ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Don't censor Huckleberry Finn- a view of Huck should it be censored?

Updated on August 17, 2014

Occidental Publishing Co. flyer for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Recent developements

Starting out the year of 2011 the latest attempt to tamper with a classic American literary work is to change the wording. A new addition intends to change the The N-word to "slave."

This, in my opinion is worse than banning the book. Words do make a difference. Slave would not fit the context in many cases. It would be better if the publisher put in a forward explaing the context of the meaning and the usage of the day.

In the classroom that should be the job of the teacher to explain to the students about the context of the times and how the word is used in the text.

I have included in the hub a link to a Christian Science Monitor article on the subject.

Huck and Jim on a Raft by E.W. Kemble 1884 edition.
Huck and Jim on a Raft by E.W. Kemble 1884 edition. | Source

Please! Let's not censor

I don’t understand or like the trend toward censorship in recent years, often by the very people who preach against it. The primary example I think of is the book “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Furthermore it disturbs me.

Twain’s book is certainly a classic and considered so beyond just American literature. According to the writer Earnest Hemingway, Huckleberry Finn was the beginning of American literature. I first noticed the calls for censoring the book several years ago when I read newspaper articles about some mother who objected to the “n” word being in it. No indication that she had either read or understood the book. Never mind that the theme of the book was anti-slavery word has to be looked at in context. Did it have the same meaning then that it does now? Probably not.

It puts me in mind of a SF story I read in which the hero goes back in time and has a conversation with Mark Twain. He mentions something about black people and Mark Twain gets upset and angry and scolds the hero for using such a derogatory word.

I found it really weird when this controversy came up that educators felt they had to have national seminars about how to “teach” the novel. I am not a teacher but I had considered the possibility of becoming one. I fully expected that if I did, by the time I studied literature and teaching methods and practice teaching I would know how to present a classic book to students.  However, I did later work with a woman whom has a degree in English and who me she had not read Mark Twain. I was amazed.

Possibly they may be introducing Huckleberry Finn at the wrong level. I didn’t study it until college, although I had occasion to write three term papers on it for different classes–English, History and American studies humanities course. Although Twain started writing it as a boy’s book like Tom Sawyer it turned out to be a more serious and mature book than he had started out with. To understand all that is going on in either book it would be helpful to have at least had courses in American History. I t should also be remembered that Huck is a young uneducated boy. A boy who is an outcast of the community, the son of the town drunk who runs away from an abusive father. He meets up with and teams with Jim, a runaway slave.  Together they take a raft down the river to escape to freedom in the North.

It is something of an existential trip, in that Huck is faced with choices and responsibility for those choices. “Heavy” as my son would have said at that age. Gradually Huck comes to realize that by befriending a runaway slave he is going against the law and society in general. This leads to a crisis of conscience. His conscience tells him that he is doing evil. I wrestled with this concept in one paper I wrote and failed to express it adequately. From the standpoint of my own religion Huck conscience was not properly formed. His ideas came from bad information Later, what I see has his “right conscience” tells him that saving Jim is the right thing to do, although he has much confusion. Don’t forget he is only about fourteen years old and not very sophisticated even for that age. This was the point where he becomes a hero.

Critics have complained that Twain is using a “Minstrel show” stereotype with Jim. Twain noted that “The odd superstitions touched upon were all prevalent among children and slaves in the West at the period of the story, that is to say, thirty or forty years ago.”  In other words, his own childhood. He was not operating from stereotypes, his characters were based on people he knew.
In the introduction to the Wordsworth Classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn the editor says “In Huckleberry Finn, especially, Twain makes clear his revulsion from the institution of slavery . . . ” More than anything the book portrays Jim as a dignified person. And the two characters get to understand each other after some bumpy experiences. 

The book should be read for a deeper understanding of what race relation were like on a personal level.

How do you feel about banning or changing Huckleberry Finn

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)