Literature and Religion in School

500Dorian fantasized about a thousand times, for example, about faking his own death and seeing the reaction of family and friends. He also dreamed of being stranded on a desert island with his best friend, smoking a pipe and eating whatever fell from trees; or sailing in a wooden raft with a crazy Caribbean companion; or finding a stash of stolen money and becoming the hero of the village. He also dreamed about staying up the whole night, hearing about amazing, funny or scary stories from old bearded men that had just returned from their deep sea adventures.

Dorian wanted to hate his elementary school more than anything else, although he could not really bring himself to do it given that he was thirsty for knowledge and one day he thought that maybe, if he could learn everything at once, read all the books he could in one weekend, without going to bed, his parents might allow him to skip school forever. The first time a book sent shivers down his spine was when he got to the scene of the final monologue by Huckleberry; it was a very long paragraph that Dorian reread so many times that he learned it by heart.

He must have repeated that paragraph a thousand times, lying in his bed in the dark. He later remember his old Irish aunt, a Christian fanatic, and felt a bit embarrassed; she always kneeled at the foot of her bed, repeating the Rosary, the Hail Mary and what have you. Mark Twain’s literature was probably Dorian’s first religion; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, (1885) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). A few years later, Dorian would also read Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, a novel published in 1896, which Mark Twain himself had said that it had been his dream to write since his was a child.