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Writing A Huck Finn Debate: Should it be banned?


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I was wondering this a long time. Many say that Huck Finn should be banned from school curriculum and library shelves all because of Huck's bad behavor and the offensive word, ******, used several times in the book.
Just as there are people against the book, there are many for it. The people that are for it say that it is a classic. It is a part of history. Also, Mark Twain, the author of the book, wrote this classic right before the civil war. A time where slavery was alright in society.

The question is this...where do you stand? Are on the side wanting to ban the book, or are you on the side of wanting to keep it available for future generations?
Let the debate begin....

[Just a reminder. Let us be mature about this. Keep your head cool]

I'll state my thoughts about the issue once people reply.
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[color=indigo][size=1][font=comic sans ms]The whole "Huck behaves badly" argument has absolutly no merit, in my opinion. Plenty of literary characters behave "badly"; so what?

Now, as for racial tensions, I might not fully understand the situation, because I'm Anglo-American. One the one hand, I don't think ignoring historial context and pretending that the past didn't occurr is going to help anybody.

On the other, bigots in America still use deragatory names for minorities, and it might be very unpleasant for African-American children who read it.

However, is that justification to ban an entire book? Isn't that censorship? Wouldn't it be so much easier to simply print "School friendly" versions with the offensive word removed?

My question is, why do I only ever hear this debate over Huck Finn, and never over To Kill A Mockingbird, or All the King's Men, etcetera?[/color][/size][/font]
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I read this book when I was in the 10th grade and while the use of the "N-Word" is plentiful, god knows even overly-repetative at times, I see no need to ban it. Forgetting (or ignoring) history is man's first step to repeating it.
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I believe what you are saying I am African-American myself also Native American even though it does use the N word alot its a pretty good book that people can learn from. Banning it would be like forgetting something from America's past and we learn from the past DeathBug you are right there are other books that use words that people consider wrong and prejudice like the N word, but they weren't thought to be like that during the times of the books making people need to realize that and stop trying to censor classic books that have been around for many years.
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[size=1][color=red] [i]Huck Finn[/i] is a realistic novel depicting how things, well, [i]realistcally[/i] were back then.

People [i]used[/i] the word ****** when talking of blacks. A child back then, such as Huck is, would say these things.

If there's anything you need to do when writing. . .it's telling the truth.

When I slam my hand on a nail, and it hurts like hell, I don't scream, "Oh, sugar."

I scream, "****!" loudly, and in angiush and pain.

If your character says what he says, then let him say it.

There's no merit in a ban on this book at all. It's just stupid to me.

What I've said is quite obvious I'd say, but anyway. I don't see any other way to it: there's nothing wrong with [i]Huck Finn[/i], and it especially shouldn't be banned.

[i]Huck Finn[/i] is a realistic novel which portrays how it was back then. And people back then did say, and talk like what they do in the book.

Blacks talked ignorantly. Such as Jim's, "Dog my cats ef I din't hear sumthin." Or whatever else.

This gives a realistic portrayl of how things were. I certainly, back in that time period, wouldn't see many negroes walking around saying, "These interdicted chains! O dear lord, why hath thee forsaken me?"

But whatever. People are stupid and overjudicious and will ban things.

It's just like with anything I guess.

I still think it's pretty stupid.

I mean. . .Twain has a reason for using ****** in the book. He just doesn't haplessly use it like he's having fun using it. It's actually used in a context that doesn't do much else but give the novel more realism.[/size][/color]
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i agree with it not being banned.
This book is a part of history that needs to be told. If we pretended that slavery never happened then how are we suppossed to learn from it?

This goes for any part of history, as many of you know it means His Story.
Those who don't learn from it are doomed to repeat it.
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[color=green]I love the book [i]Huck Finn[/i]. I totally agree with Mitch. The use of the word ****** is in the book because it was used then. It is a very realistic work of fiction. If you can't look past the use of one word and see the true meaning of the story, I might just weep for your thickheadedness.

People who want to ban the book should do a little research into Mark Twain. He was a very politcal man, and a satirist. His views on slavery are not overtly manefest in the words, but are definitely apparent. He was a Northern sympathizer, he did not condone slavery. The entire book, readers are hoping that Jim gets to Cairo and his family, and that is the direction that Twain wanted them to take.

Has anyone read [u]The Prince and the Pauper[/u], another Twain work? He again takes on society and the class system. He didn't write frivolous books about nothing. He aways had a point, but put it across in a subtle, enjoyable way.

The arguement of Huck being badly behaved, that makes me laugh. Huck had an abusive father and lived alone, completely fending for himself for a long time. It's not an easy life. Do people want to ban books about homeless kids now who lie, cheat, steal, or sell themselves to survive? It's not quite the same level, but I hope that I make a point. Adolescent boys are angsty... At least he's outside and not in front of a TV all the time, not that TVs were around at the time.

As to banning books, is society back to that point? At my public Library they put a display of books people have attempted to ban over the years. I find it ridiculous some of the titales. Huck Finn is always among them. (On a side note, so is Farenheit 451, the irony of which I find hilarious.) To not allow people the choice of being able to read it and make up their own minds on matters such as these would be criminal. [/color]
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[FONT=Book Antiqua][SIZE=1][COLOR=DarkOrchid]I can't believe they're trying to ban these timeless books (some timeless) books from public libraries.

But the public school ban list I've known about for a while. Though the choice is up to the school district.

The reason for these is the public relations people are trying not to get sued for carrying books that people consider to have racism inside. Like the rest of the people in this discussion have said, it's how it was back then.

I agree with Mitch's statement about language. It's much more effective to use some kind of taboo words to convey your' feelings than some subdued "Golly gee, that smarts" language.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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[font=Verdana][size=1]I haven't actually read Huck Finn, so I really can't say whether or not it's unacceptable, but I find that in most cases like these, banning the book is just silly.It's denying a part of history, which is just ridiculous.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]So I'm not really in favour of banning books. Even if something is controversial -- which Huck Finn wasn't meant to be, I think? It wasn't written just so that people could talk about racism, anyway. -- everyone is entitled to their own opinion.[/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1]So I stand on the side of the future generations. Even though I don't belong to America, our kids still need to know what happened, why, and why we shouldn't treat people badly -- and that is one of those reasons..[/size][/font]
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This is kinda one-sided ain't it? :)

Okay, I think we need to get some perspective here. In most discussions about Huck Finn the question is not an outright ban. That wouldn't even be consitutional, free speech and all. The debate is often brought up in the school context. So perhaps some of you can think of situations in which it might or might not be a good idea. Here are three starting points:

1) Should Huck Finn be banned from school libraries? Remember the government pays for those books (assuming it is a state school), so whether or not your parents' (and taxpayers in general) tax dollars should be spent buying such a book may be relevant to your discussion.

2) What about Junior High schools, where the kids are generally under 16?? Is it really suitable for children under 16? Remember to have a book in the school library implies that the school, in a sense, 'promotes' that book, by making it available for kids to read.

If you let it on the shelves of High Schools and not Junior High, what are you saying about children under 16? Are you protecting them or patronising them?

3) Even if you allow Huck Finn into the libraries of schools, the final question is, do you allow him on the curriculum, that is, should Huck Finn be on the list of books that are taught in schools?? Remember, the books on this list are all deemed great works and suitable for teaching school children. They are held up as examples of outstanding literature. With all the racial tensions in Huck Finn, should that book be held up as such an example at school level??
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[quote]1) Should Huck Finn be banned from school libraries? Remember the government pays for those books (assuming it is a state school), so whether or not your parents' (and taxpayers in general) tax dollars should be spent buying such a book may be relevant to your discussion.

2) What about Junior High schools, where the kids are generally under 16?? Is it really suitable for children under 16? Remember to have a book in the school library implies that the school, in a sense, 'promotes' that book, by making it available for kids to read

3) Even if you allow Huck Finn into the libraries of schools, the final question is, do you allow him on the curriculum, that is, should Huck Finn be on the list of books that are taught in schools?? Remember, the books on this list are all deemed great works and suitable for teaching school children. They are held up as examples of outstanding literature. With all the racial tensions in Huck Finn, should that book be held up as such an example at school level??.[/quote]

[color=green]Ah, trying to liven things up a bit in here, are we? Much aprreciated.

Before I answer the individual questions, I would like to make a point that Huck Finn is not a racist book. Yes, it does have a shocking amount of the word ****** in it, but that does not make it racist. It is realism, as Mitch pointed out. It is a story that teaches us to see people as that, people. Not a slave or black or white or rich, see them as people. Also in the Book Huck learns to tell right from wrong. The entire book is one person helping another in a situation: Jim helping Huck escape his father, Huck Helping Jim to get to Cairo to reunite with his family, and a few more examples, but my fingers are already tired.

1) All public libraries are subsidized some way through a government system, whether it is municiple, state ot federal. To start saying that a government funded library should have a list of books they don't or won't carry is just sad and in some cases scary. As to schools, they are different than a public library, yes, in that they have a more select audience that they cater to. To tell you the truth, I never got anything from my school libraries that I didn't [i]need[/i] for a class. It wasn't the place I went to find recreational books. There are some people who do though, and a lot of those people are word hungry bookworms, I would imagine. I am getting lost in thought here.

If read in its entirenty, I, personally, don't see where the book can be thought of as racist. It when quotes are removed or taken out of context that people think that the book is a racial tention. To protect the book, it should be left in libraries

2) I first read Huck Finn in seventh grade. It was on a list of recommended reading. Wierd how things change. I understood the points then, and I don't like to think that I was very much ahead of the mental standings of seventh graders, then or now...
I think to have it blacklisted to middle schoolers is silly. Of course, I think blacklisting at all is silly. This question though is a valid point. There is material not suitable for younger people, I just don't think that this is it.

3)I think Huck Finn is a great literary work, and I think it holds a great many lessons, as to people and setting and history. It has a lot of potential for school lessons, but it is easily misunderstood, as this thread shows. I think it should be available, but not forced on teachers, especially those teachers that feel they wouldn't know how to handle questions about society at the time and the use of the word ******.

I think i've repeated myself enough for today. [/color]
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The book isn't really any more racist that the era in which it was written. I think this topic has been beaten to death by various people involved and it mostly mirrors the points made here. ****** was a common-place word in those days. While it of course had a negative connotation, simply using it did not always signify some sort of deep-rooted racial tention. In fact, I remember hearing that Twain was not even remotely racist himself.

Like was said, this is a case of people jumping the gun. There are groups that feel any remote reference to the word warrants some sort of crusade against it.

A good example... a couple years back, a man used the word "niggardly" in one of his speeches. It basically means petty in spending. A group of people were up in arms over the word and wanted the man fired. Nevermind the fact that the word is spelled differently and has absolutely nothing to do with that in the first place. It [I]sounded [/I]like ****** and that was enough for them to get riled up over it.

I also remember when Manson released Antichrist Superstar. In a review I read, someone claimed it to be racist. Apparently the line "Everybody's someone else's ******. I know you are, so am I. I wasn't born with enough middle fingers. I don't need to choose a side." was the verse in question.

Now maybe it's just me, but I think anyone with a brain would read the context surrounding the word and see it as something completely different. I've never taken that in a racist sense. It always seemed to be making the point that everyone is hated by someone else, obviously for petty reasons. Of course, the appearance of that word ruins the point completely for people who aren't willing to see past it.

Same deal with this book, really. It's one thing if a book is hatefilled and uses this word in such a way that is rather unjustifiable. Huck Finn is not one of those.
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Well, just wanted to offer my two cents on this issue.

I read the censored book and didn't know that the book contained the n-word until I listened to it on tape, which was horrendous. :eek:

The story is a good one, and should not be banned. In elementary schools, the n-word might need to be explained or censored, however the teachers see fit. The book might not be suitable for the curriculum however, or might need parental consent.

Just my .32 cents (hhehehe)
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I'm kind of divided on this issue.

On one hand, the word ****** is offensive and racist and shouldn't be used in any book, TV show, etc.
Now, on the other, it IS part of history and of course, back in that time there still were slaves, which 'justifies' the subject. Put simply: People were ignorant back then. Specifically the whites.
So, from this you can see I don't know what to think. Maybe it should just be censored. But banning the book wouldn't do much good.
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[color=firebrick] Banning a book like [b]Huck Finn[/b] because of his bad behaviour and the 'N' word would be destroying the beauty of literature. With those reasons, [b]To Kill a Mockingbird[/b] could be banned. And with the terms that a book could be banned for some words or a usually unacepted theme would mean the banning of tons of books: [b]Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, Farenheit 451, etc.[/b] How stupid? Very.

A book like [b]Huck Finn[/b] isn't slander or insults propelled towards blacks, it's just elements that play part of the real story that's going on. I think it's disgusting that people are even considering it, I'm already pissed off because now in Georgia, teachers can't say the words 'slavery' or 'evolution' unless they're at a university or college. This is like those people who are trying to get [b]Harry Potter[/b] banned everywhere because they think it encourages the worshipping of Satan or whatever the hell that's going through they're minds.[/color]
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I believe some of the books you've mentioned (To Kill a Mockingbird in particular) have been brought up in censoring crusades as well. They've not been ignored heh.

In any case, these movements can't really prohibit people from buying books themselves. They usually seem to target what is available for reading in public schools. I really don't think it should be an issue, but I can't speak for everyone obviously.
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