Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Huckleberry debacle

By now you've heard about a new edition of Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" being published without a certain offensive word. The book is out of copyright, so anyone can do anything they want to it, and some think it's a good idea to reissue the classic without words some wouldn't want to use in the presence of others. The RedBlueAmerica columnists weighed in on Monday's editorial page, with differing opinions: that it should be available only in college or that it should be taught early and often.

I read "Huck Finn" in my 11th grade honors English class and loved it. There was plenty of discussion in my class about whether it was appropriate to read despite the language used. I felt the same then as I do now: The book is more than appropriate to teach to high-schoolers. I even wrote a paper on it (titled "To all baselessly intolerant of fine literature: Huck you") about how it was a great book despite the repeated use of a word I can't stand.

As many people much smarter than I have already stated, Twain's work is a well-written classic that depicts the state of the country at the time he wrote it. High school classes should teach more than readin', writin' and 'rithmetic. It's so important for young minds to learn about history and society, and how things have changed (for better or for worse). I understand that some parents might not feel it's appropriate for their children to read that kind of language, but that doesn't give them the right to censor the material for other people's children. Actually, having a version of the book without the offending word is probably a great way for high schools to teach Mark Twain to the students, who could have the option of reading it however their parents feel it's appropriate.

It's great when books are out of copyright and can be modified in creative ways (like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"), and I think this should be looked at as an opportunity for "Huckleberry Finn" to reach more people who otherwise would not have picked up the great American novel.

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home