Huck Finn Paper
It has become quite the talked about phenomenon: should slurs in Huck Finn stay, or should they go?
Huck Finn contains very blatantly obvious clues of some very harsh and racist language. The word “nigger”, due to very severe discrimination with different skin tones in the past history of the world, will forever and always be seen in a negative light. With its’ “obscenity, atheism, bad grammar, coarse manners, low moral tone, and antisouthernism,” there have been many new editions of this controversial novel. While I believe that it shouldn’t be censored because of Mark Twain’s overall message, many other authors differ in opinion. Gribben, of Auburn University, was one that rewrote the book to have a more beautiful flow, eliminating all the gruesome truths: “"The n-word possessed, then as now, demeaning implications more vile than almost any insult that can be applied to other racial groups," he said. "As a result, with every passing decade this affront appears to gain rather than lose its impact." His point is valid, but it still doesn’t address Twain’s use of the language to actually reinforce how badly the slaves her treated. If the “n-word” was really replaced in the book, and slaves was to be put in its’ place, it wouldn’t seem as demeaning, which was Twain’s underlying reason. Everyone is conscientious of how wrong the language is, but in high school students know how much language affects how a novel is read, too. Words are words, until they have deeper meaning. Huck Finn is primarily controversial because it strays away from the idea that slaves are “bad, wrong, and evil”, even called “barbarians” in my very own AP European History textbook. Twain didn’t use the language to be racist—it might be hard to believe, but it was actually the opposite. He portrayed Jim with “depth and humanity,” and he wanted to remind people that “we should never tire of being reminded that humanity comprises people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation on earth.” Twain also wanted to show his ideas through Huck. With his portrayal of Huck as “blatantly racist with racial slurs,” Huck is neither shown as intellectual nor rational, but rather shows a “historically accurate” depiction of a single person during this time.
Although the language WOULD indeed be a prime reason to censor the novel, it’s just as much a reason NOT TO. For teachers, the book is essential; if it were censored, literature would have new meaning. It would have a very big impact on teachers: “One disturbing aspect of censorship is its power to deny students in one class or an entire school system the right to read particular texts.” On a broad perspective, censorship literally takes out the good parts of novels, which are there to ensure that the readers, mostly students in high schools, become culturally knowledgeable and historically aware.
Many critics are so biased because they mistakenly confuse the narrator for the author. Ralph...