Huck Finn Essay

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This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," Gribben, an Auburn University professor, told Publishers Weekly. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century." Gribben says that he arrived at the idea to delete references to the N-word from Huck Finn after giving talks about the book in the South. Following his lectures, educators would confide in him that they felt uncomfortable teaching a work to children with such offensive terminology. While I agree with Gribben that one word shouldn't prevent American schoolchildren from having access to a literary classic, I'm not sure that ridding Huck Finn of the N-word is the solution. Certainly, I'm not suggesting that teachers who feel uncomfortable with the slur be forced to teach Finn. However, those educators with a strong background in the period of American history in which Finn was written can use the classic as a way to teach students about the United States' ugly racial past. Removing the slur from the book whitewashes that history. It's important for students of all racial backgrounds to know the way African Americans and Native Americans were historically treated in the U.S. and how that history still influences race relations today. Publishers Weekly reports that Gribben has already ruffled feathers with his decision to make Finn more politically correct. Thomas Wortham, an academic at the University of California, Los Angeles, remarked that NewSouth's sanitized version of Finn, "doesn't challenge children [and their teachers] to ask, 'Why would a child like Huck use such reprehensible

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