Mark Twain Research Paper

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Thesis: Though Twain is one of the greatest American writers in history in the eyes of authors and people alike, publishing companies and over reactive parents try to ban the book for offensive language. I. Everybody has different opinions on censorship.

A. Some people think it is a good thing.
1. Schoolteacher John Foley thinks that because we now have a black president, the N-word should not be in any books and all books that include the word repeatedly should be banned.
2. Books published in 1990 are targeted today because parents are afraid of their children learning of such things.
3. “…Fundamentalist groups, for instance, have tried to have dictionaries banned because of definitions offered for words like hot, tail, ball and nuts" (Kakutani 9).
B. Others, however, think censorship is wrong, and that it should stop.
1. "Although racism is understood now to be culpable, it cannot be denied as a part of American history. Therefore, to ban The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from America's schools because it uses a demeaning term for African Americans is wrong"(Wilson).

a. It is morally reprehensible for Huck Finn to be banned because it would be ignoring history.
b. Even if Huckleberry Finn is changed to omit the N-word, it is still ignoring history because one cannot change the way people used to speak.
2. “…two books, Heather has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate, [are] examples of material that [do] not belong in most school libraries. The books were published in 1990, and address the issue of children with gay and lesbian parents…” (Wilson).

a. Parents want books that teach about gay and lesbian people to be banned.
b. Children need to learn about things sometime, and maybe not little kids, but by fourth grade students should be allowed to read these types of books.
C. Some people are indifferent on the topic, but still look into it.
1. Some inexperienced or uninformed people misunderstand the fact that free press does not allow for censorship unless the government approves it.
a. If a newspaper does not want to run a particular picture because of its graphic content it has edited, not censored the matter.
b. On the other hand, a school district that decides to ban a book from its library has in fact censored that library.
2. "The main reason why the book has come to play such a major role in the life of the mind in America is that students repeatedly run into it in the course of their formal education" (Lynn 482).

a. The banning of Huck Finn affects the way teachers teach it, and even has some teachers feeling uncomfortable, which shouldn't happen to an English teacher.
b. The book does not have to be banned or even be controversial in the first place, it all depends on how teachers teach it.

II. People and Authors alike have intense opinions about Mark Twain. A. There are top people and organizations that praise Twain.
1. "Another demonstration of Twain’s influence came in 1996 with the publication of the Oxford Mark Twain, a twenty-nine volume set of all the books Twain published in his lifetime. Each volume contains an introduction by a leading contemporary author, some of whom describe Twain’s importance in their discovery of literature and their own development as writers"(Influence 4).

a. Each volume has an introduction from writers like Kurt Vonnegut and Arthur Miller, both who honor Twain.
b. Oxford only pays tribute to the best, so now people should realize that Twain is amazing, not racist.
2. "...it may surprise some people to learn how highly Twain is regarded by serious literary critics. He is the subject of many biographies and countless works of literary analysis. Even more tellingly, he is held in extremely high esteem by other writers" (Influence 2).

a. Twain was a literary trailblazer who still has biographies and documentaries written about him.
b. In the eyes of modern American novelists, Twain is a God amongst...
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