Hello to all of my amazing followers/readers! For school we had to write an essay about if next year’s class should read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I still have a few things to write and add to my paper but I’d like to ask my writer (and non writers) to give me their opinion on my paper and tell me if there was more ways to improve on it. At the moment I have a 93% grade on it and I just want to hear all of your opinions!
If you can read through it the entire way and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions about making it better that would be awesome! It’s due next week so I’d like to hear some feedback (positive or negative, I won’t be offended). Thanks guys!
Ignoring History or Learning From It
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn shows the world the struggle of a young boy’s childhood in the pre Civil War American South and an unlikely friendship. Mark Twain’s quote, “The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” The world around us is quickly changing and challenging us to adapt, but is that something people want to do? Are they willing to challenge the accepted patterns of society? Reading Huckleberry Finn opens our eyes to another world. A world full of odd speech, insane adventures, and the vast possibility that we may one day be friends with someone we always thought was lower than us awaits the reader in the pages of this story.
A friendship formed in the most unusual circumstances is a bond that cannot be broken. Huck Finn and Jim form a close bond that shows one of the strangest friendships you will ever see. In the 1800’s it was unheard of to talk to, let alone be friends with a slave. Huck apparently missed that important bit of information, and throughout the book, you see a close friendship developing. In chapter 16, Huck is torn between following the law and keeping his promise. His heart softens when he hears Jim call him “his only friend.”
At the time, white society would have found Huck’s behavior scandalous and most likely would have attempted to reform him. They believed that people of color were nothing more than personal property and were only worth the monetary gain they brought to the owner. In today’s world, this practice would be considered racist and offensive. The idea of slavery is a controversial topic, and reading the book encourages discussion of racism.
To today’s students, the use of the N word is almost hard even to read. It makes you feel uncomfortable and troubled. All the struggles involving race issues in the present day, cause students to wonder why Mark Twain chose to put the N word in his book. Why did he use this term? Before the Civil War, owning slaves was common. They were property, had no freedom, and were not allowed even to speak their own opinions. Mark Twain’s use of the N word was typical in that era and did not have the uncomfortable effect it has on us now. We feel disgusted by the word since today we see people of color as equals and cannot imagine a world that condoned and encouraged the institution of slavery. It opens our eyes to the fact that the world was not all battles honorably fought and won. Instead, it involved the true feelings of human beings just like us who were treated horribly.
History is the story of humankind. We need to learn about all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If we only read about the parts we like, we miss the big picture. Are we the foolish white people in Huck Finn who only focus on their view of the world, or can we sympathize with Jim, who might look and act differently than us? Or are we Huck, who begins to see both sides of that time’s accepted racial attitudes? Ultimately we should be able to see and understand all of the points of view whether we agree with them or not.
Can we learn from Mark Twain’s view of life in the pre Civil War South? Or is it better to ban the book and ignore that part of our history? We should be offended by the use of the N word. We should feel disgusted with how Jim was treated. We see the ignorance of the culture that condoned slavery though we also see the hope of change in young Huck’s unlikely friendship with Jim. High school students should continue to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to build on their knowledge of our country’s changing ideas about racial issues.