Huck Finn Controversy
Dear Gerould W.
Kern, My name is Alvin Y, and I am a teacher at MSHS. Everyone is aware of the controversy with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and I am a strong believer that it should be taught in high schools to all students. A very important reason that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be taught is that Huck can be seen as a role model to teens reading the book. He starts off behaving as your average twelve to thirteen year old boy would. He plays tricks on people, sneaks out at night, and disobeys his guardians.
But what happens to him throughout the book is what should really be looked at. As George Sanders says in The Braindead Megaphone, “Huck’s instincts tell him that Jim is a man, and a friend.” If any other white child found a runaway slave in that time period, they would most likely turn him in which really shows the person Huck is. Another reason why this book should be taught in schools, is that people need to face reality. We recently had a school board debate on whether or not this book should be taught, and this topic was brought up. Someone stated that slavery happened, and racism happened, but we’re over that now and we’ve moved on.
It’s true that people might now be offended by the portrayal of Jim, or the use of “nigger”, but times have changed and we don’t portray them that way anymore. Also, you can’t just ignore what happened and people need to be educated on what happened in history. An argument made by the Anti-Huck group is that the book is too advanced for high school students, but isn’t the whole point of teaching it at school to help students understand the book by discussing it and asking questions? If students aren’t understanding the book or the wording, then they should ask questions so they could understand it better. Also, if they don’t learn about it or have any knowledge of it in high school, it’ll be much harder for them to understand when they’re older. Also, most of the time high school students read this book while learning about slavery, so it’ll just help them understand better. The last reason it should be taught is because the education you get out of it and the knowledge you get of the past can’t be taught or got from your normal history book.
Sure, you might learn about what states were slave states, or how slaves were treated, but you really can’t get any views on what the lives of runaway slaves were. Also, you never get the perspective of a young white boy during that time. Overall, I just think that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, should be taught in schools because it truly is a genius piece of literature. It gives insight on how the life back then really was, Huck is a good role model for kids, and it shows that people need to face reality and accept what happened.