Taking the "N" out of Huck Finn

By Ralph Hipp

The story of a new version of "Huckelberry Finn" made the rounds on many websites Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday was being discussed on blogs and radio shows, as well as cable newscasts.  A sanitized, school-use version of the Mark Twain classic is about to be published and released taking the "n-word" out of the story.  ("N" is said nearly 220 times in the book.  It's only in "Tom Sawyer" about five times.  The "n-word" in the new book will be replaced by the word "slave.")

Politically correct?  Maybe.  And how tired are you of that?  Getting us on that slippery slope to censoring books?  Definitely.  Hey, why don't we just come out and call the book what it really is.. something that's been done for years?  Call the new release a "Children's Classic" and say that it is based on the original book by Mark Twain.  Classics have been shortened and had their violence and language cleaned up in those mini-paperbacks you get at the discount stores.  And if having condensed versions of those classics gets our kids reading them, some could argue that is a good thing.

First of all, I'm copying over some excellent blog comments that came across tonight on this subject, and as you read them, I would appreciate yours!  The one blog comment I would REALLY like to read is what Mark Twain would say about all this!  For now, I'm going to back to reading the new-released "Autobiography of Mark Twain" on my new Kindle.   And maybe better download the original, before someone takes it away.   Read on!             Ralph

“Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it.”  Do you know who said this?  Mark Twain. Makes you think huh?

(From Grasshopper Y)  The use of the "N" word in Huck Finn is part of Twain's incendiary satire... Most people here seem to forget that the plot of the book involves Huck Finn "feeling guilty about doing something immoral by helping Jim escape" (enter Twain's use of irony). The overruse of the word helps make the word itself look ridiculous.

(From MrsFizzy)  When we read Huck Finn in High School, the teacher spoke to everyone first and tried to put it in context and explain what the word meant at the time and that it was part of the power over black people but that this book had helped to show how wrong that situation was, so even if to some of us to see and hear that word was obscene, we had to confront that part of the past to move forward. 

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