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Mark Twain On The Wages Of Whiteness

Summary:
In Mark Twain's novels, Huckleberry Finn is just a kid in what you might think is the most despised group in society. His mother ran away, and his father, who rarely is home to look after him, is the town drunk. Huck does not go to school, dresses in rags, and often sleeps outside in some barrel down by the waterfront. But Huck is quite conscious that some hard-working adults are looked down on worse than him by respectable people. 'That's all right. Now, where you going to sleep?' 'In Ben Roger's hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap's nigger man, Uncle Jake. I tote water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants me to, and any time I ask him he gives me a little to eat if he can spare it. That's a mightly good nigger, Tom. He likes me, becuz I don't ever act if I was above him. Sometime

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In Mark Twain's novels, Huckleberry Finn is just a kid in what you might think is the most despised group in society. His mother ran away, and his father, who rarely is home to look after him, is the town drunk. Huck does not go to school, dresses in rags, and often sleeps outside in some barrel down by the waterfront. But Huck is quite conscious that some hard-working adults are looked down on worse than him by respectable people.

'That's all right. Now, where you going to sleep?'

'In Ben Roger's hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap's nigger man, Uncle Jake. I tote water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants me to, and any time I ask him he gives me a little to eat if he can spare it. That's a mightly good nigger, Tom. He likes me, becuz I don't ever act if I was above him. Sometime I've set right down and eat with him. But you needn't tell that. A body's got to do things when he's awful hungry he wouldn't want to do as a steady thing.'

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Remember that Jim is a grown man. Huck in a canoe gets separated from Jim on the raft, which has a wigwam in the center, in a fog in the night. When Huck gets back, Jim is asleep. Huck tells Jim that he was never seperated; Jim was dreaming.

'En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun', de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo' foot, I's so thankful. En all you wuz thinking 'bout wuz how you could make a fool uv old Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren's en makes em ashamed.'

Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam, and went in there without saying anything but that. But that was enough. It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his foot to get him to take it back.

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't even sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn't do him no more mean tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In quickly googling to check that my title was apropos, I stumbled upon this Adolph Reed essay about W. E. B. Du Bois.

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