Sunday, May 8, 2011

Book 14-The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I have just finished Book 14- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was a fast read and an engaging story. After reading so many 800+ page novels this short childrens story practically flew by. I enjoyed the book for the adventure but didn't find anything of too great substance in it. I suppose that makes sense given the inscription at the front of the book. "Person's attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banaished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot" !!!

I didn't realize before I read the book, that I didn't know anything about it. I had assumed since I recognized the name and knew of parts of Tom Sawyer that the story would seem familiar but it wasn't. I loved the adventure where Huckleberry Finn floats down the river with a slave that has escaped from the family that took him in. It seemed like such a great adventure.

I was particularly excited about the whole story because two summers ago I drove by Mark Twain's boyhood home in Missouri and also took a steam boat tour on the Mississippi river. I could picture the river as it was described in the book. I also loved that it was written in a variety of dialects because my favorite part of being in St. Louis was listening to the accents from the south. I think that Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) did a fabulous job with writing out the dialect. I could here the talk in my head.

The beginning of the book describes Tom Sawyer and his gang of pirates that he starts up. He sees things that arent' there and tells the boys that they can't see them because of an enchantment and referes to Don Quixote when he mentions this. I am beginning to discover the more I read off of this list that they are truly a part of culture, as this isn't the first book that has mentioned another of the ones I have read.

(photo of the muddy mississippi)

I found a few good quotes in the book including these:

Speaking of the widow's (who took him in) God:

"I thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to the widows, if He wanted, though I couldn't make out how He was a-going to be any better off than what He was before, seeing I was so ignorant and so kind of low down and ornery"

There were two fantastic quotes about having a conscience that I loved:

"whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense and just goes for him anyway" This was tlaking about someone else doing wrong and Huck feeling bad just by watching it.

"It takes up more room than all the rest of a person's insides and yet ain't no good, no how"

The book has a lot to say about Slavery but it says it mostly subtely through Huck's actions in defending Jim and fighting for him. Jim is shown to be a stellar guy as well by how he looks after Huck. It is still appalling to think that people are bought and sold even today (in other parts of the world but also in Canada and the US through the sex trade which is often referred to as modern day slavery).

Jim said this quote of himself which I liked:

"I owns myself, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars"

The last thing I have noticed about the last two books is they have had a lot to say about war. I guess I have been thinking about it a bit lately what with Osama Bin Laden's death so they have perhaps stood out more.

Here is quote from Huckleberry Finn that rang true for me:

"The pitifulest thing out is a mob. That's what an army is-a mob. They don't fight with courage that born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass"

There was a good one in Anna Karenina as well that I will quote now. I didn't in the last review because I thought I was rambling on a bit too long!

"He cold not agree because, he in common with the people, did not know and could not know wherin lay the general welfare, though he knew beyond a doubt that this welfare could only be achieved by strict observance of that law of right and wrong which has been revealed to every man, and therefore he could not wish for war or advocate for war for any public advantage.

I am on to Book 15 which is Tom Jones. I leave for the UK in a little over a month and really want to be reading the next novel which is Great Expectations while there so I will try to motor through this one, at a steady clip. Watch my blog for the update and also for my day to day blog from the road. Although my blog is a book blog, it is also a travel blog as well.

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