Importance Of Teaching Huck Finn Essay

1016 words - 5 pages

Despite misinterpretation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as being
racist and stereotypical, the novel should be taught to high school aged students because it teaches them the lessons of the bigotry and prejudice of the past. Twain’s novel focuses on slavery in the southern United States during the 1840’s. The novel tells the story of the journey of
runaways Huckleberry Finn and a slave, Jim. Their escape down the Mississippi is considered an American classic, however, some readers feel the characters are stereotypical and set bad standards for children. Huck Finn has value that must be searched for, and can be found with proper teaching.
Many people feel that Huck Finn ...view middle of the document...

The teacher could help students understand the underlying themes and messages in the novel, rather than the seemingly crude content on the surface. A great
example of this could be that educators need to keep in mind that the material within Huck Finn is somewhat advanced, so it needs to be taught at a high school level for maximum
comprehension. Also, Shelley Fisher Fishkin points out that the novel “…engulf students in heated debates about prejudice and racism, conformity, autonomy, slavery and freedom. It is a book that puts on the table the very questions the culture so often tries to bury, a book that opens out into the complex history that shaped it…” Many of these issues are not discussed because they are controversial, but Twain addresses them straight forwardly through his writing. Huck makes a lot of progress throughout the book, even though it does take him some time. His
turning point was when he declared, "I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their'n” (Twain 155). The book, as well as the author, does not support the views of Huck and his society; rather they criticize them. Both Johnson and Fishkin make great points; African Americans should never have experienced this suffering, but that should serve as an even greater reason to teach this novel - a way to warn future generations of the disgrace of
prejudice.
A big case for not teaching Huck Finn is the character Jim. Jim is the slave that joins Huck on his escape down the Mississippi River to freedom in the east. Throughout the course of the novel, Huck slowly begins to see Jim as an actual person rather than as a slave. Jim is the definition of a virtuous character; he is caring, respectful, kind, and trusting. Most people in the story took advantage of Jim for being this way. For example, Jim is...

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