A whatberry?

26 Feb

I confess that I didn’t know what a huckleberry was.  Did you?

Christina's photo of real Michigan blueberries

Christina’s photo of real Michigan blueberries

I had to do some research.  It turns out that a huckleberry is a blueberry.

Blueberry!  I know blueberries.  Here in Michigan we grow beautiful ones.  They’re huge (some as big as nickels), and juicy, and delicious, and… Can you tell I’m ready for the u-pick season to start?

Now, back to our book.  Why is our main character named Huckleberry?  I took a peek at The Annotated Huckleberry Finn to see if I could find out why.  Not native to Missouri, Twain learned about huckleberries while visiting Connecticut.

They are a new beverage to me… They are excellent.  I had always thought a huckleberry was something like a turnip.  On the contrary, they are no larger than buckshot.  They are better than buckshot, though, and more digestible.”  (from “Morality and Huckleberries” San Francisco Alta California, Sept. 6, 1868)

Again I ask, “Why bestow the fruit’s name on the boy?”  The Annotated HF says, “The word indicated something small and of little consequence.”

oh.  That’s a little sad.  I suppose Huck’s parents wouldn’t have lovingly poured over baby name books when selecting a moniker for their newborn.

That’s alright, Huck.  I like your name, and I like the fruit for which you were named.
I like it so much that I think I will pull out a package of frozen huckleberries and bake something more digestible than buckshot.


Posted by on February 26, 2013 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


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5 responses to “A whatberry?

  1. Jeannette

    February 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I think we should all post our favorite “huckleberry” dessert/recipe in the comments. Inspiration and all. 🙂

  2. Patty Sessions

    February 27, 2013 at 1:45 am

    I did not know that! I had a vague idea it was like a small boysenberry. Thank you!!

  3. Jeannette

    February 27, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Any form of blueberry muffin warm out of the oven with butter for breakfast.

  4. Alex in Leeds

    February 27, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Aw, poor Huck. Could have been worse though, puritans would have skipped the symbolism and just gone straight to Insignificant Finn which might have been a very different book.


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