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Fri, 29 Mar 2002 13:17:55 -0500
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N.B.:  I am posting this on behalf of Stephen Stewart in response to the
Mark Twain Forum book review of February 16, 2002.  Because of server
message length restrictons, the response will be transmitted in two
parts. -- K.B.

Part I

Re:Mark Twain and Stephen Stewart. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Collaboration;
The Sequel to: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New Mill Publishing, 2001.
Pp. 296. $26.95. ISBN 0-971-13350-6.
The review of Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer Collaboration has many defects. A few
examples of the defects will illustrate them.

1) FROM THE BOOK: "I couldn’t make out why he wanted her dead, nor how he
could seem to be so thankful for it. As for me, I hoped she wasn’t and I
hoped we would find her, yet, and get her and Flaxy from the Injuns alive
and well, too, and I warn’t going to let myself be discouraged out of that
thought, either. We started for the Injun camp; and when Tom was on ahead a
piece, I up and asked Brace if he actually hoped Peggy was dead; and if he
did, why he did. He explained it to me, and then it was all clear."

1) FROM THE REVIEW: "Twain’s Huck is baffled for several chapters by Brace
Johnson’s sincere hope that his kidnapped fiancee, Peggy, is dead. Huck has
no notions of a fate worse than death, and his innocence calls into question
a racist and sexist society’s views on female chastity and value."

Early in the novel Huck wonders with Peggy why she is to kill herself if
captured by Indians because Brace never made it clear to her. Later Huck is
not "baffled for several chapters" over Brace Johnson’s sincere hope?-just a
single paragraph. The reviewer ignores, a love associated, sincere attempt
to limit agony, torture, and most often, ultimately death. The reviewer
ushers in new fiction when he writes "baffled for several chapters." This is
real trouble because the reviewer is supposed to be reviewing what is in the

2)FROM THE BOOK: Page 171 and 172, "We was standing around then, me and Tom,
and Jim had come back, when Tom catches his breath, and says:

"What happen to the bowl that was sitting on this rock?"

"You mean that orzo?—I ate it." I says.

"You what?—That warn’t orzo,—it was maggots I’d collected to trade with the

Jim up and heaved about everything he’d stowed ‘twixt his anal-sphincter to
his uvula— when he heard that—then we see he didn’t chew very well, where he
hove all the aliment he had inside him; Jim decamped unhinged, a-spitting
and a-retching, launching and lurching, disgorging and a-exercising his
vomiter all the way to its dry paradise; then run off to the stream for some
water. A bit after that Jim come back, sour faced, cleaning his teeth with a
stick and still spitting ‘bout as much as he could. So me and Tom poligized
to Jim and said nobody ever ate no maggots, and showed where I throwed the
bowl with the maggots in it, and it was there yet, cause I never wanted to
eat out of no bowl that ever had maggots in it. Jim said it warn’t the
maggots that emptied him, it was some smell that come a wafting by. (He’d
met the gag-n-retch stunner, you know?)

2)FROM THE REVIEW: "Tom and Huck nearly trick Jim into eating a bowl of
maggots that he thinks is actually a bowl of orzo."

This explanation appears to be reviewer bias. Clearly, from the example
above, there is never any attempt to trick Jim into eating a bowl of maggots
by Tom and Huck. But the opposite does exist elsewhere in the book. Chapter
24 page 207, Jim and Tom deceive Huck, by putting a large rock in Huck’s
backpack, and then snigger while Huck lugs the rock around unaware. Chapter
30 page 282, Jim reports deceiving Tom and Huck, cleverly keeping
information from them that he first learned in chapter 21 page 182, while
Huck and Tom were away smoking. The fairness depicted in the novel is
ignored, then nonsense is fallaciously introduced into the review.

3)FROM THE BOOK: "Every time they argued over the voodoo stuff there was a
different remembering of the instructions exposed, and it seemed we had
about a hundred sets of instructions by now; and only Tom knowed what was in
any of them, or everything about them, and sometimes Tom would allow there
was one more article he remembered which Jim had forgot.

3)FROM THE REVIEW: "a full set of user’s instructions in English for Tom
Sawyer to read out."

The reviewer seems to feel he knows what no one else but Tom Sawyer could
possibly ever know in the novel, and it is made clear that no one else but
Tom Sawyer could ever know in the novel because "there was a different
remembering of the instructions exposed" to suit Tom’s purposes. Then it is
a complete surmise when he revels to us in the review that the "instructions
are in English." This is flabbergasting news! How does the reviewer know
what no one else could possibly know but Tom Sawyer as it says in the
novel?—and further more what difference could it possibly make to a person
like Jim that can’t read, which is made clear in the novel, and the
important point being made as well, because when someone can’t read they
will believe almost anything; the more superstitious a person is the farther
you can mislead them, and if perchance Allah said it, look out! i.e.
9/11/01, the exact situation that is being portrayed in the novel. The
reviewer would do well to leave the instructions that can only be remembered
by Tom in the competent hands of Tom Sawyer and to "let miracles alone, and
if he should venture a miracle, plausibly set it fourth, so as to make it
look possible and reasonable,"— as Twain advised.

4)FROM THE BOOK: "Na Tom, I’s told you I hain’t gwyne eny wars nea dem
Injuns, en I’s hain’t, en dats sho; so wy’s you go en tell dem such a ting?"

"You don’t have to go anywheres Jim," says Tom, "the Injuns will come here,
no problem."

No prob’m? Tom, I’s swea yo gwyne ta be da dath of ole Jim, en I’s stood by
yous all da time, wif all da crazy tings yo’v been do’en, you jes neba gib
me a ress, I’s jes don know wat ta do wif da likes ob you, ya go’s en gets
yo’saf shot en de leg, when ya know da hol time, I’s free enayway."

4)FROM THE REVIEW: "Perhaps the most annoying feature of Stewart’s book is
his misuse of familiar and beloved characters. For example, Huck’s
"surrogate father," Jim, has a minor part in the sequel, but the fully
human, caring runaway slave of Huck’s raft has been replaced by the ignorant
darky of Huckleberry Finn’s problematic ending. Jim, whom Huck seems to
forget altogether for weeks at a time, is here reduced to the stereotypical
pre-raft and post-raft "niger": He is no more human than the slave on whom
Huck and Tom play their tricks in the beginning of Huckleberry Finn or than
the captured "runaway," who must spend long days locked in a smokehouse
while Tom plays out his elaborate–and completely unnecessary–plan for Jim’s

Jim, in his familiar scrambled vernacular [ebonics], plainly tells Tom in
the sequel that some of Tom’s elaborate schemes are not acceptable to him,
but the reviewer fails to consider Jim’s growth. The reviewers use of the
"n" word is without merit, the collaborator never uses it. In the reviewers
description "Jim whom Huck seems to forget altogether for weeks at a time"
is never removed from the action at all. Jim is actually depicted as more
fatherly than ever before. Which is expressed in his actions of letting the
boys grow in their own ways without interferences. The depiction of Jim’s
more grown up manner is clear, but the reviewer fails to recognize or
consider grown up behavior, which is resultant of Jim being free. The
reviewer wants a running slave raft Jim, so distracted he misses Cairo, and
apparently can’t be reasoned out of it,—he cares nothing for the growth of
the characters depicted. Jim also has a giant secret that is keeping him
quiet, as it would anybody who was superstitious in Jim’s position, but the
reviewer thinks Jim is gone, while Jim is portrayed as being a freed man
able to talk back when Tom is preparing another of his elaborate schemes.
Jim is cautious and prudent and a grown up in this novel. Jim is smart and
free in this book while retaining his superstitious character and there isn’
t any use in denying it.

5)FROM THE BOOK: Chapter 23 page 195, "Injun named Wovodka."

Chapter 23 page 201 and 202, "and told the Injuns if they wanted the buffalo
to stay; and to honor their dead, so their ghost wouldn’t come around
a-haunting them all the time; they had to dance like Jim and lead a good
life and stop fighting then they would all live with the Great Spirit; and
Tom called the dance Jim was doing, the ‘Ghost Dance.’"

Chapter 24 page 212, "We bought Jim all new clothes at the commissary cause
the ones he was wearing was about worthless, and one of the Injuns that had
been a-following us; named Kicking Beer grabbed up Jim’s old clothes where
he threw them."

Chapter 30 page 278 and 279, "what a shame it was the Injuns had
misunderstood somehow in Brace’s translation and got off on the wrong track
"Ghost Dancing" which was really the Fladougeling Hungabunga, cause they
thought that was a-going to bring back the buffalos and anzesters and
everything; instead of "dancing to the settlers ways," and becoming part of
society as Tom had intended for them to understand things, in his seance,
like PJ’s had said, and how sad it was when Wavodka and the Injuns come
along when we was traveling on the wagons and we couldn’t make ourselves
understood to them and straighten them out on them things cause none of us
could speak their language; a huge misunderstanding, that was!"

5)FROM THE REVIEW: "The ghostly "dance" Tom teaches the Sioux at rendezvous
seems well-intentioned, a device to draw the endangered Plains tribes
together, but like so many white programs for "bettering" the people of the
plains, it has, outside the novel, disastrous results. Tom Sawyer seems to
have all the answers, but Tom Sawyer never saw the photographs from Wounded
Knee, the corpses in their "magical"–and supposedly bulletproof–Ghost Dance
shirts....Tom Sawyer turns up like Little Big Man at a pivotal moment in
Native American history to trick the Plains Indians into following a
religion that history tells us would end in disillusionment and slaughter.
It is a sweeping irony, unimaginably greater in scope than a freed slave
locked in a smokehouse, yet it passes without comment from the characters or
the author, and Tom Sawyer’s seminar, which explains his motive for
inventing the dance, does not at all seem intended ironically. Is this
irony, then, a Stewart blunder? Or a stroke of real, chilling genius? The
reader may choose.

{Continued in Part II)