The Huck Finn QUestion Essay Research Paper

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The Huck Finn QUestion Essay, Research Paper Controversy and Conflict: The Huck Finn Question It was born into controversy in 1885 as Samuel Clemens published his newest writing entitled The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It immediately sparked debate and outrage that still continues to this day. This book, some critics contend, is a grotesque example of racist trash. Citing numerous examples, such as the treatment of minorities, the objectionable language displayed by the characters, and the unfair portrayal of Southerners, these critics believe that this book is worthy of being banned from all schools. Still, other critics maintain that this novel is a true treasure of American literature that gives a realistic portrayal of the times. This same group of critics also argue

that this novel promotes racial unity and cooperation. How could such a novel give birth to such contrasting viewpoints? Are both arguments valid? Should such a controversial novel be taught in schools today? This essay will examine both arguements and point out each side?s logical points and flawed reasonings. Afterwards, it will discuss whether or not this book should be taught in schools today, the Huckleberry Finn question. A large number of critics contend that the book Huckleberry Finn is racist trash not fit for the classroom. For example, John H. Wallace described the assignment to read the book best when he said: ?..the assignment and reading aloud of Huckleberry Finn in our classrooms is humiliating and insulting to black students… (Wallace, The Case Against Huck Finn

Pp. 17)? This is a valid argument against the book Huckleberry Finn for many reasons. For example, Aunt Sally asks Huck about his trip after he arrives at her house. Huck goes on to describe an accident which occurred while on the boat in which an African-American worker was killed. In response to this story, Aunt Sally commented: ?Well, it?s lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt in these things. (Twain, Pp. 216)? Aunt Sally goes on to say how a similar accident happened to a white man, but, when she discussed this story, she showed a great deal more concern for the victim. This last piece shows how lowly blacks were regarded at this time, to the point of being considered highly expendable. Such a degredation of blacks in the classroom should not be tolerated if possible.

This story also illustrates the inferior role that blacks were expected to take to whites. Despite the fact that this book is over 100 years old, its racist overtones are still uncomfortable to blacks today. In addition, the frequent use of the word ?nigger? nearly 250 times is extremely offensive to the African-American population, regarding an entire race of people as trash because of their skin?s coloring. Because of this total degradation of blacks, this offensive book, critics argue, should be banned from schools. On the other hand, not all arguments for banning this book can be so easily justified. Julius Lester wrote the following argument against Huck Finn: ?While I am opposed to book banning, I know that my children?s education will not be enhanced by reading this book

(Lester, Pp.200)? This argument is not totally accurate. From the quote above, Lester is saying that his children will learn absolutely nothing from this novel. That statement is faulty and untrue. Twain?s novel informs its reader about a variety of topics. For example, slavery and its evil effects are prevalent throughout the entire book. A child reading this book could easily pick up on the evils of slavery and life for African-Americans back in the nineteenth century. Besides the subject of slavery, a reader could learn about the great advances that have been made in racial equality since the time that the book was written. Back in Twain?s time, it was uncommon for a black to be able to vote or even own property, but, today blacks enjoy largely the same rights and privileges