While on their journey to freedom they develop a caring unusual friendship. There is a great deal of controversy over whether or not The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be taught in schools. Critics claim that the novel is an important piece of American literature and that it throws the reader into a time when slavery was lawful and accepted, and gives the reader a new perspective on slavery even if it has racial hints and discrimination.
Many people including myself believe, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, should not be taught in High Schools but instead taught in college because of immaturity among students, racism, and the dark use of slavery. Most of the students reading this novel are at a very immature age and are in some cases very sensitive to the material in the books. The students feel awkward and are often shocked while reading a book with repetitive use of the N- word and the discriminating words used towards the black slaves.
None of them are ready for the hatred and ridicule centered on one race in this novel, this is especially true for the African American students in a predominately white school. ‘What do dead white male authors know about your particular situation in this particular class? “(Toni Morris). Twain was ware of the African race, but he had no perspective of how they would feel towards his novel years after its release, it is demeaning and offensive to all black students who read it.
Skeptics say that students are already exposed to racial slurs because of social media and bullying outside of the classroom. Although this is true students are aware that it is not accepted in society and when they see it accepted in the novel they start to believe it is fine to say racial slurs in the “real world”. Even though some of the more mature and sophisticated can understand the role of racism in this book most students ill interpret it another way making it a good reason why Houck Finn should be taught in a higher level of education.
Racism is definitely a big deal in modern day America, society has tried to take on the seemingly impossible task of annihilating racism altogether in past couple of years. The problem with this novel is that it has a presence of racism towards Jim and the whole community of blacks. ” Your teacher will say straight off the bat that Mark Twain was not a racist; that his masterpiece is a story of reconciliation between the races and that it is filled with irony, riveting narrative, and evolutionary use of dialect”(Tort Morris).
The portrayer of Jim is one of the most racist aspects about the novel, Twain describes Jim as he saw black slaves: Jim has big lips, big eyes, and bear-like features, he IS naive, uneducated and ignorant. The stereotyping Fiji infuriates people like Tort Morris who believe the stereotyping is irritating ‘Even was the last time your white peers read a classic that stereotyped their kind” (Tort Morris).. Critics say that Twain used a technique of incorrect grammar and a different dialect for Jim to show that he was uneducated. To some extent this was true, but
Twain did this to feed the fantasy-vision that many whites have of themselves as superiors. Since the first publication of the novel, Twain’s perspective on slavery has been debated. Many say that Twain portrayed slavery as a walk in the park for the black slaves. This is a huge offence to the black community because of slaveries infamous history in society. What especially angers the audience is the fact that the novel was written during a reconstruction period in the country in which slaves had been freed by the Emancipation proclamation, but Twain still incorporated heavy use Of slave cruelty.
Even Hough the blacks were struggling for equality and acceptance at the time they were not taken seriously and were still segregated by the whites. Throughout the novel it is suggested that helping a slave is a very bad thing. “Should Houck free Jim and then be condemned to hell? “(The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Major themes). This decision is life-altering for Houck because it forces him to reject everything “civilization” has taught him. Houck chooses to free Jim based on his personal experiences rather than social norms, thus choosing the morality of the “natural life” over that of civilization.
In conclusion The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, should not be taught in High School because of the offensive racial presence, the immaturity of most if not all the students reading it, and the way this novel makes a mockery of slavery. Instead of it being read in High Schools the novel should be taught in colleges where the students have matured and are able to understand the way race is used in the book. The concerns of removing this novel from the course work of High Schools is understood, but the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of reading the novel.