The Question Of Whether Huck Finn Should Be Banned In The United States

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, also known as the “Great American Novel”, has sold over 20 Million copies, it has been translated in over 53 languages and it hasn’t gone out of print since 1885, when it was first published. Huck Finn is known by almost everyone. It is one of the most popular novels in the world. So how can it be the sixth most frequently banned book in the United States?

Although Huck Finn is known as a classic piece of literature it has been deemed as offensive to many people. Mark Twain is known for speaking on problems in society through his art of writing. The book is known for representing the times of pre-Civil war slavery and racism in American. Throughout the novel Mark Twain uses racial slurs 219 times. While many say that the word is offensive – which it is, many say that the word is what helps people understand what the times were like Pre Civil War era and the racism in America. Many schools, including recently some Virginia school districts, have banned the novel along with another classic which also talks about racism in America – To Kill A Mockingbird. The schools have claimed that the use of the derogatory word so often in the book has made some students, including parents uncomfortable. Although the book does make some uncomfortable it should, these books talk about the unjust racism in America, the novels are history, and although it may be uncomfortable to talk about does not mean is should be avoided, which is what banning the book does. Huck Finn along with other controversial banned books such as To Kill A Mockingbird help to portray the unwritten truth of the time period. In 2011 a new version of Huck Finn came out censoring the use of the racial slurs and replacing it with the word “slave”. The censorship in the new version was in hopes to get the book back into schools since it was widely banned from school libraries and the classroom for the use of the racial slurs. “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain. While the book set place in Pre-Civil war era where slavery had not yet been abolished the use of the slurs were understood. Although we are well past the time of slavery, racism in America very well exists. While you can find this book in bookstores and online you cannot find the book in many classrooms or school libraries.

While the topic of racism can be uncomfortable, it needs to be talked about and these books hit the topic head on. It is important to have these discussions about history to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself. While in some cases the use of the racial slurs is not the problem, it is more the use of Twain’s satire that is offensive in some African American institutes. Some think that Mark Twain and his use of satire is making fun of and in a way mocking the very serious topic. Twain has always been prominent on his use of satire to poke fun of the people and their thinking during this time. Throughout the book Twain uses satire to mock the thinking of society at this time and to show how cruel man can be to man. In conclusion Huck Finn is a piece of history written to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. The only way we can make sure of that is to correctly educate people on history. The use of the offensive racial slurs is to try and teach people that these derogatory words are not condoned and should not be used.

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