Lee Smith has spoken often of Mark Twain's influence on her fiction, especially the influence of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Her novel The Last Girls (2002) is a direct tribute to Twain's, as it fictionalizes Smith's real-life adventures down the Mississippi River on a raft with the "Huckleberry Girls." However, despite the obvious nods to Twain in this later novel, Smith's Fair and Tender Ladies (1988) has the stronger intertextual connections to Huckleberry Finn. The protagonist Ivy Rowe by Smith's own admission was intended to be "a female Huck Finn." The protagonists of both novels are storytellers on a quest, searching for guidance and a place where they belong, and they both head out for the "territory" even if on a very different terrain. This article explores the many echoes of Twain's novel in Fair and Tender Ladies and Smith's gender transformation of the Huck Finn Tradition.
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