Mark Twain’s novel, TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn, should be banned and removed from everylibrary and every school in America! Yes,many critics have praised this novel for its accurate representation of lifeduring slavery, its use of colloquial language, and its honest portrayal of adysfunctional family. However, thedemeaning and racist attitudes towards African Americans, its vulgar andungrammatical language, and incorrect morals makes this a morally inappropriatebook for students and others to read.
Althoughmany people might not find this book offensive, young high school studentsshould not be reading a story where a young boy is beaten by his father, wherepeople attack one another, and above all else where they continually refer to aslave with the n-word. Such conceptsmake many people uncomfortable and do not offer a positive moral lesson. As such, this book should be banned. Since it was first published, this bookhas been taught in schools because of its accurate representation of life alongthe Mississippi River prior to the Civil War. The book is also acknowledged for its use ofsatire, and the unique narrative technique wherein a 13-year-old boy, Huck,recounts in the first person his story of living on a raft with a runawayslave.
The humor and the stories in thenovel are recounted by Huck as they happen, helping to give the novel a senseof discovery. Because Huck is so youngand can’t comprehend all that is happening he tells the reader the truth ofeverything giving specific details of what he experienced. In addition, the novel truthfully portrays theissue of slavery prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. Although the novel portrays this issue verywell, it depicts slavery with too much racism. Despite these qualities of the book,other features make the book morally wrong and inappropriate to be in schoolsand libraries. The language throughoutthe novel, especially the frequent use of the n-word, is pejorative andoffensive. Further, many of the words inthe book are misspelled, such as “sivilization.” The use of a dialect often gives the words amisleading and humorous pun, for example, when describing Pap’s dead body “diseased”is used for the word deceased.
Inaddition, Mark Twain’s use of satire to poke fun at religion and the governmentis sometimes taken to the extreme and can lead children to misunderstand thestory. Although his satire is used to make light of a situation, many peoplecould take offense with some of the things that he satirizes in the novel. Finally, the language used to describe Jim, aslave, is offensive. Jim is oftendescribed as a childish kid who is stupid and acts stupid at unreasonabletimes. At one point when Tom is shot inthe leg, Jim tells Huck they must find a doctor. And later Huck concludes that Jim acted noblyand says that Jim must be “white inside”. This leads me to my point on racismin the book.
The racism throughout the story should neverbe written in a respectable book, and even worse in a book that is meant to be readby students in schools. Huck plays a lotof tricks on Jim; for example, when he puts a snake in Jim’s bed while hesleeps. Huck finds this to be funny. Also, Huck uses the n-word as if it is part ofhis daily diction and has no idea that it isn’t funny to use this word,especially around a slave as it gives off a negative and derogatory connotation. People might say that it is acceptableto use the n-word in the book because it was commonly used at the time.
But, we have no idea whether or not Jim isupset and even if he tells Huck to stop, Huck would think it was funny and wouldstart laughing. Mark Twain also portraysJim as an illiterate who doesn’t even know how to speak English such as whenJim says: “it’s a blame ridicklous way, en I doan’ want to hear no mo’ ’boutit. Dey ain’ no sense in it.” In the article, Chester Stevens believes rightly thatthis book is a, “nightmare for parents of black children,” because of theracial slurs and the negative portrayal of black people. Finally, this book should be banned fromschools for its immoral values.
Duringthe course of the story, Huck steals money from others, lies to everyone hetalks with, and participates in criminal and unethical activities which MarkTwain portrays as okay to do. At the endof the novel, Huck ends the book saying that he wants to begin anotheradventure so that he can avoid being “sivilized” by Aunt Sally, who intends toadopt him. As a thirteen-year-old boy, he should not be going on adventureslike these with people he barely knows. Huck would rather go around actinguncivilized, stealing stuff, and being rude rather than being a normal kidplaying with his friends. These moral lessons are terrifying and should not bepassed on to people who are reading the book, especially students in highschool. In conclusion, The Adventures ofHuckleberry Finn, is not and will never be appropriate for high schoolcurriculums. The only reason to includesuch a book in a school’s curriculum would be to analyze the satire that MarkTwain uses.
However, the vulgarlanguage, the racism, and the acceptance of immoral values overwhelms any gainthat a student might receive analyzing the book’s satire. We need to ban this novel from every library andschool in America.