Tag Archives: Word Cloud Classics

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Overview
Amazon.com: Moby-Dick (Word Cloud Classics) (9781626860575): Melville,  Herman: Books

Title: Moby-Dick
Author: Herman Melville
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Oceans
Dates read: 5th – 22nd October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1851
5th sentence, 74th page: When Bildad was a chief mate, to have his drab-coloured eye intently looking at you, made you feel completely nervous, till you could clutch something – a hammer or marlingspike, and go to work like mad, at something or other, never mind what.

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Synopsis

“Call me Ishmael” is the iconic opening line of Herman Melville’s classic American novel, Moby-Dick. Ishmael is a seaman aboard the whaling vessel, Pequod, under the vengeful captain, Ahab. Maniacally seeking retribution from the great white sperm whale called Moby-Dick–the whale responsible for the captain’s missing leg–Ahab leads the crew on a quest to kill the infamous beast. A fictional work based on actual events, Moby-Dick is a classic that has been enjoyed for generations, and it’s now available as part of the Word Cloud Classic series, making it a stylish and affordable addition to any library.

Thoughts

I can totally see why this is such a well-known classic. It was a very enjoyable and intense story. And, even though I only gave it 3 stars, I would totally read it again. I felt like throughout this I was actually missing quite a bit… so I would actually quite enjoy re-reading this and picking up on all of the bits and pieces that I missed. Actually, I think that this is one of those stories, that no matter how many times you read it… you’ll always find something new to the story that you just didn’t notice before.

There was a heck of a lot of symbolism throughout this story. More than my puny little brain seemed to be able to comprehend if I’m being honest… although, most of the symbolism that I felt I was picking up on was very homosexual in nature… I’m not sure if that was just the mood I was in though. Or the simple fact that the Whale is a sperm whale (I mean, queue the jokes here).

This isn’t a feel good, comfortable story. At all. Which is probably why I did enjoy it and am likely to reread this. I’m not necessarily big on stories which are all sunshine and lollipops every time I open a book. And at the time of reading this, I was finding that there were a few too many happy, happy stories on my TBR. This was a really good break from that – I loved the discomfort that it left you with.

This may not be my favourite classic. But it was an enjoyable one. It was pleasant and fun, and I can’t wait to pick it up again in the future and learn more about all the parts of this story that I missed…

<- The Prince and Other TalesAnne of Green Gables ->

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

Overview
Dracula, Word Cloud Classics by Bram Stoker | 9781607105510 | Booktopia

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Series: Word Cloud Classics
In: Dracula and Other Horror Classics (Bram Stoker)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Horror
Dates read: 14th September – 20th October 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1897
5th sentence, 74th page: I trust her feeling ill may not be from that unlucky prick of the safety-pin.

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Synopsis

Irish author Bram Stoker introduced the character of Count Dracula and provided the basis of modern vampire fiction in his 1897 novel entitled Dracula. Written as a series of letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries, and ships’ logs, the story begins with lawyer Jonathan Harker journeying to meet Dracula at his remote castle to complete a real estate transaction. Harker soon discovers that he is being held prisoner, and that Dracula has a rather disquieting nocturnal life. Touching on themes such as Victorian culture, immigration, and colonialism, among others, this timeless classic is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats! Now available as part of the Word Cloud Classics series, Dracula is a must-have addition to the libraries of all classic literature lovers.

Thoughts

I absolutely loved this novel. I remember picking it up last year, reading the first page and then, honestly, just getting distracted. So I wasn’t all that optimistic when I decided to try again this year… and boy was I wrong. And surprised. It was a wonderful journey into the realm of Stoker and I can FINALLY say that I have finished Dracula.

This classic is so well written and done in a form that I really wasn’t expecting. I’ve read a few recent books in this style of memos and letters cobbled together. But this is most definitely the oldest one. And, as such, it was somehow all that much more unique and… well… awesome. I loved this. I can’t stop thinking about it. And, if you get past the first three chapters, you will feel the same. I can almost guarantee it!

Honestly, there aren’t really words for how much WOW this story made me feel… it was just an amazing adventure. Kind of dark, really intense and… well, I can see where the vampire myths started and what makes this such a popular classic.

Mina and Lucy were really good female leads (and victims). They were a little bit soft and not necessarily the strongest of characters. But I do like how they, one and all, inspire love in the other characters. And it wasn’t really a sexual love (alright, in the case of Lucy it often was). But it was that love for one another that I think all of humanity needs. Or at least, that’s how I was understanding it.

This story was filled with darkness, tragedy, and a whole heap of love. I like that it was mostly happy endings and just all in all, a great, impossible to put down story. I can’t wait to read more Bram Stoker stories!

<- Treasure IslandThe Art of War ->

Image source: Booktopia

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Overview
My Ántonia

Title: My Antonia
Author: Willa Cather
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Westerns
Dates read: 26th – 27th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1918
5th sentence, 74th page: Sometimes he was completely hidden by the clouds of snow that rose about him; then he and the horses would emerge black and shining.

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Synopsis

Willa Cather’s novels brought the life of American settlers on the Great Plains to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness during a time when the lands west of the Mississippi were undergoing rapid transformation. My Ántonia, considered by many scholars to be her first masterpiece, tells the story of a young orphan, Jim Burden, who is sent from Virginia to Nebraska, where he grows up with his grandparents on their farm. He becomes friends with Ántonia Shimerda, a Bohemian girl who endures her own struggles as she enters adulthood. Rich in themes that will resonate with readers of all backgrounds, My Ántonia explores the struggles and triumphs of ordinary people in extraordinary times.

Thoughts

This is the first ever full-length Western that I’ve had the privilege to read. And it wasn’t as tedious as I kind of half expected. Mostly, I was expecting it to be a little slow like the short stories I’ve been reading in The Mammoth Book of Westerns. But, it wasn’t like that at all. In fact, I kind of completely loved this novel and just devoured it in one night – I found it really difficult to put down, put away and stop thinking about. Which was surprising, specifically considering the fact that I was a bit eh about her short story.

There is something about Antonia that should feel seriously tragic. And heart wrenching. And just, all round sad. Yet, even though there are moments throughout which do make you feel a little sad, there really isn’t an overall tragic feeling to this story. In fact, it’s almost hopeful and uplifting. Which, if I’m recounting this story, is not how I would be able to describe it. But something in Cather’s story telling manages to make that feeling of hope and the future seriously come alive. It’s a little disconcerting and is probably one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.

Like Cather’s short story, one of the things that really stood out in this novel was the beautifully setting. It was a world in which you were completely immersed from the very first moment. And a really nice transportation into a moment in history that I never knew I was intrigued by. Definitely a very well written story. One which transported you to another world and another time. A world filled with different priorities and challenges, but ones which feel familiar regardless.

This isn’t a fast-paced, crazy storyline. It’s not a grip the edge of your seat kind of story, instead, what it is is just… fun. It’s a great story that transports you to everyday life and the ways in which we form and create bonds. The ways in which we change over time. And how some people are able to stand the test of time in their friendships, even in the most trying of circumstances.

<- Through the Looking-GlassDon Quixote ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Overview
Amazon.com: Little Women (Word Cloud Classics) (9781607105480 ...

Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Series: Word Cloud Classics, Little Women #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Contemporary, Strong women
Dates read: 2nd – 6th April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1868
5th sentence, 74th page: The knowledge that her mother had a fault like hers, and tried to m end it, made her own easier to bear and strengthened her resolution to cure it, though forty years seemed rather a long time to watch and pray to a girl of fifteen.

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Synopsis

No home library is complete without the classics! Little Women is a keepsake to be read and treasured.

When Little Women was first published in 1868, it became an instant bestseller. The book’s gentle lessons and charming story of four adventurous sisters coming of age in Civil War-era New England was originally written as a children’s book, but quickly captured the hearts and attention of readers of all ages. Now part of the Word Cloud Classics series, Little Women is a must-have addition to the libraries of all classic literature lovers.

Thoughts

I have been told to read this again and again over the years. And, as it turns out… I did actually read this as a child… I just didn’t quite remember the reading of this story. But, as soon as I started to sink into this amazing classic, I began to remember bits and pieces. Just enough that I wasn’t floored by some of the more tragic moments, but not enough so that there were no surprises left to me.

At the point of reading this story, I’m an adult and technically older than the little women… yet, there is still a great message and reminder of what it’s like to grow up throughout. Meg’s plight as a wife and new-mother, the ways in which she has to balance everything is something that I’m still constantly working with. And, there are aspects (such as motherhood) that I still have to experience and figure out. Yet, instead of instilling fear in me (which is what normally happens), it instilled a sense of calm and zen about the future. And a great sense of looking forwards.

I know that this is an ensemble novel, but, for me, this story has always been about Jo. Maybe it’s because I relate to her more than any of the other characters. Or maybe it’s just because I can see the most change in her as the story unfolds. But, whichever way it works. It is Jo that completely steals the show for me. She sweeps me away and makes my heart soar and cry in equal turns. There is just something about her journey that works so beautifully and makes you feel completely emotionally invested in her future happiness. At least, that’s how her character is for me. I don’t know that I’ve ever truly been so connected to a literary character, especially one who is in a classic novel.

Little Women is one of those books that just everyone needs to read. It is beautiful, uplifting and impossible to forget. There is a sense of ease to the writing that you don’t always find in novels written in the 1860s, which makes it a great starting classic for anyone who wants to start reading classics, but can’t quite find one to suit. But more than that, it is a story of family, love and finding your own happily ever after, whatever that may be. Something that I think we all need to learn to work towards.

<- Aesop’s FablesInferno ->

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Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Overview
Image result for book cover inferno word cloud classics

Title: Inferno
Author: Dante Alighieri
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Horror, Poetry
Dates read: 9th – 10th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1320
5th sentence, 74th page: So many voices issued through those trunks

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Synopsis

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!”

On a divine journey through the depths of Hell, Dante–with his guide, the poet Virgil–witnesses the fate of Earth’s sinners. Inferno, a 14th century poem and the first part of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, paints an allegorical underworld in which sinners are punished in accordance with their sins. Journey through the darkness and meet famous historical and mythical figures and the fate that has become them, from Homer and Julius Caesar who dwell in Limbo with the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, to Judas Iscariot and Satan himself, who dwell in the deepest circle of hell for the sin of treachery. Influential, even after seven centuries in print, readers of Inferno will appreciate the plethora of allusions both within and concerning this work, as well as the moral implications the story develops. Now available as part of the Word Cloud Classics series, Inferno is a must-have addition to the libraries of all classic literature lovers.

Thoughts

Until recently I hadn’t actually heard of Dante Alighieri. And then I found out that he is a classics author from the 1300s… and I was completely intrigued. Reading this collection of some of his works… yeah, I can completely understand the draw to his work and writings. It’s incredibly powerful and just… wow.

I read this around the same time that I started reading The Complete Works of Shakespeare. It’s interesting to compare the language styles and wording in the two different poets. I know that they come from different countries, different times (I think), but they’re both historical, classical powerhouses in the genre. And I love being able to compare the two.

I actually found Alighieri more delightful than Shakespeare. There was so much raw emotion in Inferno. The fear, the horror and the confusion just leaps off of the pages. The short, emotive language is of the sort that I plan to read again and again… there is just something amazingly potent and powerful about it all.

I’m not really a great reader of poetry. I do love it. I’m intrigued by it. But I can’t spend all afternoon sitting there just reading it… I need to be able to read a poem or two and then walk away. I still felt a little like this with this collection… but so much less so than many of the other poetry collections I’ve had the pleasure of reading. There was just something… enthralling about it all.

<- Little WomenHans Christian Andersen Tales ->

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The Poetry of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

Overview
Image result for book cover the poetry of emily dickinson"

Title: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson
Author: Emily Dickinson
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Poetry
Dates read: 24th – 28th January 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1890
5th sentence, 74th page: Her friend “H.H.” must at least have suspected it, for in a letter dated 5th September, 1884, she wrote: –

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Synopsis

“This is my letter to the world . . .” — Emily Dickinson

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson is a collection of pieces by 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson, who insisted that her life of isolation gave her an introspective and deep connection with the world. As a result, her work parallels her life—misunderstood in its time, but full of depth and imagination, and covering such universal themes as nature, art, friendship, love, society, mortality, and more. During Dickinson’s lifetime, only seven of her poems were published, but after her death, her prolific writings were discovered and shared. With this volume, readers can dive into the now widely respected poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Thoughts

This was a really interesting read. I’ve heard the name Emily Dickinson again and again over time. But I’ve never actually had the chance to sit down and enjoy her work. Now I understand why there’s such a rant and rave about her work. Especially since her poetry is so multilayered that no matter how many times I read this, I’m going to find something new to obsess over and be fascinated by.

I haven’t read much poetry lately. It takes another kind of thought process to sit down and appreciate this kind of work. But, reading this, it reminded me what it is about poetry that I love so much. There are so many different meanings to every word and line. No matter how many times you read it, a new meaning will come to light.

Poetry is also the most emotive form of writing. At least for me. And I was really absorbed by all of the feelings throughout these poems. They might provide insight into the author, but for me, poetry is always about processing your own emotions. I could read all of these poems again in a weeks time and get an entirely different experience from them. That is just how emotive I find this form of writing.

One other thing that I absolutely adored about Dickinson’s works was that they were short. I could pick up this book and read a snippet, a short poem, feel complete and then head into the real world and responsibilities all over again. Although I don’t mind longer works, I do tend to find them a little harder to digest. I definitely didn’t have that problem with this collection!

<- A Tale of Two CitiesCrime and Punishment ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster Australia

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Overview
Image result for book cover the count of monte cristo word cloud classic

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Classics
Dates read: 3rd – 16th January 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1844
5th sentence, 74th page: “Yes, Noirtier.”

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Synopsis

“Alexandre Dumas’s novel of justice, retribution, and self-discovery – one of the most enduringly popular adventure tales ever written – appears here in a newly revised translation.” “This novel tells the story of Edmond Dantes, wrongfully imprisoned for life in the supposedly impregnable sea fortress the Chateau d’If. After a daring escape, and after unearthing a hidden treasure revealed to him by a fellow prisoner, he devotes the rest of his life to tracking down and punishing the enemies who wronged him.” “This newly edited version of the original nineteenth-century English translation speeds the narrative flow while retaining all the essential details of Dumas’s intricately plotted and thrilling masterpiece.” The classic nineteenth-century translation has been revised and updated by Peter Washington, with an introduction by novelist Umberto Eco.

Sent to prison on a false accusation in 1815, Edmond Dantes escapes many years later and finds a treasure which he uses to exact his revenge.

Thoughts

I seriously struggled with this classic. Normally I love the different ways in which language is used through time. Even when the version I have has been translated from another language… but there was just something about The Count of Monte Cristo that I just couldn’t get behind. I’m definitely going to give it another try in the future. Just at this point in my life… it was a big nope not into it for me.

I did give this a really good shot for the first 150 pages… and then from henceforth I just skimmed it. As I said, there was just something about it that didn’t capture my attention. It was just an incredibly slow journey…

I can understand why this is a classic though. It is full of great symbolism and storylines. Full of themes which are impossible to forget. I’m looking forward to rereading this again when I’m kind of old and slow… it’ll probably be more the type of story I want when I start to slow down too. Or at least, that’s the theory.

<- The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Three Musketeers ->

Image source: Amazon

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Overview
Image result for book cover anne of green gables word cloud classics

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1, Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Family
Dates read: 5th – 11th November 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1908
5th sentence, 74th page: Isn’t that a perfectly elegant name?

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Synopsis

Best-selling Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery published the first book in her charming series in 1908, making it a literary favorite for more than a hundred years. Published as a children’s novel, the story of Anne Shirley, an orphan, was inspired by the author’s childhood adventures on rural Prince Edward Island. It follows Anne’s journey as she moves to a farm on Prince Edward Island to live with a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them with farming chores. The story follows Anne as she makes a home and comes of age on the island.

  • This chic and inexpensive edition comes with a heat-burnished cover, foil stamping, luxurious endpapers, and a smaller trim size that’s easy to hold.
  • The widely popular novel has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into more than twenty languages since its first publication.

Anne of Green Gables has been one of the world’s most charming coming-of-age stories for more than a century.

Thoughts

I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked this classic up. I know that a lot of people enjoy the story. And that is honestly the extent of my knowledge. It made it a pleasant surprise when I realised how much I loved this. Especially when Anne is such an unbelievably relatable character. Probably my favourite classics lead since I started trying to expand on my classics knowledge.

This is an incredibly sweet coming of age story. Mostly because it is all about love and family.  Not the family we are necessarily born into, but the one that we choose. Or, that fate chooses for us in any case. It’s not just about the two people who choose to parent Anne, it is about their relationship as siblings. The relationships they’ve formed with the rest of the town and Anne’s desire to fit into a bigger world.

Normally I find coming of age stories a little bit of a hard slog and not that engaging. But, this isn’t like that. It is impossible to put down, funny and filled with so much light and compassion that I won’t be able to forget this story. Not for a long time yet.

The language in this story is one of my favourite things… the language that Montgomery uses is open, relatable and simple. The long-winded, intense dialogue that fills Anne’s head is a great counterpoint to this. The ramblings and intensity are a great way to show the jumpy thought process that Anne follows. Probably what makes her so damn relatable… because I kind of go off on the same fanciful tangents.

<- Moby-DickAnna Karenina ->

Image source: Amazon

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Overview
Image result for the wind in the willows book cover

Title: The Wind in the Willows
Author: Kenneth Grahame
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Classics, Easy reading
Dates read: 2nd – 6th August 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher: Oxford
Year: 1908
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘When they went,’ continued the Badger, ‘the strong winds and persistent rains took the matter in hand, patiently, ceaselessly, year after year.

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Synopsis

Join in the delights and disasters on the riverbank with Mole and his new friends, Ratty, Badger, and fun-loving Toad. There’s never a dull moment!

Thoughts

I found this a hard book to get through. Not because it was bad writing, not because it was bad in any way, shape or form. But I just felt like not much was happening. And, since I recently read Mark Twain, which is kind of similar in its rambling manner, I needed something with a bit more direction to it. So, although I didn’t mind this story, it’s definitely one I will be picking up again in the future when I’m more in the mood for this style of storyline.

Part of me was quite surprised that I didn’t love this book more, I remember Toad and Badger incredibly well from the movie I used to love as a child. And, I think, in hindsight, I probably would have loved this book as a child too. I’ve just picked up some incredibly amazing, more grown up books recently, so wanted to read more of those as opposed to a children’s book that was a little disjointed and mostly about a lot of fun between four great funs. Or at least, that’s how I still experience this.

What I loved about the movies as a child, and what I loved about this book as an adult is mostly the fact that this is a story about friendship and loyalty. The four friends, even though they are incredibly different they still stick together. My friendship group is kind of like this myself, we are so intensely different, yet, we’re always there for each other, no matter what the circumstances…

<- The Prophet and Other TalesClassic Westerns: Zane Grey ->

Image source: Amazon

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Overview
Image result for adventures of huckleberry finn word cloud classics book cover

Title: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Contemporary, Race
Dates read: 15th – 10th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1884
5th sentence, 74th page: That’s a Frenchman’s way of saying it.

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Synopsis

No home library is complete without the classics! Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a keepsake to be read and treasured.

One of the most popular books of all-time, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been both venerated and vilified since it was first published in 1885. The story of a young abused boy on the run and his friendship with a runaway slave is about loyalty, compassion, and doing what is right, and it remains one of Mark Twain’s greatest achievements. Now available as part of the Canterbury Classics series, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a must-have addition to the libraries of all classic literature lovers.

Thoughts

This is my first ever Mark Twain, and it certainly makes me glad that I have more of his books on my shelves. There was something fun and easy about his writing. Which I don’t often find in classics. For something which was published many, many, many years ago, this was kind of amazing. The meandering storyline was something that I would have loved as a child – living on a river free of every kind of responsibility, living on the land… that’s the kind of childhood that I would have loved.

One thing I tend to struggle with when reading is storylines that don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Tales that are a little more meandering and random I find a little harder to get hooked into. They don’t grab and keep my attention as well as stories which you need to keep reading to find out exactly what happens. Although this did follow that meandering trend, I didn’t find myself putting the book aside as frequently as I usually would. It still took me a little while to finish this considering how much I loved the writing style and language.

For a fantastic kids’ journey, the issues of racism and class are touched upon beautifully in this tale.  Huck’s original feelings towards Jim are those of someone who feels entitled and with power over someone who is almost four times his age. But, as the tale evolves, he begins to see Jim as a fellow person. One with his own desires, needs and wishes. Whilst there is no outright commentary on slavery, the underlying message felt strongly skewed towards this ideal. And it was one that I loved dearly.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the kind of story that drops you in a world any child would be happy in. Or at least, any child that was a bit of a ratbag like me. I would have loved travelling down the Mississippi on a raft, choosing my own life, dinner and making all of my own decisions. Alright, as an adult I’m well aware of how non-idyllic this would actually be. But as a child, this would have been wonderful.

<- Walden and Civil DisobedienceThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer ->

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