Argumentative Essay Mark Twain Adventures of Huck Finn
Mark Twain is one of the favorite children’s writers. His books are easy to read, offering one interesting plots and giving readers sufficient mental pabulum. Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written in the 19th century, have become immortal classics forever. For centuries, people have been finding in Twain’s books much joy and reader’s contentment. Nevertheless, lately people have found something offensive in the writer’s most famous works. The editors of the New South Books publishing house uncovered the multiple usages of the N-word on the pages of Huckleberry Finn. They raised the issue of whether or not one should substitute and eliminate this word in the book. Though some part of society considers it offensive, the N-word should not be removed from the text of Huckleberry Finn.
To start with, there is a saying, “One has to tell the whole story without omitting any unpleasant part of it.” One cannot simply remove or replace the N-word because the N-word and the word “slave” have different meanings and diverse connotations. The N-word refers to a person of a color that is despised by such a term. The N-word does not mention any sort of relationship with other people. Neither has it indicated one’s lifestyle. Meanwhile, the word “slave” can refer to any human of any race. This term indicates the lifestyle that is deprived of freedom. Besides, the word “slave” implies a particular relationship between the two people, one of which is the owner, and the other one is a slave. Therefore, the substitute of the word would slightly change the entire context of Huckleberry Finn.
Then, the removal of the N-word would distort the main author’s intent. Mark Twain used puts it,
Twain’s goal was to show the ugliness and evilness of slavery and to do that he had to use the rawest, racist language of his day. This guaranteed that the book and the language he used would […] draw… protests.
Therefore, if Mark Twain would use some neutrally charged words, he would not acquire the desired effect.
Apart of that, Huckleberry Finn is a part of cultural heritage of the nation. The language of the book depicts America’s past, something that was true to the time in which Mark Twain was writing. The author could not hide that element of America’s racial heritage by wiping out the elements of racial prejudice from the language. One of the strong supporters of preserving the N-word is Earl Hutchinson. According to him, with using the N-word,
In addition, changing the classical work can contribute to the following wave of changing other classical works. There are many books that some parts of society may find offensive due to different reasons. Poor people may demand to rewrite the books that refer to the poor in an offensive manner, and Christians may demand to eliminate offensive words in the classical works of writers-atheists. Nonetheless, no one has the right to rewrite a classical work. First, it seems as a violation of intellectual property and violation of the freedom of speech. Second, it sets a bad example for imitation. The changes in Huckleberry Finn may lead to greater changes in literature.
Others may disagree with this opinion, finding the usage of the N-word offensive. There is a great part of society that holds this opinion. Philip Rawls points to an interesting statistics: “Published in the U.S. in 1885, “Huck Finn” is the fourth most banned book in schools, according to “Banned in the U.S.A.” by Herbert N. Foerstal, a retired college librarian who has written several books on First Amendment issues”. The same author refers to different complaints of parents and students and even lawsuits that were initiated by those who consider the N-word offensive. However, as Laura Schlessinger points out, “the word is just that — a word — and has no value or power to hurt, maim or defame other than what someone gives it”. While people concentrate on the negative charge of the word and its form, people forget about the content of the entire book.
To conclude, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn still remains one of the most readable books in the world. Whether one bans it or not, it continues to be the classics of American literature. As a part of cultural heritage of America and a classic work, the book deserves to be preserved without the changes. The substitute of the N-word may slightly change the entire context of Huckleberry Finn, distort the main author’s intent and lead to the greater changes in the entire American literature. Because of that, the N-word should not be removed from the text of Huckleberry Finn. After all, “the word is just a word.” Maybe it is time for people to stop blaming Mark Twain for offensive language and concentrate on the content instead of the form.