Why Huckleberry Finn Should Be Allowed to Be Read in Public Schools

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The novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a snapshot into antebellum America. It embodies the spirit of the South and portrays it as most saw it; be it racist or not. When the novel is viewed as a whole, it is one of the greatest pieces of American literature. The novel is, in short, appropriate for the classroom setting, and should continue to be taught in the public school system.

The problem, however, is that some people do not see it that way. They focus on the book's use of the word ‘nigger', and the racism in it (in a sense, ‘selective reading'). They do not seem to comprehend that, though it is fiction, it is set in a real time period, and its characters and their actions could have easily been as real as the mighty Mississippi.

Racism is not the focus of the book. The book is based on, as the books title so bluntly puts it, the adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The racism in the book is background information, but it is still very important, because if it were left out than Twain would be giving a false account of life before the American Civil War. One thing worse than slavery is trying to ignore it and forget it ever happened (by leaving it out of the book), but even more terrible would be to sugarcoat it and give a false history, making slavery and racism seem like a mere footnote in American history, and in doing so making it seem insignificant or even like it was a good thing.

Those who choose to ‘selectively read' the book will not realize that Huck was not a racist, he just didn't know any better. He treated Jim with more respect than anyone else; even other slaves were more racist toward each other than Huck was toward Jim. After all, Huck remembers Jim and their friendship and warmth. He imagines Jim not as a slave, but as a human being. So what is it that those who oppose to Huckleberry Finn have a problem with? Do they think that Twain himself was a racist?

No, that is not the issue either. Though they may think that...
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