Reaction to N Word

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Kevin Bayhon Mrs. Mancini American Lit / 6 12 September 2012 Reaction Paper for “The N Word” Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, contains language that causes a unique reading experience but also causes a controversy. The diction and especially the dialogue, Twain uses sets a unique tone. It includes “the N word”. This has been a controversy whether this type of language is appropriate to be taught in schools. Lorrie Moore describes this situation in her article and how “the N word” should be changed to “slaves”. I think this word should be kept. The N word needs to be interpreted differently. Schools and teachers need to understand the meaning behind this word before concluding whether it is appropriate to teach or not. When I first read this novel, the first thing that popped out to me was the language the characters were using. It was contained numerous slang terms and phrases, including, “by and by”, “cuss”, to “make fast” and much more. The dialogue between characters or even how Huck Finn narrated the novel was a unique reading experience. When “the N word” was first used, I didn’t mind at all. This word was part of the language used back then. Some people see this word and conclude it’s an inappropriate word. In result, people like Moore are trying to switch the N word to “slave”. I think Mark Twain used this word to make the reader more indulged in the book. This may be an inappropriate word in some cases in today’s society, but it helps the novel’s plot and characters come to life. “The N word” has many meanings. It can be used as an insult or an act of love. The N word’s meaning has changed greatly since this time period. Teachers should make this different meaning aware in their classrooms so students understand why this isn’t an inappropriate book. In this novel it was used as a term to describe African Americans or slaves.

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