Readersforum's Blog

November 30, 2011

Mark Twain gets birthday tribute from Google

Mark Twain's birthday doodle from Google.

   Pictorial homage to Tom Sawyer graces search engine on the author’s 176th birthday.

By Alison Flood

Mark Twain’s classic scene of boyhood one-upmanship, when Tom Sawyer tricks his friends into whitewashing a fence for him, has been immortalised online by Google’s home page.

The search engine marked the 176th birthday of the American author with a Google doodle today, showing his character Tom Sawyer tempting a friend into whitewashing over the Google logo that unknown and anachronistic hands have daubed over it. In the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom is ordered to undertake the job by his Aunt Polly as a punishment. A “deep melancholy” settles upon him as he surveys the fence, “thirty yards of board fence nine feet high”.

When boys begin to approach and ridicule him, Tom persuades them the work is fun. “All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer”, he tells them. “I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.” They take the bait and bribe him with their treasures to let them whitewash the fence for him, as “the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by … literally rolling in wealth”.

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