Ever since it was written in 1884, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been a controversial book. Mark Twain’s purpose in writing the book may have been to entertain us with the adventures of a young boy named Huck as he tries to escape his abusive father; but since the book is set in Missouri before the Civil War, the plot includes many references to slavery. As a result, there has been a long-standing debate about whether or not the book should be read in schools. Currently, the book is widely read in public schools throughout the United States, however, it Should Not Be Banned From Public School Curriculums For Several Reasons. The sentences in the book contain realistic dialect, Huck is a typical model for teenagers, and slaves are positively depicted and given freedom.
To begin, the book is filled with uniquely structured sentences and realistic dialogue of the time period. Huck Finn, the narrator and main character of the story, makes comments such as “I waked up early” and “looky here.” Jim, the slave Huck helps to escape, has equally poor language skills which was common for many slaves. Furthermore, John Smith, a well-respected linguist, tells teachers that students often develop better writing and speaking habits when they read stories that contain atrocious grammar. As a result, the book will have a positive impact on the language development of youngsters.
In addition, the books main character, Huck, may have a positive impact on the morals of today’s youth. Huck is a model teenager as he encounters many different types of people and situations throughout the novel. For example, when Huck meets the Grangerford family, he tells them that his name is George Jackson because he does not want to get caught. When Huck decides to tear up the letter to Miss Watson, he shows he cares about Jim’s freedom and doing the right thing. In the end, his decisions show that teenagers are capable of maintaing good morals and ethics. Thus, how can a character who portrays a realistic teenager personality possibly be a negative influence on young people? (Example of a RHETORIAL QUESTION)
Most importantly, the book should not be banned from schools because it portrays slaves as being smart and earning freedom. Jim is easily fooled when Huck insists the slave has dreamed that they were separated in the fog. Nat, another slave, is very superstitious. He believes that tying his hair up will ward off witches. In fact, there are no intelligent black characters within the novel. Furthermore, the novel perpetuates the notion that blacks always eat watermelon when Huck says “Well it wasn’t for a dog. Because part of it was watermelon,” as he tries to find Jim on the plantation. Tom Johnson, a noted sociologist, states that in order to destroy racism in our country, people must forget the stereotypes burned into their brains by novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
IN SHORT, the debate over whether or not to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be ended today. Take it out of the curriculum! It is helpful to our youth because it teaches them improper grammar, immoral values, and racist thinking.