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chad
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Lincoln, Thoreau, Twain, etc.

[ Edited ]

I began reading "Huck Finn" and i was happy that the book club chose to read "Walden for  Twain changes my perception of Thoreas's "Walden." Does anyone think that Walden was written to sway the politics of the 1800's. More specifically, was Walden written expressly to ensure a victory for be Lincoln in the presidential election? More broadly, is Walden a "spritual guide" or mere "propaganda."

 

Chad

 

PS- Many of the writers of this time period give me a different impression of transcendentalism- as mentioned in my previous posts.  

Message Edited by ConnieK on 09-26-2008 01:32 PM
Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-27-2008 11:04 AM
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Between

[ Edited ]
Another passing thought on the "Heart of Darkness": If I believe that Kurtz's beloved is civilization herself(a product of Nature and not entirely separated from Nature, by the way), I, sadly, could not say I  loved her. But Marlow lies-perhaps knowing that civilization is something that man created, despite her shortcomings....
 
But to Huck.... civilizations seem to exist on either side of the river -pulling Huck and Jim in different directions. And, if we look at satellite images of the earth, they actually do look like her "scars" or "marks." To maintain independence, to maintain their individuality and to be free, Huck and Jim almost have to live within earth's great scar or that place "between": the Mississippi. What say you? What is the river exactly?
 
Chad 

Message Edited by chad on 10-22-2008 04:46 PM
Message Edited by chad on 10-22-2008 04:47 PM
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Re: Between


chad wrote:
Another passing thought on the "Heart of Darkness": If I believe that Kurtz's beloved is civilization herself(a product of Nature and not entirely separated from Nature, by the way), I, sadly, could not say I  loved her. But Marlow lies-perhaps knowing that civilization is something that man created, despite her shortcomings....
But to Huck.... civilizations seem to exist on either side of the river -pulling Huck and Jim in different directions. And, if we look at satellite images of the earth, they actually do look like her "scars" or "marks." To maintain independence, to maintain their individuality and to be free, Huck and Jim almost have to live within earth's great scar or that place "between": the Mississippi. What say you? What is the river exactly?
Chad 


Chad--I like your imagery of rivers of the earth appearing as "scars" from above.  It seems like you are reading a lot of classics right now.  Do you enjoy them?

 

~ConnieK

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Re: Between

Chad--I like your imagery of rivers of the earth appearing as "scars" from above.  It seems like you are reading a lot of classics right now.  Do you enjoy them?

 

Connie-

 

Very much so. A scar is a harsh term to use as a river-sorry. But, sometimes I feel, if we think of the earth as a "person" or something "alive"- I'm not sure rivers could be anything else.  

 

Eventually, I'll tie everything in to discussion above, but, for now, remember that our scars and marks  both separate and bind- we almost have to exist within them to survive, to be ourselves. We can extrapolate and say that the presidential assasination of Abraham Lincoln was a literal "scar" or "mark" upon our US history, and, if you feel we are having problems with our country, a look within this scar is still essential to our survival.....I argue that Huck Finn is about Lincoln, Thoreau, among other things.....

 

Chad

 

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Re: Between and Heart

Just to add to, once again, "The Heart"-- If we view Kutz's beloved as "civilization herself", I could not say that I love her, but some people argue that they do. During the age of Imperialism??????? would be the question I would return in favor--remember civilization's atrocities in Africa during this time.... But perhaps we have changed- I hope so.....

 

Chad

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The Cross as an example

[ Edited ]

Huck Finn is also about religion and you might think of the cross as a mark, brand or scar upon humanity. Some people wear the cross in the form of jewelry, or they actually tattoo JC's mark upon themselves, identifying themselves as part of the Christian faith- I think. Wearing the symbol has always been somewhat controversial, and, Twain would probably say that by wearing the cross on your body, you would be somewhat outside that faith, and not within, although it may identify you as part or that faith. To be truly Christian is to be somewhere within that mark or that cross.

 

Hope that make sense....

Chad  

 

PS- It's interesting that the cross, a crude cross, embedded with nails in the bottom of Huck's dad's shoes, confirms the identity of Huck's father, when Huck discovers his dad's footprint in the snow. So Huck's dad is marked, in a way, by the "antithesis" of the Christian cross, but he is so marked and identified by the cross and by the Christian religion itself, or marked as the culprit who nailed JC- Well, someone nailed JC to the cross. Attempts to reform Huck's dad were made by a town centered by religion.

Message Edited by chad on 10-23-2008 08:03 PM
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Re: Between

Chad wrote:  A scar is a harsh term to use as a river-sorry. But, sometimes I feel, if we think of the earth as a "person" or something "alive"- I'm not sure rivers could be anything else. 

 

That is very much the concept of the ancient Greeks, except that instead of people, the earth, rivers, etc. were gods.  

 

The earth was the goddess Gaia.  Each river was its own god; if you read the Iliad you will meet Skamandros, the river-god of the river Skamandros, who rises up in disgust after Achilles dumps too many dead Trojan bodies in him.

 

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Re: Between

[ Edited ]

Thanks Everyman!

 

And that'a a tale from the west you mention. In a tale from the east, "1001 Arabian Nights," a river almost claims Aladdin's life until a genie saves him!

 

Chad

 

PS- Dead bodies are still found in the Mississippi, I think, unfortunately....and rivers are "places between" where people seem to throw themselves when, perhaps, an east-west conflict or some other struggle, might put them on the edge or "over the brink", as they say.

 

 

Message Edited by chad on 10-24-2008 02:39 PM
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between

[ Edited ]

Just to add:

 

Huck Finn is about how divisions in languages and cultures arise from rivers which divide.

 

Chad 

Message Edited by chad on 10-24-2008 04:20 PM
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Re: between


chad wrote:

Just to add:

 

Huck Finn is about how divisions in languages and cultures arise from rivers which divide.

 

Chad 

Message Edited by chad on 10-24-2008 04:20 PM

 

Chad--You have so many interesting ideas about Huck Finn!  Don't forget that the Mississippi River also divided African American families on its waters by sending "down river" members of families into deeper and even more dangerous areas of slavery in the deep South.

 

~ConnieK

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River

Thanks Connie! I agree.

 

The river sent to African Americans to both freedom and slavery.

 

Chad

 

 

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Re: Lincoln, Thoreau, Twain, etc.

I'm actually in the process of reading Walden. Six months ago I had this crazy idea that I would work on Easton Press' 100 greatest classics. A friend of mine is an avid reader so I was able to borrow about ten to knock off the list. I've finally gotten to Walden and I'm only about 1/4 of the way through. I've always been a reader so I don't know why I've never read any of Thoreau's work. As for my response to your comment, I wanted to say that I never really thought about any book of Thoreau's time as possibly being propaganda, especially from him, but it's something to think about. I'm not far enough into the book to even think of it as a spiritual guide either....but just as a side note, when I do think of Thoreau, I think of spirituality and simplicity, so maybe my opinion in that respect might be skewed already.

 

I will keep you posted and let you know what I think afterwards.

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Re: Lincoln, Thoreau, Twain, etc.

This message has been moved to a more appropriate location. This helps to keep our boards organized.

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"A Huckleberry Party"

[ Edited ]

Before I pass my own judgement on what "Walden" is/was (it does not make a difference- there were a great deal of scientific contributions from the book, anyway), I thought I'd read through the whole. Did anyone read Levin's introduction? From his introduction:

 

"Emerson would write in his journal in 1851, even as Thoreau was writing and rewriting "Walden," "Thoreau wants a little ambition in his mixture. Fault of this,instead of being the head of American engineers, he is captain of a huckleberry party." " p.xx

 

In "Huck Finn," Huck is nearly killed by a paddlewheeler in the Mississippi-- the steamboat could not be stopped. In fact, the boat was a monster that would plow or devour anything in its path- modernization would overcome the largest obstacles and the strongest forces of the Mississippi,  but it would need a pilot to find the easiest, most diplomatic course through the politcal river of the 1800's. To what extent did "Walden" assist the progress of the American engineers? How much did Lincoln fit Thoreau's profile of the new or the "model" American? Was there a really a "huckleberry party?" 

 

Chad

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by chad on 10-28-2008 01:45 PM
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Re: "A Huckleberry Party"


chad wrote:

Was there a really a "huckleberry party?" 

 

Chad


From "Civil Disobedience":

 

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the grating of a jail window, "How do ye do?" My neighbors did not thus salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mended. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended shoe, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour—for the horse was soon tackled—was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.

 

As he seems to be describing specific things that happened to him, then I would say that yes, there was a huckleberry party.

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Re: "A Huckleberry Party"

Was there a really a "huckleberry party?

 

I assumed it was his term for a group going out and picking huckleberries.  Every summer in Maine I used to go out with some friends every week or so to a huge wild blueberry patch a few miles down the road and pick blueberries, so I suppose that would be considered a blueberry party??  (Anybody remember the book Blueberries for Sal?)  Sort of the equivalent of  a Quilting Bee with a different objective.  

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Huckleberry

[ Edited ]

Is the word "huckleberry" another word for a "hick?" There are really "huckleberries"- something I did not know. But I had heard the term "huckleberry" had been applied to all kinds of berries that were found in the wild- that is, something not "cultivated." And so, as the word "huckleberry" gradually incorporated more wild berries of North America, its meaning also expanded to mean something "uncivilized", something antagonistic to the state or the government, or something "of Nature." A "green" party, perhaps? 

 

Chad

 

PS-  l love strawberries, but "berry-picking" is something I don't like. 

 

 

Message Edited by chad on 10-29-2008 01:10 PM
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Re: Huckleberries, huckleberries and more huckleberries!!!

[ Edited ]

 

Did Thoreau change my impression of a huckleberry? Twain did- "Huckleberry Finn" is not, in many ways, what we consider to be a "huckleberry." Alas! Can get to the bottom of Walden through a huckleberry?

 

Huckleberrily,

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 10-29-2008 04:05 PM
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Re: Huckleberries, huckleberries and more huckleberries!!!

[ Edited ]

Well, I think this work was pulished to support the abolitionists, or at least, published for political reasons. Both "Huck Finn" and "Walden" contain trancendentalist thought, but convey that thought in different ways. Both works do so, beautifully, at times.

 

Chad

 

PS- Both works are about "thought." If we leave our thoughts in our own languages, we can hear "the trees say 1000 things," as Huck Finn states, and our "consciousness" will eventually become one with Nature's. 

 

 

Message Edited by chad on 10-30-2008 03:48 PM
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again between

"If we leave our thoughts in our own languages, we can hear "the trees say 1000 things," as Huck Finn states."

 

We leave our language by sitting within it- that would be immersing ourselves within the letters or the marks, like the marks I'm making with thecomputer- we obviously cannot do this. But if you could do this, you wouldn't be able to see the letters. You would not be swayed by them. So, now, think about Huck in the big river. He's actually within the great "mark" made by nature, not swayed by the east banks or  the west banks, although he and Jim constantly pass towns, men, etc. along both sides who embroil in them in thier own lives, soap operas, etc.

 

 

Hope that helps, 

Chad