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Huckleberry Finn Trial   Tags: huckleberry finn, mr. hare, mrs. hare  

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Library Catalog

Click on 'Chandramohan Library' via the link to access the Library Catalog.


Critical analyses of Huckleberry Finn in our library

R809.9 MOS  Literature and its Times, v. 2, pp 15-21 (This title is also an eBook, and can be accessed via the Gale databases.

R810.9 SCR  American Writers Classics

813.4 BLO  Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

813.4 CLE  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: American Cosmic Vision

813.4 TWA  Understanding Adventures of Huckleberry Finn



The Assignment

English 2 – Fall 2013                                                                                                                                              NAME:


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mock Trial


To teach or not to teach? The question remains: Is Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a necessary text? Does reading this novel help or harm current race relations and racial identity in the United States? To answer these questions, you will be staging a mock trial that puts the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Mark Twain as author in the role of defendant. You will have this Thursday and Friday to begin gathering ideas, then Monday and Tuesday of next week to finalize research and presentations for the trial’s start on Monday, November 19th. In addition to the enactment of the trial, each student will be required to hand in a written document that will be considered an essay – you will be graded on both your performance as well as your writing, so take each step of this process seriously, please! But have fun, this should be an engaging way to explore the text.


The Case: the people vs. Mark Twain and his  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been accused of injurious harm. The people will try the author & his text to determine whether he/it should be removed from the curriculum.


The Roles:

The class will be divided into two teams: Defense and Prosecution…


                                The Defense                                                                                         The Prosecution

                the author & his Adventures of Huckleberry Finn                                  the 10th grade students at Prep

                head lawyer and assistant lawyer                                                         head lawyer and assistant lawyer

                witnesses – up to four                                                                            witnesses – up to four


As well as a small jury…five to ten students (depending upon class size)


The judge/ bailiff/ court clerk (will be played by Mr. or Mrs. Hare)


The Expectation(s):

1)       Each team must first come up with a list of witnesses it will use to promote the team’s cause. Think: characters from the text, scholars on AOHF (look at essays in the back of the book, go online to our library research resources: JSTOR, Proquest, etc.), civil rights leaders, modern day citizens/ celebrities, etc. Once the list is finalized, each team must present the other team with their list of witnesses.

2)       Students must then choose the role each will play in the trial: lawyer, witness, main defendant, main prosecution, jury member.

3)       Witnesses: once assigned to your role, you must research your position in the case, discovering what evidence will be needed to promote the needed cause. After you have gathered your evidence, it’s time to talk to your lawyers!

4)       Lawyers: you need to craft a number of pointed questions for both your own witnesses as well as your opponent’s witnesses. You also need to coach your witnesses on how to properly answer the questions you are posing. This latter part can be completed together, with the help of the information your witnesses’ have gathered.

5)       Jury: since you are not attached to a team, you will be researching your own opinion on the trial during our preparation days. Before the trial begins, you will be responsible for crafting at least a one-page, 1.5 spaced, textually supported and typed document that states your present stance on the trial: Yes, Twain’s text should be taught in schools or No, Twain’s text should not be taught in schools. You will hand this document in at the start of the trial on Wednesday or Thursday 10/23, 10/24. (I know this is against all real-life jury procedure, but I want to see if your mind gets changed by the information presented during the trial).

The Document(s):

All documents must be typed, 1.5 spaced, carefully proofread, textually supported, properly cited per: MLA format, and include a Works Cited entry!

1)       Lawyers: You must hand in your pre-crafted questions. I don’t expect you to hand in the questions you “cooked up” on the fly during the trial. You must also hand in your thoughtfully crafted opening and closing statements. I expect each statement to take careful consideration of the information provided in the text (opening) as well as in the trial (closing). Questions and opening statements due: Wednesday or Thursday (10/23, 10/24) . Closing statements (revised with trial information considered) due: Friday, October 25.

2)       Witnesses: You must craft a personal statement that discusses your stance on the charge. For example, “I am Mark Twain, the author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and my novel should be kept in classrooms because…” or “I am the 10th grade student body at Prep and Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be taught in schools because…” In addition to the personal statement, you must hand in your pointed responses to the pre-crafted questions the lawyers posed to you during the trial. Due: Wednesday or Thursday (10/23, 10/24).

3)       Jury: In addition to the document mentioned above, you must hand in a post-trial verdict. This document needs to describe your position on the case after hearing all witnesses and statements. Did your opinion change – why or why not? Please provide specific examples from the trial discussing your now present opinion on the text. I assume this response will be shorter than the first, so I am looking for about 3/4ths of a page to one page here. Obviously, this document will be due: Friday, October 25th.



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