The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Censorship

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"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." (Mark Twain) Throughout the last hundred years, Mark Twain's famous American novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been the center of a heated debate. This argument is centered around the allowance of the book in the curriculum of public schools. Many people from many different interest groups have stated their opinion about the book and the argument, presenting various pertinent arguments; however, the debate remains heated even more than a hundred years after the novel was originally published.

On one side of debate is those opposed to the novel's prominent position in schools. In fact many maintain that it should not be taught at all. This position is widely held. One such opposer is Beatrice Clark, an African American and grandmother of a student in a school system where the book is taught, believes that the book is unacceptable because of the language in it. She finds the use of the N-word, which is used more than 600 times, inflammatory and offensive. "That word, in the history of America, has always been a degrading word toward African Americans. When they were brought to America, they were never thought of as human beings in the first place, and this word was something to call a thing that wasn't humans," says Beatrice. Charles Spokes, president of the NAACP believes that the word is not only unacceptable because of its offensive connotations, but also causes trouble in current relations between racial groups. "What you're saying is those words are OK, but they're not OK to a group of people," he states. This issue with the language in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the major concern of the opposing party.

Another significant argument is that Jim is portrayed as ignorant, and the African race in general as presented as lacking in value. Throughout the novel many, including John H. Wallace, find that Jim is represented in an...
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