What Was I Thinking?

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What Was I Thinking?

Angeldeep Kaur

You don't know about me, without you having read a book written by Mark Twain by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and my own book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." It's been years since we last met. I never thought we would be meeting this way again, but here it is once more. Now Mr. Twain, he's long gone, but that ain't no matter, because I took the trouble to make a book myself before and here I am writing once more. What can I say, there are some matters I just can't hold my tongue about any longer. The widow had learned me to read and write all those years ago, and so I am to use that again. Now the way the last book winds up is this: Tom got shot when he tried to escape with Jim to set him free. Then it all came out that Miss Watson had died two months before and left Jim a free man. Tom said he was just playing something on him and would have paid him for his trouble when they'd gotten free. Well Tom was okay after that. Jim told me that Pap had been the man we'd found dead in the house. All sorted out, Aunt Sally said she'd adopt me and sivilize me. But I had had enough of that, so I reckoned I would set out west instead.

Now I have read a bit since we last met, I read quite a bit in fact. I read all those books that Tom used to tell us of, with stories of robbers and kidnappers and then some others. After all these years I even read "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" again for I was reading it to my son, so I could have him learned as I was. See, I changed some of my ways after all. I took to Aunt Sally's house after I was out for the Territory for a while. I began to stand the sivilized life and got used to it and settled down. So when my son was born, I let him play but tried to give him some sivilizaition too, at least enough to be a man who could read and write, and still keep cheerful.

Well, why I am writing again you ask? Why it's to make clear some of the things that were put in the last book is why. Or to share some of my thoughts actually. Now when I was reading my book to Huck Jr., I was right surprised by so many things that I wrote about and can't imagine why I thought them then. I will start from the start of the book. Now first you met me, I was living with the widow and sneaking out to get away from the sivilized world she was putting me in, trying to learn me so many things I didn't care about. I remember the time I stole away to meet Tom Sawyer and some of the other boys to form a band of robbers. We were so excited and darn sure that we could do all those things that Tom had read in the books and told us about. Now, I've read and lived a lot since that day and I can tell you, life ain't like the books. Everything doesn't work out with lots of adventure and still come to a happy ending. I read now the talk we had about robbing people and maybe even ransoming some people. I've found out now what ransoming really is, so when Huck Jr. asked me to explain, I could tell him it's to hold people for money, till someone pays for them to take them away. Now, back then we blindly followed Tom's every idea, even though we didn't really understand any one thing he was talking about. That wasn't never the right thing to do, and yet we played along with Tom and did what he said. Why sometimes his crazy ideas about the books was darn hurtful and I've learned since that its no way to live life, especially when you is all grown up. Now as it seems to me, books are meant to be a way to read about things you haven't done in your life, and sometimes you should be out there living your life instead of reading them books and trying to get something from them to fill you life up. But still they aren't written so we as boys can go out and rob and kill innocent people. That just ain't right, and that's not what them books is for at all. But Tom Sawyer would never see that.

Now Tom is another thing I need to be explaining. When I was a boy, Tom was but the best playmate to have. He was always looking to play something, do something adventurous and he would also get away with most all he did. I had always wanted to be quite like him in his playing ways, and all through my tale of my adventures, whenever I'd play something, I would pat myself on the back when I could say 'Why Tom Sawyer couldn't have done it better.' He was always best at the schemes that got us into so many scrapes and out of them too. Now don't get me wrong, the ways he taught me about being creative with the stories I can tell saved me many a time during my adventures, and it saved Jim too when those people almost caught us on the raft the one time. But, like I just said before, the thing with Tom Sawyer is that he ain't got no idea of where life stopped being like all those adventure books he kept reading. And that was part of the problem of growing up with Tom Sawyer around, for mostly Tom just didn't grow up.

Now Huck Jr. thought Tom was a right amazing man and wondered why he didn't come by more often. I had to explain to Huck Jr. how sometimes Tom Sawyer neglected to think about others and did them harm though his heart is not bad at all. Tom had a talent with words, why, he would tell me of all these plans and I would most always go along with him, because he'd always say that it would all turn out to be fine in the end. But now I wonder how I could go along with everything that Tom said when we were boys. Take the time, in the end of the book, when Tom was to help Jim escape so he could finally be a free man. I went along with his plans because Jim had been a darn good man while we were on the raft together, floating along and away to our freedom. I wanted to help poor ol' Jim to be free just as much Jim did himself. But in the scramble to run away, Tom got shot and Jim was captured again. It was only then that Tom came out with it and told us all that Miss Watson had died and left Jim a free man two whole months ago. All he was doing when planning the escape was looking to have another one of his book adventures, with guard dogs stopping his way and lots of other obstacles between him and Jim getting to freedom. I read those adventures now and ask myself, what I was thinking wanting to be like this boy who only thought of his amusement and played with poor Jim's life while doing it. Sure, you say that everything did turn out okay, but what if it hadn't and poor Jim had been hurt or killed in Tom's games? See, nothing good comes of those books if all you do is read them and think them to be what your life should be like. Silly Tom, I only hope that he would learn from his silliness and grow up after all, at least enough to stop playing tricks on everyone. I would not let Huck Jr. go play with a Tom Jr. if it meant more playing for no reason but the play.

What I wanted to say here was that I was but a boy who didn't know much better than to just play along with Tom. When I was by myself, I would think better of things. Why, I even tried to help those murders on the shipwreck, for who knows that might have been me on another day, and they didn't do nothing to me, so why should I have been hurting them? Tom would have left them just to play and that isn't right, and I wanted to have Huck Jr. and all other children to see that.

It wasn't just in Tom's ways that I was a boy who didn't see everything quite right. Jim was another man that I didn't see quite as he really was. Because of the widow and others who learned me to think what I did, I always thought Jim to be a simple man. Part of that was also probably that I was a boy and didn't quite understand all things in the world around me. All through our trips together I saw that Jim knew the things that were right from wrong. He also was wise and good hearted, and surprised me every time when I saw just how good a man he was. And yet, right at the beginning of the book, when Tom came to visit the widow's house to get me, and decided to play something on Jim, I believed that Jim really thought that witches flew him around and left him there. I known Jim a long time since, and I know that he might not know about everything, but he is not a stupid man as Tom took him to be. When I was reading this to Huck Jr. he was delighted that we fooled Jim so, but it got me thinking, had we really fooled Jim, or had Jim fooled us all along? Hadn't he been the one who got a big name and glory from the story, who told it anew every time he told it, saying the witches took him further and further away? Why, people came from all over just to look at him, and respected him so, and yet we thought of him just as a silly old man we'd fooled? I don't think that I was thinking all that straight then, or he just had us boys fooled quite well. Shows that there are things that a boy would miss but a man probably wouldn't.

All said and done, there aren't many things I did as a boy that most any boy wouldn't do. When I last wrote I was young and wrote only of what I saw and understood to be happening around me. But time has learned me that I saw many a thing wrong, so here I am, writing one more time, to set them straight. I'm rotten glad its done once and for all, I don't think I'm going to be writing again. Too much trouble.

Works Cited:
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ed. Thomas Cooley. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998.

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