I’ve never read any Mark Twain before. I can’t believe that!
God bless e-readers. I wasn’t sure about them at first (whilst at the same time knowing I’d end up with one because I love gadgets) but just before I joined this ship, my family gave me one as an early birthday present. Now I can travel with up to 1500 books and not go over my baggage allowance. And – as long as I can get on the internet, I can get a new read even if I’m miles from a bookshop. No more scrabbling around in the cardboard box that passes for a ship’s library. Hooray!
Hooray again for whoever decided that several classics could be downloaded free. That’s how I discovered Mark Twain. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of those books you should read before you die but it never got near enough to the top of my list for me to remember to buy it. Now I’ve got it for nothing and it is brilliant.
There is a dark side to Huck Finn’s story in that it deals with slavery and the n-word litters the book but Twain was an abolitionist and it shows. OK Huck feels guilty for not shopping the runaway slave, Jim, several times but once he works out that he has his own moral compass his conscience eases and he stands by Jim through thick and thin. I love this book so much, I’m going to try to strong-arm my nephew into reading it. It has a strong moral. A moral that appeals to me; be guided by your own conscience and stuff the rules. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or how you speak, you CAN do it your way. So there.
Now, having absorbed all that from a master, how do I translate it into my writing? the novel I’m working on is not even nearly as good as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but I do have a young main character who is struggling with moral questions. Do you think I could get away with throwing in a raft trip? Would anyone notice what I’d done?