Huck Finn Defends Mr. Mark Twain
You don't know about me and Mr. Mark Twain without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which was made eggactly a hundred years ago. Folks kicked up a fuss then and they is doing it now but that ain't no count other than sales is booming. Besides, that book would make a cow laugh, if I do say so myself.
Mr. Mark Twain was aborned 150 years ago and died 75 years back, but he wouldn't take to all this anniversary flap-doodle. Fact is, he once called such truck "flagstones and joyrides," or maybe it 'twas "joy-flags and milestones." No matter, he didn't put stock in 'em and said the one who invented 'em should be killed, or worse.
I dis-remember all of the particulars, but that book was about me and Tom Sawyer, The King and The Duke, and Jim, Miss Watson's n........; I heard the "n-word" has gone way out of style so I won't use it. And it being all through that book he wrote on me is one reason, I judge, folks been tearing into Mr. Twain, but he meant no harm. That was the word lots of folks used when the book was made. And if that were the worst white folks done to black folks back then, call them that name, well, blacks they would have been most grateful, I reckon. And Mr. Twain, despite some stretchers, he wanted to tell the truth, mainly.
Now, intellecturals say Mr. Twain packed stacks and stacks of "ironing" in his books. I guess I'll agree, not knowing half the words they trot out. What he was up to, they say, was showing how funny it was that nice-as-pie civilized people like Miss Watson that got religion enough for the whole state of Missouri, could'v kept Jim a slave and consider selling him down the river, which made him run off away from his family and I don't know what all. And Jim being as good and noble as any white people in that book and better than most, and him only a slave. And don't I know it, 'cause he was always sittin' my watch on the raft so's I could sleep. And didn't he risk his freedom to nurse Tom Sawyer when he got shot. I could name a hundred more times in the book, like at the end, but I guess I won't give that part away 'case you ain't got that far yet.
What concerns some today is that ironing Mr. Twain spread around, pretty thick, too, in spots; when you don't grab what he's up to, that's where the wrinkles come in. But I do agree about one thing, that book of his'n is racist — by that I mean human race-ist. You see, Mr. Twain was the most down on the human race of any writer I know'd, though I don't know two many.
It hain't hard to see why. All thru Huck Finn, and life, too, folks is mighty ornery to one another. Take The King and The Duke, which weren't nothin' but rapscallions: they was low and mean to Jim and me, though I was as white as they was. So here's a king and a duke pressing down on white and black alike, and some would call that an "allergy," or such like littery truck.
Now back to ironing, see what you think of this part. I was just arrived at Phelps' place and they took me for Tom Sawyer, thought I weren't. I tells them that the steamboat bust a cylinder-head, which was a lie, which is what generally comes out when my mouth swings open. Then Aunt Sally asks, "Good gracious! Anybody hurt?" And I says, "No'm. Killed a [black man]. And she says, "Well;, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."
Now what does you think Mr. Mark Twain was aiming at there? Was he trying to show something? I'll bet he was, because seeing it now makes me ashamed I said what I said. If that had'a been Jim what was killed, I would have been as sorry as I ever was in the whole book. Writers don't make people better'n Jim, and what Aunt Sally said was wrong, two, even though in most other ways she was kind and good. And some high tone folks says Jim was a "cymbal," but I'm all done calling him names.
No, I reckon, Mr. Twain didn't make a perfect book, not by a long shot. But I done give a dead rat what some say; of all the ones I looked over, that book was the one with the most sand. I'll wager that somewhere or other, up or down, I ain't sure which place, Mr. Mark Twain is sittin' back, smoking' a seegar, watching folks make it warm for Huck Finn, and happy as a man on a celery.
Time comes when everyone agrees on his writing, why he'd probably wish he was back on earth, lest ways long enough to rip off another corker of a book that would stir things up for another sentry. Just for the adventure of it, I judge.