Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kip and the Classics: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Kip says: I thought this was a children's book, but apparently it's considered important on other levels too. Twain begins with a note that says we should not look for a moral in the book, which is a nice touch: it allows us to just sit back and relax and not think too much, which is how reading used to be, before the academics got hold of it and turned it into a chore and decided that everything was symbolic of penises. It's the story of a young boy who goes on a rafting adventure with a man named Jim, a slave. They call him "N-word Jim," which makes the book controversial and keeps many schools from teaching it these days. There's a movement in society today to get rid of the word altogether but that movement hasn't reached Fort Scott yet. We still teach the book down there and you may occasionally even hear the word on the street corners. Huck and Jim get into all kinds of scrapes and Huck comes to love Jim along the way--and not in any kind of homo-erotic way as some critics like to interpret simply because Huck and Jim are half-naked all the time. Huck begins to realize that slavery is wrong and sets out to free him and at the end there's some sort of revelation that Jim was free all along. It almost seems like there IS a moral to the book, but I prefer to just see it as a bunch of hilarious situations and mistaken identities. At the end Huck "lights out for the territory" because he doesn't want to "sivilized." I can relate, as I too am an untameable country boy who may one day break the chains of academia and buy a horse.

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