The following is a fictitious conversation between famous poet Emily Dickinson and Jim, the escaped slave from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It was written by Jonathan Silverman and Regina Valentine in the Spring of 2004 for Mrs. Cichalski's 10th grade Honors English class. And yes, Emily Dickinson was racist. *wink wink*
Emily Dickinson: (picks up phone) Hello?
Jim: G’day ma’am. Some folks calls me Jim and other folks don’t calls me at all, but do I have a deal fo’ you! Do y’realize that at this very moment, you could drop deader then a darn blasted Grangerford on a warms summer’s evening’?
Emily Dickinson: Why yes, yes I do.
Jim: So p’haps you should consida p’chasing some a dat dere life insurance since yous wouldn’t be wantin’ to leave your family with nothing.
Emily Dickinson: At this very moment I feel a funeral in my brain. And I, and Silence, some strange Race/ Wrecked, solitary here-
Jim: Well that might jack up the prices a bit, but no matter, here at Prudential we work to get you the rock bottom rate.
Emily Dickinson: Would you like to hear one of my poems? I haven’t read them to anyone before.
Jim: Surely ma’am, just as long as you dun’t use none of dem there big words. I’m tired of all dem high faluting white folks always speaking in fancy tongue. I remember once when I was on da raft with Huc-
Emily Dickinson: MY LIFE CLOSED TWICE before its close/ It yet remains to see/ If immortality unveil/ a third event to me/ So huge, so hopeless to conceive As these that twice befell/ Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell. How does that sound?
Emily Dickinson: Sir? Hello? Hello?! Not again!
Jim: What?! What? Oh. G’day ma’am. Some folks calls me Jim, and otha-
Emily Dickinson: Excuse me sir, but I believe we‘ve already been introduced. I’m getting a little frustrated. You weren’t even listening to me, were you?
Jim: Oh. Sorry I am, ma’am. So would you like to buy the insurance? Yous sounds as though yous could be usin’ it. You sound as sick as a jack rabbit in a lion pit!
Emily Dickinson: Um, excuse me sir. I would prefer you didn’t speak to me in that tone of voice.
Jim: But I really needs you to buy yourself some life insurance! Don’t you understand the life of a po’ man?
Emily Dickinson: Well, what’s the quota?
Jim: A quota?! I just told yous I dun’t have no quotas! If I had a quota I wouldn’t be working’ sellin’ life insurance to ladies such as yo’self.
Emily Dickinson: So you really don’t care about me, that’s what you’re saying? This is just something you are expected to do, not out of the kindness of your heart. You don’t care if I’m insured at all. Unbelievable. After what we‘ve been through; this is unbelievable. You’re just like the rest of the world. Such solitude. Space, sea, and death!
Jim: S’cuse me?
Emily Dickinson: All my life I’ve been depressed.
Jim: How do you think I feel. I’s used to be a slave!
Emily Dickinson: -pause- Wait. You’re black?! (hangs up phone aggressively)