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Adventures Of Huck FinnBanning From School

My essay deals with banning the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from high
school reading lists, and why this behavior is inappropriate. Specifically, it
addresses the following question: Columnist James J. Kilpatrick wrote that Huck
Finn is “a fun book for white boys to read… For black children, I have
come to realize, it is a brutal slap in the face.” He condemns the book
because of its use of the word “nigger.” Many school districts have
banned this book for the same reason. What are your views on this subject? Since
the Civil War, racism has been a very delicate issue with the American public.

Whereas some people have tried to transgress this issue, pretending that race no
longer plays a significant role in our country, other people still believe that
there are serious racial dilemmas in the United States. I am one these people.

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However, unlike some, I do not believe this problem can be solved by avoiding or
sugarcoating the issue of race, as James L. Kilpatrick and several schools
appear to be doing. In the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
presents an adventure story filled with deeper meanings and controversial
topics, two in particular being slavery and racism. Despite the usage of the
word “nigger” and the stereotypical portrayal of African Americans, I
do not think schools have any justification in banning this book from reading
lists. Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn during the Reconstruction period in the south,
at a time when most Americans wanted to forget all about the institution of
slavery and its consequences. However, Twain set the time period of this novel
prior to the Civil War when slavery was at its peak. Thus, the racist views he
included in the book mirrored the attitudes of most southerners during this
time. Those that say that Huck Finn is inappropriate to be read in schools are
in effect saying that a portion of United States history should not be taught in
the classroom. Although slavery was one of the most horrific periods in our
countries history, to make sure nothing of its caliber ever occurs again, we
must make sure every high school student is aware of the ramifications of such
practices. By banning an important work in U.S. history, these schools are
ignoring the racial sentiments of this time period simply because the language
in Huck Finn may not be appropriate. In addition, reading this novel hopefully
invokes in people a sense of shame for the mistakes of our ancestors. Though the
novel’s language may offend some, it is Africans Americans and Caucasians
alike who are offended. Nobody likes to look at the word “nigger” nor
hear it used, however, we must accept that this word was at one time considered
appropriate language. Reading the novel, I was repulsed by this word and my
stomach churned as I read about the ignorance and hate stored within the hearts
of characters. However, I enjoyed reading this novel and gained a new
perspective of life prior to the Civil War. I think that when schools ban the
novel Huck Finn from their curriculum that they are in effect failing their
students. Huck Finn is an excellent piece of literature, rich with history,
description, and unique perspectives. By not allowing this book to be read in
schools is like shutting students out from a valuable learning experience. Yes,
they can still read the novel in their spare time, but they are not afforded the
privilege to discuss this book openly in class or gain new perspectives into its
meaning. In addition, when African Americans refuse to read this novel they are
depriving themselves of a experiencing a brilliant piece of literature. I think
that until you try something, you can’t attack it, or else you are showing
your ignorance and stubborn nature. Twain did not write this novel to belittle
the African American race or to promote the institution of slavery. Twain wrote
this novel to depict life in the South prior to the Civil War. Along with this
depiction are the bias and racist attitudes prevalent in South at this time. For
all those school administrators who say that the language and ideology of
Twain’s writing is offensive, well, maybe Twain wanted to offend people with
this novel. Maybe he wanted to offend them so much that they would come to the
realization that individuals should not conform to society’s standards, one of
these standards being slavery. Until someone is offended, status quo doesn’t


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