The Controversy of Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn, timeless classic, or modern day disgrace? Should it be banned? Or

should it be continued to be taught? The answer is two-faced, because there is undoubtly some

questionable themes and word choice. But on the other hand, if the material is presented in a

mature way, with a discussion about the, questionable, racial material, Huck Finn really can be,

and is, one of the greatest literary works of all time.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic piece of American literature, Twain

takes a very funny, and very satirical viewpoint of many of society’s flaws. The most prominent

concept Twain attacks is the concept of slavery. Huck’s battle of concious versus heart is

shown at multiple times in the novel. With the climax of the novel when Huck decides he would

rather burn in hell than turn Jim in. Apart from the climax, Twain does make fun of many of

society’s wrongs. For example, the Grangerfords and Shepardsons episode is satirizing

people’s false sense of honor and hipocracy as they go to church and listen to sermons about

brotherly love and peace, while at the same time stroking their guns. Twain also takes a huge

shot at religion. Huck complains that before he can eat he has to listen to the widow grumble

over a few lines. Huck also says he would prefer hell over heaven because his friend Tom

Sawyer would be there, and heaven seemed boring, with the harps and clouds and all.

Many people have said that Jim is a racial sterotype. This, however, could not be

further from the truth. How can Jim be a stereotypical slave if he was willing to care for Huck,

after he had learned of Huck’s father’s passing away. Jim stayed with him on his journey down

the Mississippi River even though he knew it was leading him straight into slave country where

he was no doubtedly being looked for. This decision has transcended the streotype and turned

Jim into what many would call a hero. A sterotypical slave would have just turned around and

left Huck for dead after the slave realized they had passed Cairo and had no shot at getting

north by river. So if anyone tells you that “Huck Finn” should be banned because Jim is a

stereotype and Twain is attacking slaves, you just tell them that Jim was a hero and the world

will be better if more people read about his good deeds and are influenced by them.

However, and this is a big however, there is some language in the book that African

Americans would, understandably, find offensive. But if the teacher talks about the word

nigger, and makes sure the class understands that nigger was a common word when the book

was written. The meaning of the word has changed from an ordinary word to describe blacks

to a derogatory term. If the teacher is sure that the class understands that in “Huck Finn” the

word means the former, then I feel it can be taught, and should be taught in the classroom. But

even if the meaning of the word is addressed and confronted, there are still going to be people

who are offended. And to this I say, you just gotta roll with the punches. There will never be a

situation that makes everyone happy, and if people are unhappy with reading this novel, than an

alternate book should be available.

Should The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be banned from the school ciriculum? I,

personally, feel that it shouldn’t, and if it was it would be a terrible waste of a timeless piece of

litereature. There are many good points that the novel addresses which is the main reason noto

remove it. Although there are going to be people who disagree with the book’s wording. To

these people there should be a secondary book available that has the same meaning.


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