Should Huck Finn be taught in the classroom? Twain was not a racist; he was simply exposing racism in his novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Essay by jasondbennettHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2003

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What would be the reaction of parents if school administrations decided that the Civil War would not be taught because it was fought over slavery, among several other reasons? Would they also stand by and allow the Mexican War to be ignored because slavery would be allowed in the new territories? If these objections were heeded, then our schools would also be forced to eliminate American history courses completely. When studying our nation?s history, one would see that is speckled with controversial events and unpopular ideas. What if our founding fathers had decided that because many opposed breaking away from England, they would no longer consider the idea because it ?offended some?? If our entire nation?s desire had been to please a minority all throughout history, it would be nonexistent. Huck Finn should be taught in the classrooms because it is a vital part of American literature. As the first ?truly American novel,? it established a foundation for future works that still holds strong today.

Many black readers of Huck Finn are greatly offended by the common use of the word ?nigger.? However, Mark Twain was simply trying to ?show the discrepancy between the dehumanizing effect of the word and the real humanity of Jim.? He chose to use that particular word to show the backwardness of people of that time. They do not see blacks as people as is evident in Chapter 32 when Huck says no one was injured in the steamboat explosion, but it ?killed a nigger.? The unsympathetic Aunt Sally replies by saying that ?it?s lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt?. This was a very common and very wrong view of blacks. They were not seen as people, only objects to be bought and sold. Losing one was no big deal; another could be purchased.