Despite the controversy, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has literary value to share with high school students. It is because the work uses strong messages to criticize the system of slavery during the times of racism (Chadwick, 2000). For instance, Twain (n.d.) constantly highlights that Huck Finn and Jim are treated very differently even though both have escaped from people that are supposed to be responsible for them. Also, at the high-school age, it is essential to develop resistance to social pressure and the readiness to make one’s own choices independently. To some extent, the discussed book can promote these abilities by demonstrating an exceptional example of a mixed-race friendship that continues even though it runs counter to social norms of the time. Therefore, the work in question can be called valuable for high school students since it can teach them how to think independently and challenge obsolete and unjust social norms.
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The work can be listed among the books that require people to take up an attitude regarding the conflict between historical accuracy and today’s norms of communication. From my perspective, when reading the book with high school students, it is reasonable to prefer the original version. Many believe that removing only one offensive word changes the tone of the book and prevents an honest discussion of race and racism, and I find this position well-grounded (CBS, 2011). If the most offensive word is taken out of the book, it can distort the real picture of racial prejudice, division, and hatred in those days. Although many people find the controversial word really offensive, the removal of this word downplays the racial component of the slavery issue in the United States since the word “slave” can refer to anyone regardless of race. The use of the n-word by Mark Twain is what stresses critical topics and makes the discussions of race and injustice inevitable in the classroom. Such discussions can be positive and enable students to see historical mistakes in their true colors.
CBS. (2011). “Huckleberry Finn” and the N-word [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Chadwick, J. (2000). Why Huck Finn belongs in classrooms. Harvard Education Letter, 16(6). Web.
Twain, M. (n.d.). The adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer’s comrade). Glassbook.