Friday, January 15, 2010

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (7)

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.


Col. Sherburn: “The pitifulest thing is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers.” p. 768.

Huck: “I went to sleep, and Jim didn’t call me when it was my turn [to watch]; he often done that.” p. 777.

Huck: “He [Jim] was thinking about his wife and his children…and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white people do for their’n…don’t seem natural, but I reckon it’s so…he was…mighty good…, Jim was.” p. 777.

[Jim recounts how his daughter had scarlet fever, which made her deaf; he beat her because she didn’t do what he told her to do—shut the door, when the door slams shut because of a wind, she never moves; he discovers that she is deaf and he feels terrible about how he had treated her.] p. 777.

King: “…but to-morrow we want all to come—everybody, for he respected everybody, he liked everybody, and so it’s fitten that his funeral orgies sh’d be public.” p. 789.

Huck: “There warn’t no other sound but the scrapin of the feet on the floor, and blowing noses—because people always blows them more at a funeral than they do at other places except church.” p. 801.

Huck: “…and yet here’s a case where I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better, and actuly safer, than a lie…must lay it in my mind, and think it over some time or other, it’s so kind of strange and unregular.” p. 807.

Huck: “Well, I says to myself at last, I’m agoing to chance it; I’ll up and tell the truth this time, though it does seem like setting down on a kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you’ll go to.” p. 807.

Huck: “…it’s because you ain’t one of these leather-face people…don’t want no better book than what your face is.” p. 810.

Huck: “A body might stump his toe, and take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and some numskull up and say, ‘Why he stumped his toe.’ ” p. 813.

To be continued.

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