Banning books comes from the understanding that it will protect student’s minds from literature that is deemed to be a concern in libraries. Many books are banned because they have racial reasons, violence, or an opposing view of the person trying to ban the book. You will see most books being banned in high school libraries because of the need for adults to censor and protect student’s minds. When a student goes into their high school library they should have the opportunity to go in and be able to pick and choose whatever book they want to read. High school is when students begin to think for themselves, so others should not be the one to withhold books from them because they believe it will not benefit them. Some of the books are even banned or challenged in a student’s curriculum. Books that have been part of high school curriculum for years are now being removed because of the things that are discussed in them. There are several cases where a book will be banned because of a sentence or word in the book. However, the books that are banned for that reason are award-winning books and have a deeper message in them. One of those books is the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huckleberry Finn does not deserve its place on the Banned Booklist, in the book the use of the N-word is justified
Huckleberry Finn is an amazing piece of literature written by a writer named Mark Twain. This story is considered a classic and sells almost 200,000 copies each year. The story is told through a young kid named Huck’s life. Huck turns away from his father Pap house after getting abused. Huck sets sail on a canoe to Jackson’s Island where he finds Jim, a slave. Throughout the rest of the story you see Jim and Huck become close friends as they face difficult tasks, they lose each other multiple times but they always end up finding each other. Even when Jim is found by people that want to put him back in slavery, Huck is there to protect him. As you are probably wondering why this classic of a book would be banned, it is banned for the simple fact that the N-word is said multiple times throughout the entire story. However, if you remember the time period that this book was written in, the language goes with it. That type of language was unfortunately common in this divided time period. This book is fiction, however, the events that happen in the time period are not so Twain wants the reader to understand how things were back then. The book should not be banned from the library because even though the subject of the book is difficult to read it is important that we remember the time period it was written in. If books are banned to try to shield students’ minds from difficult topics, how do you expect them to do well when they leave high school? Reading books with difficult topics prepare students to think for themselves and understand the world that they are about to be released into. Even though people want Huckleberry Finn to be banned, it is an interesting piece of literature to read. The theme behind the story is well put together, it should stay in libraries.
One place that Huckleberry Finn was challenged is Duluth, Minnesota. Schools in Duluth will not read the book in English class, however, the books are still accessible in the school’s library (Louwagie). In Wynnewood, Pennsylvania a Montgomery County School has also dismissed the book from being taught. In both school districts, Huckleberry Finn was taken out of the classroom setting because it made students uneasy while reading it (McDaniel). All the time schools have to make tough decisions that will benefit the school and students as a whole. They also have to deal with parents, so when a book is challenged or banned a lot of people will be affected. Which is why a decision like this should not be taken lightly. When the school has to make a decision they have two choices. They have the choice of choosing to remove the book or keeping it despite the complaints. These choices come with consequences no matter what choice they pick. If they choose to keep the book in the library the people who want it gone will be angered. They will probably try to fight against the book, even though most people who fight have not fully read the book. Now if the book is removed the people who challenged the book will be pleased. But what about the students who choose to read the book? When a decision is made we must trust that the student’s education is the main priority. Huckleberry Finn has been around for a while and if this book did more harm than good, it would have been removed a long time ago. Reading this book will not do any harm to the student, it provides them with an excellent piece of literature that they should have the opportunity to read.
In Huckleberry Finn, the N-word is used multiple times, a word that comes from one of America’s lowest times. During the time that this book was published America was a racially divided nation. It was a time of oppression and injustice. A time in which the use of the N-word was normalized to degrade African Americans. Antonio Aiello who is a Banned Books week Coordinators says that this subject will forever be a hard subject to discuss because of America’s history of racism (McDaniel). Talking about this piece of history can be a hard thing for students to hear about. To be able to discuss complicated topics is a right that schools should take advantage of (Tomer). Students learn the most in a school setting, it is where they learn the majority of the things that they know. Huckleberry Finn should be kept in the libraries for the reason that it is a part of history and it teaches us how America used to be. It also gives us the chance to comprehend America’s past and how we choose to move forward in the world (Sawyer). When we look at the story of Huckleberry Finn and see how it was back then to how it is now, there is progress. When people read Huckleberry Finn they are shocked at how African Americans were treated. Which is why it should stay in libraries so that students can be shown how far America has come. There has been a conversation about removing the N-word from the book. The word in the book creates emotion, it makes you angry or sad about how African Americans were treated. Twain does this for a purpose, it adds to the emotion in the story. Even if they do censor the book’s N-words it would be better than them banning the book as a whole in public school libraries. Looking past the reason why people want the book to be banned and you get an amazing piece of literature. In the book, Huck spends a lot of time with Jim and during this time he sees that despite Jim’s skin color he is a good person (Sawyer). When others saw Jim as nothing else but a slave Huck saw a friend, someone who helped him when everyone else he knew turned their back on him. Huckleberry Finn is a book about Huck’s character development throughout the story. When we first met Huck he was someone that did not see a problem with Jim’s position, throughout the story we see him develop into someone who disapproves of it. Jim helps Huck countless times throughout the story which is why Huck ends up changing his view on how African Americans should be treated. Many people are so focused on the language in the story that they forget to comprehend the messages throughout the story. Huckleberry Finn is an adventure-filled book that follows two kids throughout a horrible time period. They find comfort in each other.
Sometimes in a high school classroom teachers would teach and read Huckleberry Finn. However, in recent years, teachers have not had this privilege because many do not want this book to be taught, read, or even thought about. People are fighting for this book to be removed from the curriculum, not just the high school library. The people with the most important opinion are the people who give knowledge to the upcoming generation, teachers. Michael Moran who is a language arts teacher at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids defends Huckleberry Finn. He believes that the N-word is a crucial part of the book because its purpose is to end racism, not further the progress of it (Hogan). He believes that Twain uses the word so people can see how inappropriate and harsh times were back then. Moran also says that the students should be warned about the N-word in the book before they read it. Which is a great suggestion because it gives them a chance to prepare and understand the history of the word before approaching the book. Robert Secino who is a teacher at Shrewsbury High school also defends the book. He believes that lessons and messages that are in Huckleberry Finn are important (Reis). Many people seem to forget that there are messages in the book because they are too focused on a word in the book. If reading the book makes students uneasy, teaching the book can be a struggle too. However, teachers do it all around the world because they want their students to be educated in all areas. We must trust that through all their education they went through to get the degree they have the ability to teach Huckleberry Finn.
Banning books from public school libraries do not benefit the student in any way. Most people want to ban books in public schools because they believe the information should not be provided for the student. Banning the book as a whole is not right for the other students who actually want to enjoy the book. Books with sensitive subjects give students a sense of maturity and skills that will help them grow as a person. Although some of the books in the library have extreme subjects, they should not be banned. Huckleberry Finn is a book that people want to be banned because of the N-word that is displayed in it. The word is not meant to offend anyone, it is simply used to portray emotion into the story. However, if a student chooses to pick out the book knowing the information that it holds then they should have the book accessible to them. Huckleberry Finn is actually a great piece of literature that holds a message if you actually have the chance to read it. It is a story told in a time of history that is important to talk about, no matter how uncomfortable we feel reading it. In the words of George Santayana “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. Huckleberry Finn is a classic that deserves to hold its place on a high school library shelf, so let it stay.