Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

March 23, 2011
By , Highland, UT
Mark Twain was a very blunt and straight forward man. When he wrote his classic, he wrote it in a way that he thought was best to make it incredible. But today, it is more referred to as a controversial book because of the use of the word nigger. There are many people who are offended and have even thought of removing nigger from his book. Taking nigger out of this timeless classic is taking the life out of this great book; it gives it its personality and character! Yes, nigger is offensive to many, but in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” it is appropriate for letting readers get a feel for the speech and livelihood of the time period.

Taking nigger out of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” would be much like rewriting the whole book. Changing it to slave would take character out of the book; it would not be how Twain meant it to be or for that matter, a classic. It is considered a classic because of the controversy and great story that it carries. If we take everything out of the book that someone is offended by, we will have blank page after blank page. If we are taking all of the derogative terms out of this book, then it must be done to every other classic and great novel. This is the reality of what it was like in Twain’s time and we cannot try to hide from it. If Twain did not want to be straightforward with the “speech” of the time, he would not have used nigger in his text. He did, and as people today we should not change it.

Removing nigger from this book will in no way eradicate it from our past, present or future. Trying to replace it with slave has already caused a stir. When people go to read it, they will know that it has been changed and it will not be the same. Nigger represents the eras we have come from. Twain was part of that era, and so was the language. If it is part of our history, we cannot take it out. We learn from our past to perfect our future. Replacing it would hide future generations from the harsh past that our country has had.

Students and all readers alike need to be exposed to the reality, greatness and controversy this book brings. We cannot hide it from them. In a literary sense, nigger is appropriate. It’s how the people of the era talked. Taking nigger out of “Huck Finn” will make it less of a great novel to teach to students. If taught correctly in a neutral setting, it will be a very beneficial book for students to read. Students need to be able to talk about this issue and learn where it is appropriate and where it is not.

Nigger should not be taken out and replaced with slave. It will not erase it from history or anything of that matter. We need to keep this as a reminder of how things used to be and let Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” , keep it’s character. All students’ need to be exposed to this topic and this book has been a great gateway for it if taught correctly





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