The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Okay, okay. Yes, I KNOW this took a while. Sheesh. Why don’t you try to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (by Mark Twain) for Banned Books Week, while trying to do all your schoolwork and when you don’t want to take the big old thing to read at school because its Dad’s? Hmm? Yeah, so don’t scold me. Anyway, first things first…

So, I was originally going to just read Huckleberry Finn for Banned Book Week (more on that later…), but luckily, my dad told me I couldn’t without reading Tom Sawyer first. So, here I am. Tom Sawyer is going to drive his Aunt Polly to an early grave with his antics. Skipping school, shirking chores, all manner of mischief…this is no well-mannered, well-behaved boy, no sir. What fence is more famous than the one Tom had to whitewash, but instead tricked the fellow boys into doing for him? Well, Tom may be in a little deep when he and Huckleberry Finn, lurking in a graveyard at midnight (I won’t tell you why) become witness to murder. They know who done it, but they swear they won’t tell, lest the murderer come after them. And Tom can’t help but feel guilty when someone else gets the blame for the crime. But he and Huck swore they wouldn’t tell, and with blood! So Tom tries to forget about it, and occupies himself with regular antics. There’s Becky Thatcher to daydream about, running away to become pirates, and all manner of trouble Tom gets up to. I think I can safely say that I liked this book a bit better than Huckleberry Finn, no offense to him. It might have absorbed me more, I might just have liked the plot better, but I enjoyed it more. But, hey, that’s just me. Now, let’s move on…

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This is what the whole post was leading up to, wasn’t it? Huckleberry Finn is one of the most challenged books in America today, for the frequent use of the notorious “N” word. One case has been taken to a federal appeals court by parents that sued a local high school for the presence of the book on a required reading list. Louisa May Alcott deemed it unsuitable for children. It’s definitely understandable that some people find this offensive, and they don’t have to read it if they don’t want it. But Mr. Twain’s defense was, “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” In other words, just because some people may not like this book, it should not be known as evil or dangerous, and should not be made off-limits to the public. And we have to admit, things were different in those times. Slavery was still legal. African-Americans did not have the rights they do now. It’s sad, but it’s true. I’m not saying the word is at all okay; it’s not. I’m just saying it’s not enough to censor a book. So that’s just my opinion on this matter. Now, onto the actual book!

Huckleberry Finn has a problem on his hands: He’s been adopted, and now people are trying to make him civilized! For a boy that’s run wild his whole life, this is a crisis. And things aren’t exactly peachy when who shows up but his good old dad–the town drunkard. Huck’s life has changed yet again, and now he’s living with a man that’s not what you think when you say “Daddy”. Still, it’s a bit better than being dressed in uncomfortable clothing and going to church and all that. But all the same, Huck’s had enough. So, after much preparation, he’s gone. And he doesn’t plan on coming back. And neither does Miss Watson’s runaway slave, Jim. The two are fast friends, and they’re down the river before you can blink. They get into all sorts of trouble, and all sorts of adventures. Huckleberry Finn is a bit more grown up than Tom Sawyer, so just telling you.

Both books are considered classics, and part of the basis for all American literature. Some love them, some hate them. But I’m glad I read them, and I think they’d be an interesting read for anyone.


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