Mark Twain´S Language Use In The Adventures Of Huck Finn

870 words - 4 pages

Controversy arouse regarding whether replacing the n-word with slave in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was censorship. Though others might argue that accessibility would be better, the new edition decimates the deeper meaning of the novel and the truth of the cruel treatment toward African Americans in the 1800s. This attempt to remove the n-word silences Mark Twain in his campaign for social change.
Regardless of the removal of the word, it will not be refrained from being heard. Whether heard out on the street or in a song, people are still guaranteed an introduction to America’s dark past. Instead, it could be taught in a classroom setting to teach students about slavery and its history, along with Twain’s use of irony throughout the novel. However, Huck Finn has been repeatedly judged as unsuitable for students to read. David Matthews explains that Huck Finn is “not a children’s adventure book” but “a scathing indictment against slavery, hypocrisy, gender roles, and class” (Source F). Young kids reading Twain’s novel will not comprehend the purpose and it would be useless to exchange the words for children with the incapability to understand it. Authors write for a purpose and readers read for a purpose, whether for leisure or education purposes. If authors’ words are censored, their purpose is also censored, and readers’ minds will never have that full learning experience of that author's purpose.
Like the Holocaust, American slavery is not an event to be forgotten, but to be acknowledged. Germans do not take pride in their dark history, but understand it. On the other hand, some American people attempt to sugarcoat their treatment towards slaves. Shannon Agnew argues, “Just because an offensive word is removed from a work of fiction, it doesn’t mask the truth or the history” (Source H). Censoring the novel evades the reality of American culture and history and consequently induces collective amnesia. The n-word has a painful history in America and it must be remembered so it will not be repeated. In order to educate people about the racism, the n-word is a necessity. However, English professor Alan Gribben believes that his altered edition “[provides] an option for teachers” who may be uncomfortable with the n-word (Source C). Though revising the words may be for a good cause, the effect is an attempt to say that slavery is a trivial matter. Removing the n-word insults African Americans because it tries to suppress a dark period they endured. Moreover, censorship cannot be fought with censorship. Critics complained that the hateful speech should be...

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