Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Glen Newkirk


In a “Notice” to the first edition of his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain warned: “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; Persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; Persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot” (Twain xxv). Critics have generally paid little attention to these cautionary remarks. In the one hundred and three years since its publication, Twain's novel has enjoyed major critical acclaim. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has also been the subject of considerable critical debate.

The purpose of this investigation will be t examine this critical controversy and offer an analysis based on that which is observable and verifiable in the text. Modern behavioral psychology will assist in this analysis. Before describing specific methodology, a brief but representative critical review appears to be in order.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1988 Robert J. Golonka.

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