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Extra resources for Writing "Huckleberry Finn": Mark Twain's Creative Process
I will promise to go into court & swear I think him capable of stealing pea-nuts from a blind-pedlar. (July 5,1875, Twain-Hawells Letters, Vol. i, 91-92) This well-known letter indicates an extraordinary amount about the craftsman behind the pose. Twain's evaluative thinking about problems of point of view and narrative voice while completing Tom would shape Huck. He realized the crucial importance of the narrator, explicitly rejecting Tom as unsuitable. Twain's mind typically repeats the appeal of the first-person narrator.
It is significant that Twain apparently knew and was thinking about stages of progressive development. ] graded foetuses one sees in bottles of alcohol in anatomical [ ? ] museums. . I can look back over my row of bottles, now, & discover that it has already developed from a rather inferior frog into a perceptible though libelous suggestion of a child. I hope to add a bottle a day, now, right along. (October 4,1875, Twain-Hawells Letters, Vol. i, 105) While the identity of the novel cannot be made incontrovertibly, it is significant that it deals with matters that occur in Huck.
Certainly the post-transfer decisions are often more affected by business, audience, or marketing pressures. A case in point involves Twain's late decision to drop the raftsman passage (see Appendix). Other contemporary critics would contend that the particular form or wording of a text does not matter, that words are relatively unimportant or almost all meaningless, creations of a largely or totally historically-determined—or alternately subjectivist—universe. Although I am certainly cognizant of the effect of the observer upon the interpretation, I nevertheless oppose those contemporary critics who would deny that the specific words of a text matter.