Karl (louderback) wrote,

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Life on the Mississippi

I've spent the evening floating down the Mississippi on an old ramshackle raft in the company of the Duke of Bridgewater, the lost Dauphin, Huck Finn and Nigger Jim.

I haven't read Huck Finn in many years. About thirty years or more, I think. I encountered Tom Sawyer in my early teens, but did not read about Huck and his adventures on the river for another ten or fifteen years at least. The experience of reading such things is often significant in the life of a young boy, boring to a teen, unremarkable to an adult. To me, Tom Sawyer was an incredibly dull work as I stumbled through it trying to learn the language. Later, I came to understand Twain (and the English language) much better. Huck Finn, therefore, is the more significant work in my life.

I lack the desire that seems uniquely an American heritage to adventure on the river and lead the "aw shucks" life among the yokels depicted in the book. But I under stand it. I wish I wanted to do it. The romance of a young boy's adventures in the wide world when the world was a place, well ... hardly less perilous but perhaps less deadly, calls to me.

Having Twain read to me is an odd way to experience, to re-experience, this book. The narrator fits the book well, and in my head his voice has become the voice of Huck.

I'm having a lot of trouble falling asleep tonight. Continuing to listen to Mark Twain will be a pleasant way to spend the time.


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