The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Bad for the Modern Student

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Courtney Simich
English B4
12/19/12

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Bad for the Modern Student

For decades children and adults alike have been taught to refrain from using disrespectful racial slurs and treat one another as equals. One way this message is spread to the youth is through their schooling and education. What happens when material is presented in the classroom that in fact teaches just the opposite? This is evident in the teaching of the novel by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The novel uses racial slurs and derogatory language towards African Americans and takes place in a period in American history that has aspects that are best to be learned from. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be kept off the mandatory reading list because it is both outdated and uses racial slurs that are offensive, hurtful, and inappropriate for a learning environment.

Many justify the offensive nature of the novel with the point that we can’t shield our youth from the ugly side of history. This is valid, but The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn could also teach students to learn from the novel, not all in the best of ways. Offensive slurs such as “nigger” is already used widely outside the classroom, it should not be introduced inside the classroom as well. Students who are offended by these words should not be immersed in this type of language in and out of school against their will. What happened to choice? There are many other remarkable novels out there that students could read by their own choosing. This would eliminate the discomfort so much of our youth is complaining about when reading Mark Twain’s novel. If students got to pick the book they read off of a reading list rather than be forced to read one as controversial as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, not only would students stop complaining about the content but they might also be inclined to actually read the book rather than use summary websites such as Spark Notes....
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