Huckleberry Finn was Re: arty games

Otter Perry ottertee at
Thu Feb 13 09:22:48 EST 2003

In a message dated 2/12/2003 12:10:07 PM Pacific Standard Time, Otter
Perry writes:

    Well, shoot.  It can't be as bad as the racism in _Huckleberry Finn_,
    another work touted as the GAN.  I have to admit I can't remember
Gatsby --
    it's been forty years or so since I read it.  It's also been that long
    since I read Huck Finn, and I remember _that_ with a _lot_ of distaste.

My feeling about _Huckleberry Finn_ is that it is ABOUT racism, not
imbued with
racism. For instance, there isn't anything *stupid* about Jim at all,
he's simply illiterate and uneducated. I don't think most of us realize
limiting it would be to have absolutely no experience outside day-to-day
as a slave. Certainly Twain makes fun of him, but he rips into everyone
too (notably Tom Sawyer, who comes off as an utter idiot in this book).

Now, if you think Twain actually *meant no censure* in scenes such as
the famous 
"Goodness! Was anybody hurt?" -- "No'm. Killed a nigger." -- "Well,
that's lucky, 
because sometimes people do get hurt" scene, then I can see that you
would think 
it racist. But I don't read it that way at all.

Helen Schinske

Well, it _has_ been forty years since I read it and I was in high school.
Lots of books have changed a _lot_ since I read them last, if you see what
I mean.  [I still remember how much _Gone with the Wind_ changed between
the first time I read it in seventh grade and the next time I read it as
a sophomore in college.]

Mostly I think the problem is that I have never liked Twain much 
[except for the essay on James Fenimore Cooper, which still makes me
 laugh out loud].  I was infuriated by the stuff at the end where Tom 
Sawyer is just playing around with Jim and Huck goes along, and not
much amused by the rest of it.

So, forty years after the fact, I don't even _remember_ the passage you
refer to, so you may justly conclude that I don't know what I'm 
talking about
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