Should Huck Finn be taught in schools? This question has been widely debated over the past years and it still is till this day. Many say that the book should be banned from schools because of the racial comments in the book; people claim that it could offend the youth, but all the book does is enlighten the youth about the American history of slavery.
The book does use the racial term “Nigger”, and today that word is very hurtful and offensive to use, but back in the day that wasn’t the case. It was a term used to describe African Americans at that time. Twain used that word because that is the way he knew it to be, there was no way he could have known that it would become a derogatory term. Anyone who knows anything about the history of that time would know that.
The book is a great piece of history. Aside from the fact that it does teach about the racial history of the time, it also shows what general life was like. It shows in great detail what the North and the South were like from the perspective of a young, lower-class, poor boy. We get to see what everything was like through his eyes and relate it to ourselves in this day and age. It also allows us to see how even today we can be ridiculous over the smallest things just like people in the book are.
Just because a book has some offensive content is not enough of a reason to ban the book. The general value of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is much more important than any offensive language it may contain. It shows how the American public thought back then, and their way of life. It was simply the way they were brought up. In Chapter 32 of Huckleberry Finn when Aunt Sally asks if anyone was hurt in a steamboat accident, Huck replies, “No’m. Killed a nigger tho”(Twain 167). The subject is then closed because no “people” were harmed, and in their minds, nobody was. That is something that cannot be expressed in a textbook or a teacher with the same feeling of authenticity.
Another reason that the book should be taught in schools is that we see the bond of friendship between the white boy, Huck, and the runaway slave, Jim. Throughout the book Huck faces the dilemma of whether or not to turn Jim in. He starts to see that, even if Jim is a slave, he is a person and he has emotions just like Huck does. When Huck and Jim are in the raft and Huck hears Jim crying about his family he thinks to himself “and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n.” This shows how Huck starts to see Jim more as a human and less as a slave.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a great book that shows the history of the South in the time of Mark Twain. It shows the friendship of two boys as they travel down the river experiencing life together. Huck Finn should be taught in schools to help educate kids on the history of the time.