Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

One hundred and fifty years ago, people who considered themselves moral, upstanding Americans suffered no cognitive dissonance in the ownership of other human beings. Today the concept of slavery seems ludicrous around these parts, but it took a while to get there. In the masterful novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain colourfully depicts the absurd situation as it was at the time.

One of my favourite lines that captured the sentiment of the period was this one:

"It warn’t the grounding—that didn’t keep us back but a little. We also blew out a cylinder head.”

“Good gracious! anybody hurt?”

“No’m. Killed a nigger.”

“Well, it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt."

I highly recommend the book to all. You learn some history, get to think about how a society can live in such contradiction of its own principles (and ours is likely no different; we will likely be judged by those who come after us!), and enjoy a few laughs in the process.


juan said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Saj. Will reread both Tom Sawyer and this one.

by32768 said...

Never apply today's morals to history, if you do that all generations will be guilty. We may feel very righteous today, but in 1000 years, people (and robots) will rightly see us as the savage that we're today.