January 30, 2011

Literary Pick (***)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -Mark Twain

Two years ago I set a goal to read as many classics as possible. I even started a "Classic's Challenge" thread on Goodreads in order to prioritize which classics I wanted to read first. About every four to six months this list of "classics" was revised and edited with items often being removed or added on. But in all these revisions I've never once added anything by Mark Twain, which surprises me, because Mark Twain is obviously a colossal name in literature. In fact, William Faulkner called him the "father of American literature". When I try to understand why I never added Mark Twain to my classics list, although I subconsciously intended to, eventually, all I could come up with is that I didn't feel like reading about little boy adventures and rascalities. Mark Twain has always seemed a bit too wonder-breadish to me. I've always compared him to Walt Whitman, don't ask me why. I enjoyed Walt Whitman, but Whitman has always been white-breadish to me too and I wasn't sure if I was ready for another yeasty dose of that kind of literature. So, you ask, what made me finally add Twain to my list? Well, it was the press Huck Finn received about the inclusion of the "N" word into the new revised copies of the book, and since Tom Sawyer is the precursor to Huck Finn, I felt I had no choice but to read Tom Sawyer first.

My first impression upon reading the first chapter of Tom Sawyer was rather refreshing, especially after having finished reading something very challenging and strenuous.. but just as I expected, halfway through the story of Tom and his Shenanigans, I got a little bored. Little boys wreaking havoc has never appealed to me, and although Mark Twain is a lovely writer, because I do recognize his talents and appreciate his style, it was not sufficient enough to make me love it. However, I can see why Twains composition appeals to mature audiences. It's cheerful and carefree with episodes of warmth. It'll be interesting to see how Twain developed Finns character in his next novel.



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