Huckleberry Finn's journey down the Mississippi may be seen as a kind of journey towards a realization of the 'self' and a progressive moral growth or it may be seen as a defeat of Huck's potential.That was the opening sentence to an essay I wrote when I was 22 and doing a paper for my Master of Arts degree.
It's pretty good.
In fact the whole essay blows me away. I think I've got more and more intellectually lazy (okay - dumber) the older I've got.
What's prompted this? Well a student of mine is doing work on connecting four texts on her chosen theme - rites of passage stories.
She asked me for some clues about potential texts and of course Huckleberry Finn was one that sprang to mind. I happened to have a copy on my desk and she asked to read it.
Then, when I saw she was getting into it, I mentioned I'd written an essay on it when I was at Auckland University back in the day.
She asked to look at it (and reminded me a couple of times when I forgot to bring it, which indicated keenness). So I dug it out of my stored stuff (yes I kept all of my MA essays).
Before giving it to Rowena (my student), I sat down and read it.
I was impressed. It's good (I got an A for it so Dr Locke thought so too).
But now? Could I come up with that again? Hmmmm. It would be different fer sure but I can never go back to those halcyon days of yesteryear (1980 to be precise). None of us can.
Every year, come December, I envy the bright young things heading off to university and those self indulgent years. A wonderful time, a time of and for wonder.
My optimistic nature comes out in the essay. In case you were wondering how I resolved that starting sentence, here are my closing bits:
The ending is open ended in a way which allows for Huck's continued internal growth. He has grown with Jim's help into a new state, a more whole self. For Jim, real freedom is a long way off. But Jim has a self-awareness which endures and which we are made to feel will help him to overcome the obstacles against his freedom in the future.Noice.
Love and peace - Wozza