I Heart ‘The Diaries of Adam and Eve’

For the remainder of my Capstone class, we are reading The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain. I was hesitant to even open the book because of all the other work I had piling on top of my life. I sat in our school’s coffee shop, Jazzman’s, deliberating this daunting task. Every single book I am assigned to read for classes such as Capstone, What it Means to Be Human, Seeking Wisdom, etc. is usually horrifying and leaves me miserable. I opened up the book and noticed how little text was on each page. I decided, this can’t be that hard. In 10 minutes, I had read like 65 pages. I then realized it was time for class and I didn’t want to stop reading. So, of course, I read it throughout the entire class instead of paying attention to the discussion on the book. I figured I was learning either way:

Picture from my phone of the easy-to-read pages of Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve

Before I go any further, I just need to tell you this book is great. Twain uses his knowledge of men and women and the ‘historical’ facts of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, and tells this remarkable tale of humanity. My teacher told me that the story is actually about Twain and his wife. Through his personal experience, Twain pin points even the most bare qualities of men and women that still exist today. It is playful, funny, romantic and well-written in short, hilarious diary entries.

Here is the first excerpt of Adam’s Diary:

MONDAY — This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals. . . . Cloudy today, wind in the east; think we shall have rain. . . . WE? Where did I get that word-the new creature uses it.

The first from Eve:

SATURDAY — I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday. That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was a day-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I should remember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen, and that I was not noticing. Very well; I will be very watchful now, and if any day-before-yesterdays happen I will make a note of it. It will be best to start right and not let the record get confused, for some instinct tells me that these details are going to be important to the historian some day. For I feel like an experiment, I feel exactly like an experiment; it would be impossible for a person to feel more like an experiment than I do, and so I am coming to feel convinced that that is what I AM — an experiment; just an experiment, and nothing more.
Then if I am an experiment, am I the whole of it? No, I think not; I think the rest of it is part of it. I am the main part of it, but I think the rest of it has its share in the matter. Is my position assured, or do I have to watch it and take care of it? The latter, perhaps. Some instinct tells me that eternal vigilance is the price of supremacy. [That is a good phrase, I think, for one so young.]
Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition, and some of the plains were so cluttered with rubbish and remnants that the aspects were quite distressing. Noble and beautiful works of art should not be subjected to haste; and this majestic new world is indeed a most noble and beautiful work. And certainly marvelously near to being perfect, notwithstanding the shortness of the time. There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme-a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again —

The diaries were written separately and later compiled into one book. Each character’s entries truly touch upon the realities of love and the differences between men and women. There are hundreds of books, blogs, websites and articles discussing the ways that men and women behave differently. And while these theories of psychology, science and nature are all interesting, this book writes these differences in such a simple manner, that it seems to answer more questions than that other bull-shit relationship propaganda.

Even though Eve and Adam have such seemingly different approaches to almost every single event that occurs, from naming things, to lifestyle choices to how they treat their children, I believe that the understanding of these differences is a good place for love to start. Throughout the novel we question Adam’s understanding of Eve. He resents her voice because he was used to quiet. He dislikes her attention because he enjoyed his peace. He does not like when she tells him what to do, names objects for no reason, cries when he might get hurt and cares for their child more than the other animals. All of these things begin as annoyances because Adam does not understand the need for anything she does. Later, in Eve’s diary, an extract from Adam’s diary is provided. It must be the first moment that Adam feels love:

Perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space — none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them. If she could quiet down and keep still a couple minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that case I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature-lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.

An artistic remake of Adam and Eve – “Human Body Art”

I suggest you find a copy the next time you go to the book store, if anything for the comedy and endearing quality that this book evokes, but hopefully so that you learn a thing or two ❤

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