February 18 is a day to celebrate, because it was on February 18, 1885, that
There are those who see
But Huck Finn is elementally American. Its robust colloquial voice has our distinctive accent and tone, a virtual declaration of independence from the formal English of Hawthorne, Wharton, and James.
Its hero embodies our characteristic rebelliousness, our impatience with authority and convention, our disinclination to be "sivilized" against our will.
And, importantly, it has race, the issue that will not go away: slavery, the protection of which was the fatal flaw in the Constitution, the underlying issue in the complex of tensions and animosities that brought on the Civil War, and the source of the legacy of racism that troubles us to this day.
Twain grew up in racist society, and he pictures it accurately. He pictures Huck's casual racism accurately, and he shows how Huck, by his association with Jim, comes to reject the racist culture that is his heritage, and to think independently. It is a novel of liberation, another classic American theme.