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The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn Essay

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a book full of controversy and debate. Some will agree that this is a classic too rudimentary for anyone to read, with its bad grammar and discriminating texts. But others believe that this book, which is rich with irony and satire, is a book that everybody should read. True, it is almost impossible to grasp Twain's satirical style and techniques; but once you read underneath the surface of his words this is a book you'll agree is an all time American classic.

This book and the argument about whether it should be used in schools to teach has been going on for a while. Many people believe that students should not be forced to read something they feel makes them feel inferior to anyone else. But to the people reading the book, they need to realize that to understand the book you can't just read off the surface. Twain's books aren't just about the words on paper. It's about how a boy comes to realization about how chaotic society is. Twain portrays Huck as a young innocent boy who doesn't understand the adult world. This is not, as many people would think, ignorance. This is satire against society and education to show the kind of education that children were getting. Twain's satire against society and education throughout the book helps get his message across to the reader about what things were like, and what a boy like Huck went through.

Agreed, the grammar in the book does make the story hard to understand, but that is what makes the book what it is. The discriminating texts in the book give the book the meaning Twain tries to get across to his readers. The "n-word" was the operative term that was used to define a black person back in those days. It seems as if American society is so caught up with racial conflicts, they don't try to consider understanding the book. If the book had to be rewritten with correct grammar and spelling, and the "n-word" replaced with a different word, it is very doubtful that the book would still be a classic. The people who refuse to read and understand the book do not seem understand that. The book has solid messages that uncover the mistreatment of human beings based on the color of their skin. It shows Huck's view about Jim change, as they become fast friends.

"If kids can read the Bible about rape, murder, incest etc, then why can't they read this book?" (Born to Trouble video) This point is proven in the video that we watched. Twain's works are not as bad as the vulgar messages being presented in the Bible, so if students shouldn't read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn then why should they read the Bible? Sometimes, students aren't mature enough to handle the meaning of the book. Sometimes, they have to learn about the strategies that Twain uses to understand what messages Twain is trying to get across when using his satirical style of writing. If they understood his styles, they'd be able to read about how Huck considers Jim as a friend, and almost a fatherly figure. Huck doesn't think highly of himself when compared to Jim. Instead, he thinks of themselves as equal. He does not give into the way society molds kids' minds to be like everyone else's.

In a way, the people who speak up about this issue are being side-blinded. High school students use the "n-word" as if it is part of their normal everyday vocabulary, but not many people speak up about that. It's actually pretty funny that they don't say anything about that, but when it comes to required reading, if they see the word in the book, they speak up. There are movies out today that have that word being used, but you don't see many protestors about those movies. Granted, the people using the word are most of the time, black, but that doesn't make the word any less meaningful. They make it seem like it is okay for blacks themselves to use the "n-word", but when it comes to other people saying it, it's an insult. How is it any different? If blacks use the word, that just makes it okay for whites, Asians or Hispanics to say it. The kids put meaning to the word, and that's what hurts. It's not the word itself; it's the way the word is used. If the word had a different meaning, I'm pretty sure Twain's book would not be a subject of controversy as it is.

Jane Smiley believes that Uncle Tom's Cabin is better than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by saying that it's "the power of brilliant analysis married to great wisdom of feeling" meaning that not only does the book have great analysis, that details the everyday life of a slave, but it also gives off a feeling of true meaning to the book. She says that Stowe gets underneath the surface of what the slaves being described in Uncle Tom's Cabin (and just in that time period in general) have experienced. She thinks of Uncle Tom's Cabin as a tragedy that has "no whitewash, no secrets, but evil, suffering, imagination, endurance and redemption - just like life," saying that Uncle Tom's Cabin is comparable to life with so much more detail than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Smiley compliments Stowe on her use of dialogue, saying that Mark Twain could have taken a page out of Stowe's book, and use dialogue the same way Stowe did. She does not think that Mark Twain did a good job on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because she said all he had to do to make the book so great was make the main character of the book (Huck Finn) realize that his sidekick (Jim) is human, and it becomes a classic. She argues that Twain does not go deeper into detail about the history and what the slaves were really feeling in those times.

Agreed, Smiley does make a point, saying the dialogue of the book could be better, but like stated earlier, the dialogue reflects the way things were back then. It reflects how people talked and how people interacted with each other and it adds a sort of important asset to the whole reading experience of the book. Without it, it would just seem like another modern book not quite worthy of the attention of all Americans. But when Smiley criticizes the Twain's book, saying that Stowe's book is a lot better, you have to wonder why. Twain's book is just as good as Uncle Tom's Cabin minus the whole dialogue issue, and if anything, could be better because of the dialogue.

In the Born to Trouble video, a student said "I shouldn't be forced to read something that makes me feel inferior to anyone." But when you really think about it, what about history books? Those books talk about how slaves were treated and how long it took for everyone to get equal rights.



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