Friday, April 1, 2011

Huckleberry Finn does it again

This past Sunday, CBS News/60 Minutes had a segment on Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and the use of the N-word,  A publishing company in Alabama edited out the N-word and replaced it with the word, "slave". They did that because of the controversy over the use of the N-word and the threat of banning the book in the school district.

Literature remains classic because of what was written and how it was written. If one changes the author's intent by changing the words, it is no longer the author's writing and the revision changes the message, thereby robbing the writing of it's classic appeal. So I believe that the N-word should remain in its original form. More important, the classroom teacher should take the time to use the controversy as a 'teachable moment' thereby educating the students not only with great literature but with sensitivity to diversity in our world. Huckleberry Finn is a classic because it still causes one to pause and think, hopefully to grow in the experience.


Anonymous said...

right on

Lucy said...

Hey there you are the second one to start writing on your blog. What thoughts do you have about the "so called minmister" who burned the Koran and now there is vandalism to the site where they want to build a mosque. Why do white people think they are the only "perfect" people on this earth. It was a white man thart blre up the Oklahoma building. Also white man that shot Pres. Kenedy and I am not sure I would want to bve in the same community those people were in last night. I hate demonstrations anyway. The teachers in Wisconsin, the tea partiers, and vigilantes that exist all over.

Jane said...

It's a long time since I read Huck Finn, but I cannot recall that the word 'nigger' was used in a way which meant that it was irreplacable with a synonym, which for that time and place would correctly be 'slave'. If something causes really grave offence because of the associations the word may carry and if that word can be replaced without altering the meaning of the text, then why not replace it rather than knowingly cause offence?

Lucy - that ex furniture salesman 'pastor' who burned the Koran should be charged with causing the deaths of the murdered people because he knew when he did it what the outcome would be yet went ahead anyway. He committed murder by proxy for the sake of some media attention. I wish that he could be 'renditioned' to Mazar I Shariff and see how brave he is when it's his own life at stake.