June 26, 2012
It changed my life. A book. Actually several books did this. So I may be fickle. But Mark Twain’s story of a boy named Huckleberry Finn who came to grips with the racism inside his soul was for me, an epiphany. Because when he said to himself that he would rather go to hell than turn Jim over to the authorities, Huck expected to go to hell. There was for Huck a standard of morality higher than the God he’d come to understand. And he would stand by it.
Here is Hal Holbrook doing a one man show on Mark Twain
I’ve read a good deal of Mark Twain. And enjoyed them. I think Tom Sawyer is one of the great boy stories. In a lot of Twain’s stories there is a great deal of humor. And beneath it, bitterness. Perhaps he had too keen a sense of human nature.
Perhaps it is asking too much. But I would have liked to have read another book of the quality and depth of Huck Finn. It is no longer taught in our high schools in Ontario. Many African-Canadians find the frequent use of the ‘n’ word insulting. Demeaning. (In Twain’s time the ‘n’ word was used all the time. By very respectable people. By church people.) I won’t argue against that sentiment. If it was my children that were black, I might feel the same. But it is a shame.