Huckleberry "Huck" Finn is a boy about fourteen. He has been brought up by his father, the town drunk, and has a hard time fitting into society. Huck has been placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her sister, Miss Watson, are attempting to civilize him. The story is set in fictional St. Petersburg, Missouri, on the shore of the Mississippi River.
Commonly named among the Great American Novels, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by local color regionalism. The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River. Satirizing the Southern antebellum society, the work is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. It was criticized because of its coarse language and became even more controversial because of its perceived use of racial stereotypes and because of its frequent use of the racial slur "nigger", despite strong arguments that the protagonist, and the tenor of the book, is anti-racist.