Posted at 11.27.2018
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, should only be included in a 12th grade elective curriculum. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a world novel about real ethical and moral decisions possesses issues that man still faces in the current society. However, the utilization of satire in the novel, the depth in the partnership between Huck and Jim and exactly how it is often overlooked, as well as the racist aspect in the novel, make it inappropriate for a sizable majority of high school students. For years the novel has gained increasingly more controversy due to its racist elements and the language that can be used. The racist aspect of the novel makes it problematic for younger students to understand, so therefore, it ought to be taught in older classrooms. However, it's important to read to be able to show to students the social context of slavery at the time, the intensive relationship between Huck and Jim in the novel, and also to introduce older students to the literary tool of satire.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the racist elements make it challenging for students in younger grade levels to understand. This is seen when Huck uses the word "nigger" in a poor connotation. "Well, if I struck anything enjoy it, I'm a nigger. It had been enough to produce a body ashamed of the people" (Twain 163). This quote demonstrates the racist area of the novel. Only twice in the novel is the term "nigger" used in a negative connotation which is one of these. In this quote, the term "nigger" means fool. That is different from the rest of the times in this novel that Twain used this word, because in those times, the word "slave" could be substituted in. It is important for students not to overlook this rare occurrence in the novel since it gives background to the social context at that time. The word "nigger" was the acceptable term that everyone used. No one said "slave" outside of legal documents, or "African-American", or "negro". They just didn't exist. Students don't realize this because they think of the word "nigger" as racist, but at that time, it was only a word directed at slaves.
In this article by Peaches Henry, it could be seen that the word "nigger" gives difficulty to someone trying to learn this novel. "The occurrence of the word niggergive pause to even the most flexible reader. Moreover, as numerous critics have pointed out, neither junior high nor high school students are necessarily flexible or subtle readers" (Henry 28). This quote illustrates the idea that junior high and high school students do not have the capacity to understand the term "nigger". They aren't flexible enough to overlook this word in support of look at the particular Twain is saying. This is again because in the current society, it offers a far more hurtful meaning than it did in the past. In the past, it was only a term given to slaves, but now, however, as a result of impact of slavery upon this country, people look at the word in another type of light; with an increase of scrutiny perhaps.
The article written by John H. Wallace states that a teacher must help students understand the social time period in the novel, as well as the different types of characters being presented. "It is the responsibility of the teacher to assist students in the knowledge of the historical setting of the novel, the characters being depicted, the social context, including prejudice, which existed at that time depicted in the book" (Wallace 116). This quote demonstrates that the teacher gets the responsibility to help the students understand the majority of what they are reading inside the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This includes the social context of the book for the time period that it's set in. For the time period, "nigger" was the accepted vernacular to describe one's slaves, one's property. Students have a hard time grasping this fact because they start to see the word "nigger as offensive", and don't understand slavery as an important foundation for today's society. The teacher must carry much burden in trying to make the students understand all the is certainly going on in the novel, and for most, it is difficult to portray this to students. These students just do not comprehend Twain's time frame and the type of society that existed at that point.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, another exemplory case of Twain's use of racism can be seen through the type of Huck when, for a second time, he uses the term "nigger" in a negative way. "Good gracious! anybody hurt? No'm. Killed a nigger. Well that's lucky, because a lot of people do get hurt" (Twain 221). This quote elucidates the idea that slaves weren't human beings, so that it did not matter whether they lived or died. Aunt Sally does not even recognize a "nigger" dying as a person dying. This is the other time that the word nigger can be used where it cannot be substituted for the term slave because it would not seem sensible in context. Students, once again, do not have the capacity never to overlook this point in the novel. It really is difficult to understand where Huck is coming from because this statement looks bad to your society. It looks racist, but at that time, this is what it was like. Students do not fully grasp this aspect because that point is up to now gone and it is a different approach and a different society now than it was then.
The article by Jane Smiley states that students do not understand the impact that slavery has already established on this country. "But they almost invariably fail to understand that the way they feel means very little to black Americans, who understand racism as a way of structuring American culture, American politics, and the American economy" (Smiley 63). This quote shows that students do not appreciate this is of slavery for america. The country wouldn't normally be as successful as it is without the slaves that created a foundation for america as it was growing. High school students feel that racism is a feeling, but it is a lot deeper. It's the root of this country and how it works, even today. Because it was of an different era and of a new approach, most students do not appreciate the particular slaves made this country into today. They think that they must act and feel a certain way in order to not be racist, but it is so more deeply than that. To fully grasp this whole novel and what it meant at that time period in which it existed, students would need to be at a higher maturity level.
The article by Jocelyn Chadwick-Joshua discusses the problem of race being important and essential to the learning of one's past. "The issue of race is central to America's future, and such a denial or avoidance of America's pastWe Americansneed to discover a clearer knowledge of who we wereso that we can more successfully determine what we desire to become" (Chadwick xiv). This quote illustrates the value of reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel allows society to look after their pasts and understand where they have come from. For society to get where they go, they must understand and find out where they have come from. It is not efficient as a society to just shut out everything that they don't like, in this case, slavery. But, this is why it is so important. Since it is a sore facet of history, it is valuable to make certain that it does not happen again. This makes the novel harder to comprehend and one of the reasons which it received much criticism at the time but still does today. When some may be older and more mature, then it's important to look back in order to go forward. Those in younger grade levels may not fully grasp the value of the idea of slavery and what this means for this country as a whole. Another reason that this novel received so a lot of its criticism is due to its portrayal of blacks and whites and the partnership that Huck and Jim have.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn contains an extensive relationship between your characters of Huck and Jim which is problematic for some to understand. For this reason, it should be included in a reading list for more mature grade levels, like a twelfth grade elective. The example of how Huck apologizes to Jim illustrates how Twain was breaking from what was socially acceptable at the time and it could be hard for a few to grasp. "It was a quarter-hour before I possibly could work myself up to look and humble myself to a nigger, but I done it, and I warn't ever sorry for this afterward, neither" (Twain 86). This quote shows Huck apologizing to Jim, that was groundbreaking at the time. Because slaves were viewed as property, a white person would never apologize to 1 of them. This is one of the reason why that the book was first banned, because it showed blacks in a positive light and whites in a poor one, that was completely opposite from the accepted thought. Society sometimes holds people back off their true potential because what it views as right and wrong. In cases like this, Huck was doing the entire opposite of what society approved of, and he thought that he should have felt harmful to doing so, but he realized that he didn't.
The article by T. S. Eliot demonstrates the burden that Huck had to carry on deciding if to travel down the river with Jim. "Is the pathos and dignity of the boy, when reminded so humbly and humiliatingly, that his position in the world is not that of other boys, entitled from time to time a practical joke; but that he must bear, and bear alone, the responsibility of a guy" (Eliot 21). This quote demonstrates the incredible burden that this young boy carries to comprehend his responsibilities to some other human being. He knows that society does not approve of this behavior, but he feels that it is the right move to make. He has a different situation from all other boys, because he does not have any mother, and his father only shows up when he wants money. He has grown up on his own and does not want to be civilized into society. However, he still looks to society for what the accepted thing to do is because, deep down, he does desire to be civilized and he wants what Tom has: a standard life. Students can learn from what Huck has to deal with, because in all situations, doing what society approves of can be difficult and sometimes hard to perform.
The article by Robert Lathbury explains how at this time that Huck apologized to Jim, the two became equals. "To his credit, Huck sees the human outrage he has committedThis moment signals a conscious shift. They have become equals for a moment" (Lathbury 41). This quote shows the importance of Huck and Jim's relationship in this novel. At this point the two have become equals, which is completely radical because of this time period. Blacks were not even seen as people, let alone as add up to whites. It's important to start to see the difference in what one thinks is right versus what society values. This can be valuable to students in seeing characters make real ethical and moral decisions, because it helps it be easier for them to set up a balance between what they think is right versus what society does.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, another exemplory case of the complex relationship between Huck and Jim is seen in the part of the novel where Huck decides to follow Jim and steal him out of slavery. "I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt a couple of things and I knowed it" (Twain 214). This quote demonstrates your choice that Huck had to make: whether or not to visit and steal Jim out of slavery. That is a huge decision and it is essential to the knowledge of the novel. Huck believes that Jim deserves his freedom, and goes against society to take action. He's seen that Jim is human and that he has real human qualities. He previously such a hard time choosing, because he believed that by going to steal Jim out of slavery most wrong out of the two decisions that he previously. He opted to do what he thought was wrong in society's viewpoint because he truly believed that Jim deserved his freedom. He saw Jim as a human being and thought that he should be treated as a result.
The Lathbury article makes a spot about the fact that slavery was socially acceptable at the time, and Huck, by choosing to save Jim, is doing what he thinks is wrong. "The reader knows that informing is a morally reprehensible action because slavery is wrong, but based on the laws of the time and Huck's conscience, it is the right move to make. Huck opts for what he thinks is wickedness" (Lathbury 41). This quote talks about how precisely at the time period it was acceptable for people to carefully turn in slaves also to harbor an escaped slave was considered morally wrong. That is backwards from what one would think because in the current society, slavery is considered wrong. Students might not exactly understand this plus they may overlook the value of Huck's decision. He gives his life for Jim, by saying that he'll go to hell. This is very important because instead of his life, which he might lose using this method, he chooses Jim's life.
The article by Lauriat Lane illustrates that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel that includes characters that contain to make real moral and ethical decisions, which our society can relate with. "In the centre of Huckleberry Finn lies a tale about real human figures with genuine moral and ethical problems and decisions" (Lane 157). This quote shows how society can relate with the problems that Huck and Jim face in this novel because they are still relevant today. The moral and ethical conditions that this decision had on Huck and Jim's lives was against what society thought was right. In cases like this, the novel is so great because of how people can relate with it. The novel is more appropriate for older students, like those in an elective course, because they can appreciate this fact and react to the novel in an optimistic way. The other reason that this novel should be read is basically because this can be a novel that educates students.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be read by students in higher grade levels, since it is a novel of education. This is seen with Twain's use of the literary component of satire. It is difficult sometimes to understand, however in order to gain something from this novel, you need to understand it. The example of Huck hearing Colonel Sherburn's speech shows an factor of satire in the novel and exactly how it isn't easy to catch. "But if only half a man-like Buck Harkness, there-shouts 'Lynch him! lynch him!' you're afraid to back down-afraid you'll be discovered to be what you are-cowards" (Twain 146-147). This quote uses satire showing a favorite racist group, the KKK, up for what they are really to Twain: cowards. Twain uses this to make a social comment about the period of time. This can be problematic for some to comprehend because satire is an extremely evasive language tool. Most do not grasp Twain's humor when they read it, because what he may have thought was funny is difficult for society to relate with today. Although it is challenging, it's important to expose students at that higher level to it, because it can be used in a wide variety of works that they can face in college or university and beyond. But, since it is so hard for most to comprehend, those who read the novel won't fully grasp the complete novel and everything Twain meant it to mean.
The Lane article discusses this novel as a novel of education and exactly how it includes important life lessons. "The novel is a novel of education. Its school is the school of life rather than of books" (Lane 159). This quote demonstrates that this novel is one which can educate students. It could educate them on life, on great American literature, and how to make moral and ethical decisions. It demonstrates to readers how to make ethical and moral decisions which it is sometimes important to not in favor of what society values. It's important to learn, but only those who meet up with the novel's challenging requirements are able to fully grasp the meaning of the novel in its entirety.
The article by Lance Morrow demonstrates how difficult it is to make moral correct decisions in any society. "Huck Finn is about American civilization and in what it means to be civilized in a huge, experimental, provisional and morally unsettled territory" (Morrow 155). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn show how difficult it could be to make moral decisions with society breathing down one's back. Huck stands against reckless and unwarranted violence, as well as Jim's freedom and fair treatment of him as a individual. This goes against society's accepted values and the accepted way to do something at the time. This educates students on the task that even characters in novels have when facing decisions.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the example of Jim being shown about religion by Miss Watson shows the element of satire in the novel. "He was the most down on Solomon of any nigger I ever see" (Twain 78). This quote implies that Jim have been introduced to Christianity if he knew about King Solomon. This satire demonstrates that somebody who is a true Christian wouldn't normally have a slave and by exposing Jim to it, Miss Watson has directly violated the institution of Christianity. This satire goes to try and make a social change, by exclaiming that slavery in general is a contradiction in the manner that they teach of being a good Christian to these slaves and by having these slaves, they themselves aren't good Christians. It shows the hypocritical nature of the religion at that time. This exposes students to the thought of satire and what it can be used for. In this way, the novel sometimes appears as a novel of education.
The Morrow article discusses the lessons that can be observed in this novel and exactly how it's important to learn. "At the same time, it can be an inventory of essential values, such as kindness, courage, and the necessity to consider moral choices. Instead of being banned, the book should be thoroughly studied" (Morrow 155). This quote elucidates which the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be read and studied since it contains everyday issues that society may face. In addition, it contains various different values that are crucial to live and survive in the current society. It's important to check out the novel all together and take the big themes and use them to live a life one's life.
The Lane article shows the sort of impact that it has on students and exactly how important it is relating to a curriculum in senior high school, preferably a twelfth grade elective. "A global novel may be defined as that kind of novel whose importance in its own literature is so excellent, whose impact on readers is so profound and far reaching, so it has achieved worldwide distinction" (Lane 158). This quote illustrates the popularity of the novel and how it has such an effect on literature and readers. This novel is important because it contains a primary character that every reader can relate with in some way. Whether it's when he faces the Duke and the Dauphin after fleeing the Wilkes situation, or when he has to decide if to save lots of Jim, every reader can see themselves in Huck and learn from what he does.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a global novel; it should be at the pith of the curriculum for American students. It is important to understand the social context of the novel, the relationship between Huck and Jim, and the use of the evasive language tool, satire. All of these parts of the novel give each reader an issue, even way more, for younger, more inexperienced readers. But this novel is important to learn due to its life lessons and the education it gives students. For this reason, it would be good for students in a twelfth grade elective course, because they might understand and grasp more of the novel as a whole. This way, those reading it could fully grasp anything that Twain meant this novel to mean in the realm of the world. Students in younger grades will not understand the majority of the happenings of the novel and can most likely be confused. Therefore, the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would be most appropriate in a twelfth grade elective course.