on New Year resolutions from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I visited the Mark Twain house in West Hartford earlier this year.

Reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer again (on my Kindle) last night I came to this line that applies to new year resolutions and other such artificial determinations.

Now he found out a new thing–namely, that to promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.

I think of Mark Twain as the first modern American novelist.  He wrote for a nation bursting with adolescent energy, and without manners. It amuses me to think that Twain (S. Clemens) and Ralph Waldo Emerson were alive at the same time: Emerson, the transcendentalist essayist of the post-colonial era, and Twain, the irreverent humorist who threw open the western door to an American vitality. Reading Twain we can still splash through rivers, explore caves in the wilderness, dream of becoming outlaws and treasure hunters, etc.  Emerson and the transcendentalists built the house that Twain busted out of with his adventuresome imagination and sarcasm.

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