Huck Finn: Should It Be Allowed In?
Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has been raising much controversy since the day it was released; it has been on the top 100 most banned books list for decades. Written in 1885, this novel takes place in 1840 in Mississippi. Although some adults and parents debatethat Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or Huck Finn, should reprint a “clean copy” more suitable for children, the original carries out the envisioned messages which Twain wanted expressed; this novel is not meant for children who have not achieved a certain level of maturity, and requires a an advanced mindset to grip the full meaning behind it and therefore it should not be rewritten. Accurate information cannot hold back bits and pieces of history that may come across has to harsh, offensive, or racist; without new generations being exposed to and grasping these key events in time, history will be lost.
Phrases and actions presented in Huck Finn should be highlighted in education, not ignored. Despite the thousands of adults who do not agree with the messages portrayed in Huck Finn, a key experience every child is taught at a young age is to learn from their mistakes, which should be implanted in all aspects of education resulting in advancements in tolerance in humanity through generations if the mistakes are hidden? Adults from around 1885 were most repulsed and offended by the overuse of the n-word in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, because they have not comprehended that the drive of this novel is to express how harsh and cruel times were for African Americans during the 1840’s; the n-word was used only to enhance this, not undermine anyone, all 219 times. To replace the n-word with “slave” or cut it out completely is not only unnecessary, but it will degrade Mark Twain’s intentions. According to Fernando Romeu, author of The Reception of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn in 1885. A controversial process, “the San Francisco Evening Bulletin commented ‘…the type [Huck Finn] is not altogether desirable, nor is it one that most parents who want a future full of promise for their young folks would select without some hesitation…'” meaning that parents would not want their children to look forward to reading this book without thinking deeply about it. Parents tend to undermine what their children are capable of doing and comprehending, so it is not surprising they do not wish to expose their sons and daughters to such a graphic topic.
Although some parents believed it to be nothing more than a detriment to society, there were some adults who appreciated the deeper intellect behind the story that was displayed for students. The debate about this book has been caused merely because of the use of the n-word, but “substituting the word ”slave” makes it sound as though all the offense lies in the ”n-word” and has nothing to do with the institution of slavery” (“That’s Not Twain”) which should not be the problem. If anyone disagrees with this novel it should be with the complete story line of this book and should not just be based on one word; it is understandable for an adult to think this is a sensitive area to teach, but it should be because of the whole picture, not just the n-word. For this reason, many people accept The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for what it is. Also, “another topic that was quite common in reviews was the portrayal of speech varieties in Huckleberry Finn” (Fernando Romeu) which Mark Twain researched and received help from trustworthy sources to perfect his dialogue. This novel portrays accurately how people spoke, acted, and felt; parents and other adults today seem to share most of the same feelings.
Parents from today seem to believe in the same morals as parents did in 1885, but not without slight variation. Some parents are against The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn being taught in schools, but some say, “I would rather my children read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, even though it is far more vivid in its depiction of cruelty than Huck Finn, and this is because Stowe’s novel is clearly and unmistakably a tragedy” (Smiley) primarily because the adults feel Uncle Tom’s Cabin is more straightforward and has a clear depicted message that readers are supposed to grasp. The problem with Huck Finn for some people is not that it is too offensive, but that it does not precisely explain what the real problem is. It is evident that Huck and Jim have some sort of a friendship and even though “Huck has to acknowledge his relationship with Jim, he can distance himself in other ways. First, he can call him a ‘n*****'” (Als).
Als is claiming that Huck has the power to keep himself separated from Jim and even though they are friends, they are still unequal; this is another reason why the teaching of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is continuously debatable and questionable. There are always two sides to an argument; the parents and guardians of students who believe in teaching this book believe replacing the n-word with slave, or making any other alterations “suggests that understanding the truth of the past corrupts modern readers, when, in fact, this new edition is busy corrupting the past” (That’s Not Twain). This author is trying to explain how people believe that exposing children to this type of behavior is unethical; in reality it should be considered more unethical to cover up the past from students. Julie Bosman spoke with Elizabeth Absher, an English teacher from South Mountain High located in Arizona states and observes “I am a big fan of Mark Twain, and I hear a lot worse in the hallway in front of my class” which disproves the innocence and vulnerability of students that their parents seem to expect. If students are using rude and offensive remarks on their own, there is no reason to prevent them from reading this novel and learning about their country’s history. The controversial lessons taught in high school through The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are important, valuable ideas that should be talked about in schools because it exposes the younger generation to boundaries including racial, ethical, and age.
For example, when Jim and Huck first met the King and Duke, they needed to have a cover up story and say “people was always coming out in skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they believed he was a runaway n*****” (Twain 148). Because of this Huck also lied “we don’t run day—times no more, now; nights they don’t bother us” (Twain 148) because they would have turned Jim in for the reward money if they knew he was a runaway. Because of his race, Jim risks being whipped for attempting to achieve his freedom and students need to be aware of this history. The Duke and King put together a flyer announcing their “play” and decided to charge 50 cents for admission; after everyone paid, they received a performance, but not the one they were expecting, These men scammed all the townspeople and when they were done, they fled; this is a perfect example of an ethical choice which should be depicted to readers. Furthermore, the placement of power was not based off of age, as it is now, but based off of people race.
If a young, white man of 18 years was placed next to an elder, black man, there would be no questioning whose opinion was taken into consideration most thoroughly. Huck, who was only thirteen years old, was in charge of Jim’s escape because nobody would respect Jim; they would immediately send him back south to his owners,Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. Students in high school should be old enough and mature enough to learn about this sensitive topic; these lessons and messages are beneficial to share with upcoming generations because howelse is humanity supposed to learn and grow from their mistakes if the older generations are shielding the new generations from their previous mistakes? Altogether, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should certainly continue to be taught in high schools across America because the younger population will soon be in control of their own and their family’s behavior; without proper etiquettesbehavior will begin to fall back to the previous state of cruelty instead of advance and progress forward. Plus, reprinting the novel will diminish the accuracy intended by Mark Twain. It is argued that this book is inappropriate for children and this is true, however Huck Finn was intended for a more advanced audience. Huck is a character depicting someone from a time in history where racial remarks were aloud, slavery was encouraged, and rights were not enforced; to prevent history from repeating itself, upcoming generations must be informed on what happened and why it was terribly wrong, however some people do not agree so the question still remains, should Huck Finn be allowed in?