impart to Huck?
- How is Huck's perception different than Miss Watson's intended message? How do you know?
- How is Huck's perception different than the general definition (and purpose) of religion?
- What is the effect of Miss Watson's religious instruction, in terms of Huck's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors? How is this effect ironic?
- Challenge: How does the mention of the household help ("By and by they fetched the niggers in") add to the irony?
- Challenge: How do Huck's encounter with the spider and his reaction—along with his comments about his other superstitions—have elements of exaggeration, slapstick, and irony?
- Reread the excerpt of Pap's rant, or return to page 35 in the novel to study that excerpt and the larger context where it appears.
- What is he so angry about? List everything that makes him so mad.
- Identify the ways that racism manifests in Pap's speech. If racism is a belief that race determines abilities and superiority, how is Pap racist? How does he show his prejudice?
- From what you already know about Pap's character, what is ironic about Pap's complaints?
- Pap speaks at length and in hyperbole—a form of exaggeration. How does the exaggeration make his arguments less effective and more ridiculous?
- Challenge: Which aspect receives repeated attention and obsession from Pap, and thus becomes humorous? (Hint: think garb.) How does that make the whole notion of racist beliefs silly?
If you are ready to conduct an in-depth analysis through writing, skip to dialectical journaling.