A Tuesday Sampling of Twain

05 November 2013

I finished Huckleberry Finn almost a week ago, but I didn't put a review for it up on Goodreads or Literary Lane, so somehow it doesn't feel official. I'm still debating over whether I will review it or not, because each time I try to write something sensible and coherent, I fall into quoting different sections until the post gets ridiculously long. Today I want to share some of my favorite parts from Huck Finn. I've been studying physics for several hours, and my brain is swimming with translational equilibrium, tension, torque, and every other alliterative form of torment that Newton didn't know he was forcing upon poor students almost three hundred years after his death. I could use something a bit more lighthearted, and I thought you might enjoy it as well. These quotes capture everything I loved best about Huck Finn: the protagonist's moral conflict between society's standards and what he knows to be true; Huck and Jim's unlikely friendship on the raft; and Twain's biting satire, which brings both humor and conviction to his unforgettable story.

read and enjoy

I couldn't bear to think about it; and yet, somehow, I couldn't think about nothing else.” 

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?” 

We catched fish, and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed, only a kind of low chuckle. We had mighty good weather, as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all, that night, nor the next, nor the next.” 

Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” 

Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was—and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to force out compliments; and the people all knowed everything was tiptop, and said so—said 'How do you get biscuits to brown so nice?' and 'Where, for the land's sake, did you get these amaz'n pickles?' and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just the way people always does at a supper, you know.” 

I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.” 

There was some that they called crayons, which one of the daughters which was dead made her own self when she was only fifteen years old. They was different from any pictures I ever see before; blacker, mostly, than is common. . . . These was all nice pictures, I reckon, but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because if ever I was down a little, they always give me the fan-tods. Everybody was sorry she died . . . but I reckoned, that with her disposition, she was having a better time in the graveyard.

You can't pray a lie — I found that out.”

What do dey stan' for? I's gwyne to tell you. When I got all wore out wid de work, en wid de callin' for you, en went to sleep, my heart wuz mos' broke bekase you wuz los', en I didn' k'yer no mo' what become er me en de raf'. En when I wake up en fine you back agin', all safe en soun', de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss' yo' foot I's so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin' 'bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren's en makes 'em ashamed.”

...It would ’a’ been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others.” 

All kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.”

If you tell the truth you do not need a good memory!”

“Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.”
(author's personal notice)
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