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Banned: &Quot;The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn&Quot;

1379 words - 6 pages

"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain was first published in the United States in 1885 as a sequel to the book "Tom Sawyer." The book, which uses Huck's or the first person point of view surrounds the events of two runaways: Huck Finn and a black slave by the name of Jim. Shortly after publication, the book became controversial because of Huck's casual use of the word "nigger." Due to Huck's careless grammar and the book's controversy, libraries began to ban the book from their shelves. The first library to ban the book from their shelves was the Free Public Library in Concord, Massachusetts (Greenhaven Press 12). The book was banned from the Free Public Library shortly after publication (Greenhaven Press 12). However, "More than a century later, some parents, educators, and public officials still say that students should not be required-or perhaps even allowed-to read the book" (Greenhaven Press 12). Adults fear that the uncivilized Huck Finn would be impressionable on young minds, and may cause them to use "faulty grammar, play hookey, steal, lie, and run away" (Greenhaven Press 12). Others fear "that the use of the word nigger in the book is offensive, racist, and harmful to black students" (Greenhaven Press 112) "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a thoroughly debated book that should not be banned because it has transformed American literature, depicts a realistic look of race relations, and is a classic book that is loved by Americans.

The first major reason that "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" should not be banned is because it has transformed American literature. Twain's use of dialect and first person narration from Huck's perspective is what has transformed American literature. Due to all of the controversy over the book, Huck Finn became "the most popular boy in American literature" (Gerber 109). While libraries that banned "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" found it to be offensive, authors found themselves liberated by the very thing the censors found objectionable. In fact, Ernest Hemmingway states "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn" (Gerber 104). Shirley Fishkin, President of the Mark Twain circle of America, comments on "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" stating "he helped teach his countrymen new lessons about the lyrical and exuberant energy of vernacular speech, as well as about the potential of satire and irony in the service of truth" (Greenhaven Press 131). In a letter to his London publisher, Mark Twain himself exclaims "I've just finished writing a book, and modesty compels me to say it's a rattling good one, too" (Greenhaven Press 0). Indeed, Mark Twain did pioneer realism in American literature through his book "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

Another major reason that "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" should not be banned is because it depicts a realistic look of race relations in the pre-Civil War South. There is...

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