Use Of The "N-Word" In Huckleberry Finn

1182 Words5 Pages
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Essay Assignment The use of the “n-word” in Huckleberry Finn has recently been an issue to students and teachers that read this novel in class. The word “nigger” shows up over two hundred times in the book. The publisher, New South Books decided to change the word to “slave”, which has caused much controversy. “Translating” the text has helped teachers and students feel more comfortable with reading the book, but it is argued that changing “nigger” to “slave” takes away the original meaning, and causes the story to become unclear. Although, changing the word to “slave” prevents issues concerning the “n-word” and changes the text so it is less offensive to readers. This may be true, but I believe the use of the word in the story plays an important part in fully understanding the necessary points in the story. Some people are unsure of how to handle the use of the n-word in the story, and some understand that using it is accurate because it demonstrates to the reader how people spoke during the time the book was written, which modifies the setting. I believe New South Books was not justified in changing “nigger” to “slave” because it alters the meaning of the story, and makes it harder for the reader to completely absorb the text. The uneasiness the “n-word” creates in class is important because it causes teachers and students to face the word and discuss their feelings about it, which is an important conversation. Ignoring the word or choosing not to read it because it is offensive and people are too uncomfortable to read it gives the word more power. To take away this power, we must acknowledge the word which degrades its offensiveness and helps people deal with it. “The understandable discomfort the word “nigger” causes students and teachers is a part of a conversation; part of the point of reading that book in school is to have
Open Document