To Teach or Not to Teach
History-term used lightly and sometimes not understood to the extent of the actual meaning. History is not always good and on occasion, it is not always bad. Some events that happened in the past, one does not like to recall the actual happenings, while some others are rejoiced and told over and over again. Knowledge of historical events can be life-changing, whether it is past history, history being made in the present or future history yet to be made.
The book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a great example of a piece of history. Even though the story is fictional, the events that occurred in the book are very true to the time period. Some of the events that took place in this story, as well as language issues may be frowned on by teachers and school administrators; however, this book is such a key point in history that it should be taught in schools. Mark Twain is a very influential writer for his time, and he wrote of true events that were parts of history. In the story of Huckleberry Finn, Twain wrote Huck as a young boy growing up in the age of slavery, where blacks were referred to as “niggers”.
This term is very harsh, was accepted in that time period, and may be repulsive to most readers, but Twain did a great job of showing the true events of that time, even though the term is frowned on today. Since history is so important in one’s life, I feel that even though this ‘N’ word was used, people should look past it and learn what truly happened in their own country and embrace it, instead of turn away and ignore what is true. Adventure, freedom, and conforming to society- these are all themes that Mark Twain displays in his work. Kids in modern day yearn for adventure, and are always looking for ways to be free from parents, school and rules. Also, kids and young adults alike are always trying to “fit in” with the world through actions, dress and personalities.
Since Mark Twain wrote this book through a child’s eyes, it relates to many readers due to those factors and they can tie it into their own lives. Racism plays a big role in the storyline of the book. In the book, there are struggles of racism between blacks and whites. Whites are cruel to the blacks because they believe that they were the superior race, and that blacks were inferior. This leads to modern day society.
Since the United States is erupting in culture change, racism is present, not only between the whites and other ethnic groups, but racism between different ethnic groups. Through the book, Twain seems to be teaching us a lesson; embrace other cultures and work together. Huck looks past what everyone else thinks and becomes almost like family with Jim. Modern society should learn from Huck and begin to work together with other cultures and embrace who they are. This is also a great way for young children to begin to learn about social equality and begin to implement change between races. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a great learning tool for everyone, not just young adults.
The lessons that Twain shows in this story, as well as the pieces of history that he ties into the book are great teaching tools to how it “really was” in that time period. Teacher and administrators should embrace the events and think of all of the teaching opportunities, as well as life lessons that this book has to offer.