Saturday, September 01, 2001
Well, I finally started reading Huckleberry Finn yesterday, and am a good ways into the book. I found the Forward and Introduction to be quite interesting--it never occurred to me that a literature class could be taught along the lines of controversy. I also took a peek at the back, and found that I think (so far) that the essays on gender and sexuality to be amusing. We'll see if this feeling changes by the end of the book.
On the details of Twain's life, they once again left out two major points:
*: The Paige typesetter that Twain poured money into was as good as the Linotype typesetter, so much so that they offered a stock-for-stock swap. Twain and Paige didn't accept it. I don't know why books neglect this, because it makes Twain out to be less of a fool than he was. *sigh* Source: The Dictionary of Misinformation.
*: Why does no biography talk about the papers Twain had sealed for fifty years? I know I've heard of it, and have read about it in other books, most notably a collection of his short stories. But this book, even though it goes into another possible explanation of "Mark Twain," neglects this fact. Are they just not good enough?
My thoughts on the book itself so far are...well, it sure has progressed fast. Also, I'm kind of confused by the Huck-Dad relationship. The man is abusive and...and...just bad. Why does Huck stay with him? Is it because he embodies the life that Huck really wants, away from the Widow and her "sivilizin'." Also, they use that feared and hated "n" word an awful lot. Even as prepared as I was for it, it kinda shocked me. Still, I'm inclined to think it's simply part of the dialect of the time, but I'm sure that'll come up as we discuss the racism issues of the book.