RARA-AVIS: re: _Huck Finn_, the ending

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 19 Jun 2007

I agree with Mario about the ending of _Huck Finn_ being a great falling-off from the freedom and equality of the River chapters. But maybe Twain hoped readers would see that they _should_ be disappointed, and think about why. Huck does betray Jim back into slavery and leaves him there. And then, without Jim, he "lights out for the territory" to be free from the officiousness and smugness of Tom (who will probably vote for McKinley, Willow, when he gets old enough).

I taught this book to a high school class many years ago, and felt horrible for one Black girl who refused to read aloud a passage with the n-word. Then I remembered how much I hated the treatment of the Jew in Hemingway, Eliot, and Fitzgerald. Of course that did not stop me from loving those writers' works, but I was an English major. I told my students what I just wrote above about the book and its ending. But I never discovered how to make the kids listen, or their parents for that matter. And now, if I may, we have had another spate of very understandable automatic response to Don Imus. It's both understandable and sad at the same time. Personally I dislike Imus and Sharpton equally.

No one said more about America than Mark Twain, unless it be Don DeLillo, Sinclair Lewis, or Raymond Chandler.

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