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In Mark Twains novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there is a clear major issue that people have with the book that has resulted in giving it a negative reputation. The main problem that people have with the book is that it uses the word "nigger" very often and therefore they believe that Huckleberry Finn is racist. Unfortunately due to the frequency of the frowned-upon word, Mark Twain himself has been considered racist as well. The story is seen through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy, Huck. His beliefs give the reader an internal look at the morals of that time period, especially when it came to racism. This book is most controversial because of the way Twain approaches racism. Twain uses Jim to portray different perspectives on racism and its relevance during this time period. The novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain is not a racist book.
After the original novel by Mark Twain was published, it has been given high praise as well as extreme criticism. There's a lot of debate over Twain's use of a word that in today's society is mostly unaccepted and considered extremely negative. Twain has been called racist for the language in his book and the abundant amount of sarcasm he uses is completely ignored, which gives the book a pro-racism feeling. Huckleberry Finn is not a racist book but instead promotes the freedom for slaves in that time. Mark Twain uses irony, Huck's struggle with what is right and wrong and Jim's character as a way to show the reader that slavery was wrong and that African-American people deserve as much respect as white people. Many believe that Mark Twain used the word to degrade African Americans. There are points within the novel where both characters become insignificant and one over shadows the other. Saying that it is a racist novel is unreasonable because it was written in a time when using the word "nigger" was accepted and racism was normal. Whites were considered more important in this time period and the novel switches on and off about whom is more superior, Jim or Huck. When Huck first meets Jim on the island he makes the decision not to turn the runaway in. Many times throughout the novel Huck comes close to comprehending the fact that Jim is a slave. However, he is never able to notice a reason why this man who has become one of his only friends should be a slave. Through this struggle, Twain shows his opinions that slavery is wrong and the importance of following one's own personal feelings before the laws of society. By the end of the novel, Huck and the reader have come to know that Jim is not something to be owned and an inferior being, but an equal.
When the updated version of the novel was released in February 2011, the oh-so-upsetting word was replaced with "slave." By doing this, it takes away from the genuine feeling of the setting that the original story would give. The word slave is used throughout the book in a different context and in no way does it equal the meaning of the word it replaced. "The difference may be subtle but Twain clearly could have used slave. The word existed at the time. Twain chose the n-word to convey something beyond captive status. It was a word used widely. It is still used in literary works to say something about the people who use it (Tencer)." Throughout the book, Twain uses a sarcastic tone to make fun of the people that use the n-word in a bad way. He tries to explain to the readers that it is wrong to say that about people and the way that African Americans were viewed at the time is not how it should have been. Unfortunately, they were treated that way and were called those bad names, but it is part of history and by changing the word in the book is like pretending it never happened and was never part of American history.
Conclusion- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most accurate and honest "history" books in America. It also is a story that proves that no matter how different two people are, they can still form a long and close friendship. People see this book as racist because of how much the word "nigger" is used, but when Mark Twain wrote this story in the 1880's it was a commonly used word. The use of this word is what makes this book is so realistic and denying that is like denying history as if it never happened. People can think this book is racist, but in reality, it is the way things were at the time. This novel does more than say the word, but it gives an honest description of America and shows how a young white boy and an African American man can put aside social differences, overcome adversity and be friends.