Slavery In Huck Finn

699 Words3 Pages
Censorship and history: inherently incompatible
“It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for it afterwards, neither” (Twain 91). Slavery has been one of the most influential and shameful institutions in the history of America. From the proliferation of chattel slavery to its eventual downfall, the “peculiar institution” of slavery has been a crucial driving force in the history of the United States. Despite substantial improvement in race relations in America, there is still tremendous racial tension in American society. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, an antebellum-era novel by Mark Twain, has faced rigid criticism for its use of the n-word, but also
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By exposing Southern hypocrisy and the absurdity of slavery, Twain’s novel was pivotal in affecting Americans’ perception of black freedmen after the Gilded Age. For example, when Huck befriends Jim and realizes that they have more in common than that which divides them, Huck exclaims “I knowed he was white inside” (Twain 301). Twain’s unique satire hides ravaging social commentary behind his realistic anecdotes, helping further the cause of humanizing beat-down slaves, or “niggers.” Huck Finn is an iconic novel that must be taught to students in order to ensure our future students do not forget the enduring struggle of the African American community against prejudice and discrimination nor the damaging attitudes of intolerant Americans during the antebellum era. Huck Finn is a well-crafted, pragmatic narrative on the horrific consequences of slavery which provides students a bridge to understanding the far-reaching consequences of racism. As articulated by David Bradley on CBS’s 60 Minutes segment on Huck Finn, teaching the full, uncensored, “shocking” novel is the only way to maximize its message. Removing the n-word or banning the novel only prevents teachers and students from engaging in productive conversations that allow classrooms around the country to accurately discuss the sensitive topic of race in a safe

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