Friday, June 20, 2008

Tom Sawyer Abroad

The sequel to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is Tom Sawyer Abroad that tells the tale of Huck, Tom and Jim travelling in a hot air balloon to discover the wonders of Africa.

The story was not as interesting as that of the prequel. The circumstances are obviously different, in the previous novel Huck and Jim were travelling on a raft in constant danger, while this time they are almost isolated from any danger in their balloon with which they can observe and evade any adversaries on land. The whole story is unbelievable in the sense that I can imagine a trip downriver the Mississippi in a raft, but hardly a pleasure flight over the Atlantic at speeds in excess of 300 mph.

I found it quite annoying that Jim, the freed black slave, is portrayed as uneducated and superstitious, who is usually given all the work (like mending the clothes, shovelling tons of sand, being sent on a threethousand-mile errand to fetch a pipe, etc.) and left out of most of the fun. These two aspects (no danger and the way the only black character in the book is portrayed) made this book a one-time read for me.

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