Should Huckleberry Finn Be Taught In Public Schools Essay

818 Words4 Pages

A single word, used 219 times throughout Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, causes a world of controversy surrounding this classic piece of literature (“Leave”). The use of the N-Word throughout the novel makes some people feel uncomfortable as they read and discuss the book; however, others argue that the book provides a valuable learning opportunity that gives students a refreshing perspective on racism throughout American history. Such controversy between Huck Finn’s great teaching powers, yet uncomfortable diction, proposes an everlasting question: should public schools teach The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
Many people feel uncomfortable with the teaching of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in public schools due …show more content…

A major theme throughout American history, as well as throughout Huck Finn, is racism. Racism, a topic still raw today, should not be ignored. Jocelyn Chadwick, a Mark Twain scholar, writes, “Twain brings into schools what most of us in this country desperately need, yet fear, most: discussions-frank discussions-about race”. With the use of the N-word and dialogue such as “‘We blowed out a cylinder head.’ ‘Good gracious! anybody hurt?’ ‘No’m. Killed a nigger’ ‘Well it’s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt,’” it becomes apparent why people take offense to the book; however, Twain is simply reflecting history as accurately as possible (Twain 210). Avoiding the book due to the use of the N-word and the portrayal of black characters does not erase that part of American history; “[f]acing that history in all its offensiveness is crucial to understanding it and transcending it” (Fishkin). Twain himself writes that “‘the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter,” which justifies his diction as he tries to authentically portray situations of the time (Fishkin). The historically accurate language, although potentially offensive, provides a truthful context that allows teachers to effectively teach about themes such as

Open Document