Kings' Courier

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Huckleberry Finn: Not a Book Worth Banning

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People in our society today happen to be easily offended by certain words, phrases, or actions. Ultimately, this happens in the literary world. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn happens to have a lot of controversy on whether the book should be banned from a school curriculum. Melissa Kelly from ThoughtCo said Huck Finn happens to be the fourth most banned book in American schools. The book has racial slurs, ugly stereotypes, dumbing diction, ironic wit, and strong use of the slang word for negro. This word is used 219 times. I believe that Mark Twain had been an effective writer, and Huck Finn should not be banned. It shows a great representation of what life had been like back then through the dialect, characterization, and diction.

Even though Mark Twain lived and wrote during the 19th century, he proves to be effective in our society today. According to John Glionna from the Los Angeles Times, some people view Twain as a racist and a “cigar-chomping social critic.” On the other hand, many people as well as myself believe Twain to be the opposite. For example, NPR columnist Alan Greenblatt quoted James Cox, a leading Twain Scholar, stated, “Mark Twain remains as central as ever not only in American literature but in American life.” I agree with this statement because Twain shows that people of different races can bond together. At the time of the novel publication, society thought that white and black relationships were absurd. Although the book had been written 20 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, people had still been cross about the fact that the slaves had been free.

Many people believe that Huck Finn should still be apart of a school curriculum. The story tells of a white boy who goes against society’s view on blacks to help free Jim, a runaway slave. I think this happens to be a prime example of being more significant than society’s futile beliefs. Twain’s book helps people realize that they can stand up not only for blacks and race, but for other topics such as bullying or basic human rights. Peter Salwen, a Twain writer,  stated that Twain “Is offensive to black readers, perpetuates cheap slave-era stereotypes, and deserves no place on today’s bookshelves.” Although, many people think differently. “Freedom and the quest for freedom” (Salem). I agree that the book portrays strong controversial topics, but I the bigger picture happens to be about two men striving for freedom of their struggles.

People believe that Huck Finn happens to be only harming students because of the book’s stealing, killing, and counterfeit identities. PEN American writer Domenica Ruta explains that banning the books would help “shield” children from inappropriate views. I wouldn’t want students being shielded from reality in their childhood and then be smacked in the face with the true stuff. Some people view the vernacular of the book as offensive and dumbing. Former chief correspondent for CBS Byron Pitts interviewed Randall Williams, editor of New South books, who replaced all the N-words into the word slave. Williams said, “I think it says that race continues to be a volatile and divisive subject.” This statement makes sense, yet people should be able to discuss the N-word without taking it out of context.

Huck Finn had brought an enormous amount of controversy to the world ever since it was published, but I believe Twain was not a racist person. For example, he made Jim, a black slave, the center of attention in the book. He made him out to be a caring, intelligent man who had been striving for the great gift of freedom. I recommend this book for a good read about two people bonding together and becoming friends.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Huckleberry Finn: Not a Book Worth Banning