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Sharon McCoy <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 9 Aug 2006 08:29:34 -0400
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Camy, don't be silly.  I know that many folks on this forum are professors,
but by no means all of them, and by no means do we have any monopoly on
insight or information.  Twain himself had little formal schooling--and look
how much we all still learn from him.   A good heart and an inquiring mind,
that's what is needed in life.

I know of only one passage where Huck's mom is explicitly mentioned.  In
Chapter 5, when Huck finds pap in his room, pap taunts him about reading,
"Your mother couldn't read, and she couldn't write, nuther, before she died.
None of the family couldn't, before they died."

And she's apparently been dead for quite awhile, because in all of his
despair or terror, Huck never mentions her at all.  Nor do the boys,
earlier, when Huck's "family" is brought up by the young would-be robbers.
Ben Rogers says, "Here's Huck Fin, he hain't got no family--what you going
to do 'bout him?"  Tom Sawyer answers, "Well, hain't he got a father?"  (Ch.
2).  Nothing is said about his mother.

As far as I recall, Huck's mother is never mentioned again in any of the
Huck/Tom/Jim narratives, not even when women like Polly, Sally or the widow
Douglas try to mother him or when he falls hard for Mary Jane Wilks.  If
Huck remembered his mother at all, you'd think that there would be some
comparison or mention.

As for Pap, he clearly consorts with gamblers and drunks, and is a vagabond
and habitual petty thief (never leave a chicken roostin' comfortable--you
never knew when company might want to share it, though pap never shares,
according to Huck).  Fish-belly white, superstitious, with "uncommon long,"
lank black hair, and you could probably smell him coming a block away,
between the booze and the hogs.  Gone for over a year, with no one to care,
and from a class that guaranteed no white people much cared about his
abandoned son, either, until he helped save one of the "quality."

I was listening to the fine recording by Norman Dietz on a recent trip.
That's all that remains fresh in my mind.  Hope this helps at all, Hal.

Sharon McCoy