Stupid Question: The Long Path Home

12 Mar

Stupid QuestionsWhat’s with the dead girl’s dead art?

Emmaline Grangerford’s crayons and poetry decorate her parents home.  The deceased had a penchant for the morbid.  Huck reckons “with her disposition she was having a better time in the graveyard” than if she had been able to live on to complete her work.

But why, Twain?  What does this have to do with anything?  Am I missing some greater satirical message?  Sparknotes tells me this section is humorous, but my Dad always told me that a joke’s not funny if you have to explain it.

The yarn that this blogger knit together about it made did me smile, though.  And apparently this is an important enough section that people have put together entire Emmaline Grangerford Scrapbooks.  Even more delving led me to understand that Twain was mocking Julia A.  Moore, the “Sweet Singer of Michigan” in penning Emmaline’s character.  I’ve never heard of Miss Moore, which is remarkable, since she was apparently born in the very county in which we reside.

So have I just answered my own question?  Twain was simply making fun of these maudlin girls girls of his time?  Just imagine the fun he would have now-a-days with the teen crowd on facebook.


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5 responses to “Stupid Question: The Long Path Home

  1. Cheryl

    March 12, 2013 at 9:55 am

    A lot of what he is doing throughout that part of the novel is making fun of popular art & culture. So yes, with Emmeline he is satirizing bad art and poetry (as with the hilarious Stephen Dowling Bots poem). I’ve always thought Emmeline’s fascination with death must have something also to do with the fact that people keep dying in her family (due to the feud). And Twain has a lot of fun also with the furnishings and decor of the Grangerford home, right down to the “Friendship’s Offering” book (if I remember correctly) on the coffee table. Makes so much sense that they would be displaying a book about friendship . . . .

  2. dangermom

    March 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I thought it was pretty funny–and yeah, kind of like a modern Goth teen’s death-obsessed art. Every single picture says Alas alas and is about somebody dead! Like Chery says, the poetry is hysterical. 🙂

  3. Christina Joy

    March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I definitely think I missed some of the levels of satire in Huck Finn. Thanks for the head’s up, I hate it when I miss out on a good joke.

  4. Bob Moore

    November 11, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    As the great-great grandson of Julia, there are many things that are misunderstood. She had an artist’s soul and a fourth grade education. For Twain, an easy target for a man who needed one. Still, who can say that their great great grandmother was a character in America’s greatest novel? I say we’re all even.

    • Christina Joy

      November 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      Yup, that’s pretty much awesome. Do you know, is there any mention of her in local museums or historical records in the Grand Rapids area?


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