Hucklebery Finn, A Book Of Controversy

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Huckleberry Finn, a Book of Controversy Since its publication over one hundred years ago, Mark Twain?s Huckleberry Finn has caused many disagreements and much controversy. The style and language used by Mark Twain is found as offensive to some, uplifting to others and yet bittersweet to me. All sides have strong arguments, ones that are educated and heartfelt. That is what makes it so difficult to decide whether to teach or read aloud Huckleberry Finn in the classroom. Opponents of the teaching, or usage, of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom say that they find the book despicable, ?trash? and other harsh adjectives. One of the main reasons they criticize the book is for the usage of racial slurs towards the African-American people, such as ?nigger.? They also claim that the author, Mark Twain, stereotypes Jim, an escaped African-American slave, as to be a fool with less intelligence than a fourteen-year-old Caucasian boy does. As John H. Wallace puts it, ?It [Huckleberry Finn] contributes to their [the African-American students] feelings of low self-esteem and to the white student?s disrespect for black people?? As you can see feelings of some are bitter towards the usage of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom. Proponents of the book claim that the book should be taught for several reasons, including the anti-slavery message of the book. In contrast to the opponents, David L. Smith writes, ??he [Mark Twain] portrays Jim [the escaping slave] as a compassionate, shrewd, thoughtful, self-sacrificing, and even a wise man.? Supporters also point out that Twain actually condemns white society of the day for their barbaric practice of slavery. Supporter, Kenny G. Williams, feels that the novel should be read, for it uncovers a basic historical reality, which is important for the advancement of equality. Now you can see how people?s positions on the usage of Huckleberry Finn vary greatly from on another. I have not yet read the book, yet through some research I have found that I more support the book than denounce it. I interviewed a dark skinned friend of mine, Sanjay Nakka, and he had a positive message. He said, ?The usage of this book [Huckleberry Finn] is quintessential to the acceptance of racial equality. Sometimes we need some controversy to bring a problem to light, where you can work on it, you know?? I also tend to lean towards his opinion, for I have heard strong arguments against the book, yet I have heard stronger, more heartfelt and educated arguments for the use of Huckleberry Finn in the classroom. The controversy surrounding Huckleberry Finn may never end. The style and language used by Mark Twain is found as offensive to some, uplifting to others and yet bittersweet to me. People will most likely always argue, for good reason or not, they probably will. For that reason Huckleberry Finn may never find peace in the company of the classroom. People will probably continue to hate, for reasons of race, and as long as that continues, Mark Twains message of racial equality has been wasted. Word Count: 506

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