The Values Of Society In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

2116 Words 9 Pages
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered to be one of the most famous and thought-provoking American classics of the 19th century, yet modern school systems are struggling to decide whether to include this masterpiece within high school curriculums. Written by Mark Twain, the novel follows the travels of Huck Finn, a young rascal who escapes his constricting environment to join a runaway slave along the Mississippi River. They encounter many life-threatening situations that represent the hypocritical and racist views of Southern society. Some teachers and parents do not want their high school students to be exposed to the brutal violence, vulgar language, and suggestive themes of the novel. Although the novel contains graphic portrayals …show more content…
In the Guilford County “Selection of Instructional Materials/Educational Resources,” it states that learning materials “should be appropriate for the age, interests, abilities, learning styles, social development, and maturity levels of the student.” Critics have mentioned that Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may be a fantastic read, but it cannot be taught in high schools due to its inhumane, discriminatory remarks. The novel’s ideas could cause conflict among students, with both religious customs and racial identities being questioned and often ridiculed in a satirical fashion. Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, mentions that he “suffered through Huckleberry Finn in high school,” because “the white kids kept repeating ‘Nigger Jim,’ while the teacher offered tortured explanations for its use.” No matter what Twain’s intentions were for this novel, African Americans can still be offended by the context of its word choice and …show more content…
Because a modern editor did not live in the 19th century, he or she would be incapable of properly understanding the purpose of Twain’s word choice, vandalizing the past with an inaccurate description of not only the novel, but history itself. As Jeff Danzinger’s cartoon, “New Version of Huckleberry Finn Removes N-Word,” suggests, why would Huck decide to transform his rugged, vulgar language into a proper, refined tone to respect Jim as an equal African American member of society? Not only would Huck sound ridiculous, but he would not reflect the tone of the racist South, making Twain’s novel appear to be simplified and sanitized to fit modern desires (see fig. 2). In the American Library Associations “Library Bill of Rights,” a library must represent all historical and modern issues within society. A classroom, which is another source of learning, should uphold this purpose as well. The past cannot be ignored just because it offends the people of today. It is important to avoid the mistakes of the past, not by erasing errors, but by learning from those

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