Monday, May 16, 2011

Friending Huck: Making Mark Twain's Novel Universally Accessible

Photo by Jiaren Lau | Flickr

I have valued friends that don't read. That's what they tell me. They are digitally literate: they have deep social network available at a twitch of their fingers on their mobile phones and computers, they can find any information they need at the click of a button, but they "don't read" least not literature.

That's why I want to create an online platform that makes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and the discussion surrounding it available and interesting to people who "don't read". Literature professors always encourage us to understand the discussion surrounding a work before we add our own voices to that discussion and I want to create a platform for the average person to have all that information at their fingertips in one place, not having to understand how library research works and the scholarly terms thrown around in critical articles in order to be able to read and participate in a meaningful conversation about the novel. I also hope this to be an excellent resource for those teaching about the novel in public and homeschool environments.

Ideas for how I will accomplish this: 
  • Understand the Academic conversation surrounding Huck Finn (in order to include on site)
    • Research/read the critical discussion surrounding Huck Finn
    • Summarize the academic criticism in an understandable and more accessible way (with links/ references to the actual articles/ books)
    • Search for American Literature conferences that may be coming up or have just occurred that include lectures on Huck Finn
    • Search OER for syllabi about current courses including Huck Finn
    • Find teacher’s lesson ideas about Huck Finn (how are people teaching this?)
  • Research online informal discussion surrounding Huck Finn (in order to include on site)
    • Search blogs for discussion about Huck Finn
    • Search Goodreads and other social reading sites for discussion about Huck Finn
    • Look for online forums about Huck Finn
    • Find nonacademic reviews of Huck Finn
    • Find fan fiction sites where this novel had been remixed and added to
  • To include on site:
    • Remix the plot of Huck Finn so it appeals to people now.
    • Create a hypertext format of one chapter of the book that links to footnotes or other sites about things in the book.
    • Research and include history of the time period that is relevant to a reading of the novel
    • Research author and include his history
    • Create a google map of Huck and Jim's journey to make the adventure more visual. (Also known as a lit trip)
    • Huck talks about food a lot. Find recipes for food he talks about/ pictures and include a section about this
    • Find and reference movie adaptations of the novel
  • Other ideas:
    • Start a goodreads “discussion” about issues in the book
    • Do an “issues” study to possibly include as a section on the site
    • Research the audience reception of the novel and include this as a section
    • Look for Twain’s own commentary on this work
    • Do a comparative study of Twain’s other works or Huck Finn within the context of the larger literature context of the time
    • Link to Spark notes sites about the book
I know I can't possibly do all of these in the next five weeks, but I'm excited to start with these ideas in mind and expand on as many of them as I can. I think it would be amazing to have an entire wiki type literature site with this kind of information on as many works as possible. I'd love feedback on my ideas and what you would want to see on a site like this.

1 comment:

  1. I like your abundance of ideas; you have lots of great ones. I think anything will be wonderful as long as you make the site interactive and fun. People who don't want to read literature don't want to read a bunch of text on a computer screen either, and I know you're aware of this. I really look forward to seeing what you do with these ideas.