Liza its evils, slavery.” Thus, we should

Liza RaneyMs. PascuilloHum III English01.18.18 TitleThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is arguably Mark Twain’s most well-renowned novel.

Set in pre-Civil War era, southern United States, it follows 14 year old Huck as he escapes the confines of “sivilization.” Twain’s intentional misspelling of “civilization” represents more than Huck’s lack of education. It embodies a lack of civility while. little care for what civilized people deem a proper spelling; it embodies how little civilization affects Huck.

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After he escapes his abusive father, Huck encounters Jim, a runaway slave attempting to flee to a free state. Huck agrees to help Jim escape slavery while Huck escapes “sivilziation.” Throughout the novel, Huck battles with his conscience and intuition, eventually deciding that no matter what society thinks, he should help Jim- because Jim is the only true friend and parental figure he’s ever known. Huck’s friendship with Jim is obviously uncommon, if not entirely unprecedented.

Huck isn’t an abolitionist- he simply believes in helping people and greatly values each human life, even those of criminals. Despite Huck’s generosity, the novel contains 219 uses of the “n-word,” as was common in the vernacular of nineteenth century America. Consequently, many school systems banned the novel entirely. In an attempt to allow gentler audiences to read the novel, a New South Books publication of the novel replaces every use of the “n-word” with “slave.” While some fully supported the censorship of the extremely offensive word, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was quick to claim that “you don’t ban Mark Twain- you explain Mark Twain! To study an idea is not necessarily to endorse the idea. Mark Twain’s satirical novel, Huckleberry Finn, accurately portrays a time in history-the nineteenth century- and one of its evils, slavery.” Thus, we should learn the novel with the word included.

While the word is incredibly offensive, teaching the book as written, with the “n-word” included, is essential to grasp the full impact of the story. By the characters being blasé in using the word, they easily accept the dehumanised status of African Americans. Even Huck, the hero with a heart of gold, is a product of society- he uses the word as offhandedly as the other characters do.


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