Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (5).

Mark Twain. 1884. Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1982.

Why read it? A vivid re-creation of the time of slavery in the U.S. A moral dilemma for Huck who, in helping Jim, the escaped slave, is violating the law.


Huck: “I couldn’t tell nothing about voices in a fog, for nothing don’t look natural nor sound natural in a fog.” p. 705.

Huck: “I set perfectly still, then, listening to my heart thump…..” p. 705.

Jim to Huck: “When I got all wore out wid work, en wid de callin’ for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’t k’yer no mo’ what become er me en de raf’…. When I wakes up en fine you back agin’, all safe en soun’, de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss’ you’ foot I’s so thankful; en all you wuz thinkin’ ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie.” p. 709.

Huck: “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to [Jim]—but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither…didn’t do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way.” p. 709.

Huck: “…behind a monstrous long raft that was as long going by as a procession.” p. 710.

Huck: “Jim said it made him feel all over trembly and feverish to be so close to freedom.” p. 710.

Huck: “I begun to get through my head that he was most free—and who was to blame for it? …me…couldn’t get that out of my conscience….” p. 711.

Huck: “…conscience up and says, every time, ‘But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could a paddled ashore and told somebody.” p. 711.

“Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself…was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free state he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them.” p. 711.

Huck: “Here was [Jim] which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children—children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm…sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of him.” p. 712.

Comment: You can’t get any more ironic than that last statement. RayS.

To be continued.

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