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"The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" By Mark Twain: Should This Book Be Banned For Its Controversy?

1957 words - 8 pages

Since the original versions were published, Huckleberry Finn has been a very controversial book. Many people consider Mark Twain's depiction of Jim and many other African- American slaves in the book stereotypical, in the sense that they were followers, uneducated, and talked in a manner that was very uncivilized. Also, critics claim that Twain used the word "nigger" too loosely and frequently. This is the very reason why many people consider this book to be "racist", and even go so far as to insist that it be banned from school curriculums and libraries across the nation. I believe that this notion is ridiculous and is insulting to the very accuracy of classic American literature and history itself.I believe that racism is any outlook, belief or action that treats an individual or group of individuals differently because of their race. The most common form of racism in North America is in the form of discrimination against African-Americans by Caucasians. The proper definition of racism according to Webster's Dictionary is "1) the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races and 2) discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race." Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the 1800's. During this time slavery was a socially acceptable concept and was practiced without hesitation or second thought. Even in the church it was taught that there was nothing wrong with slavery. Black people were often referred to as "niggers". Huck, even though he was friends with Jim, didn't even think twice about calling a black person a nigger. Huck would say things like "Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell."(86) He didn't see anything wrong with using language like this. He didn't see anything wrong with it because he was taught to call black people niggers just like his dad did and everyone else who was around him. Even respectable people like Widow Douglas didn't think twice about this kind of language or the reference to black people as "niggers". During this period in history in the south, that was how people talked.The meaning of the word nigger was different then than it is now. The word nigger was used in this book because in the 1800's it was common language. It did not have the same impact on a person back then as it does in today's society. Jim even uses the word nigger freely as if it does not have any meaning to it, and he is a black slave. When he's talking to Huck one day, he says, "I wouldn't 'low no nigger to call me dat."(77). Jim does not seem to be offended by the word because he uses the word himself. I think that African Americans at this time were so prone to hearing this word that they didn't even think about what the meaning of nigger meant or was. Huck really didn't know what the true meaning of the word nigger was, he was just as socially influenced as the next person in that time. He just thought it was another name for a person that was black. If there is...

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