Posted in Short Stories

Mark Twain: The Diary of Adam and Eve (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 8)

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I once saw Mark Twain’s short story “The Diary of Adam and Eve” performed as a play. Now that I have actually read the story, I am recalling that the play didn’t stray far from the original. It kept the humor. It kept the touching ending. It didn’t try to add any moral lessons outside of the satirical ones included in the original story. Considering the play was sponsored by a church, I’m looking back and thinking of it as surprisingly refreshing, now. It was mostly entertaining – just as the original is.

Much of the humor comes from Adam’s perspective and his perplexity at his new companion whom he considers to be more of an intruder. He doesn’t understand Eve’s logic as to why a tiger should be called a tiger simply because it looks like a tiger. Without turning Adam into a complete idiot, Twain tends to give Eve the brains of the couple even if her logic might warrant some questioning.

Twain then moves slowly from satirical to heart-felt in a manner I found likable. It’s a slow transition from Adam and Eve irritating and misunderstanding each other to realizing they need each other. It’s something Adam doesn’t fully understand but that Eve decides to call “love”.

In spite of Eve’s constant talking, Twain allows Adam to get in the last poignant words:

Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.

I read this story because I selected the Four of Spades for Week 8 of my Deal Me In 2016 short story project. “The Diary of Adam and Eve” is included in my copy of The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain. My Deal Me In 2016 list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.




4 thoughts on “Mark Twain: The Diary of Adam and Eve (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 8)

  1. Hi Dale,
    I need to break out my copy of Twain’s complete works again. I like the intriguing title of this story and also like the last line that you quoted. How long ago did you see the play that was sponsored by a church? I wonder if it would be a tougher sell today since it may be a little irreverent to some, with people so ‘sensitive’ these days.

    1. I saw this play probably 10+ years ago. I still lived in Indianapolis. This story isn’t as irreverent as some of Twain’s others. He doesn’t really satirize the Bible so much as relations between the sexes and marriage – using the Adam and Eve story as a backdrop. Yes, I’m sure there is some branch of Christianity out there that is going to find offense with this but for the most part it’s lighthearted and fun – while packing an emotional punch at the end. That was kind of a pleasant surprise – it wasn’t sappy, just very real. I think this might become one of my Twain favorites. I recommend it!

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