'Huckleberry Finn' Without the N-Word Is a Joke

Emily Abbate

HUCKLEBERRY FINNThe Twitterverse is a riot today with the news that the latest edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will be censored. Yup, all 219 instances of the offensive N-word will be removed from the text in an effort to get the book back into classrooms across the country.

The idea comes from a 69-year-old English professor at Auburn University, who read the book aloud using the word "slave" instead.

Sure, I get it. The frequent use of the word is offensive. But can we look at the context here!? Huckleberry Finn is a classic piece of literature. You know the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well it seems like a lot of people, including me, think the book is just fine as it is:

@Jury_Jury: Rewrite Huckleberry Finn? really? Are we gonna take the Holocaust out of Anne Frank's diary too? Or maybe rewrite Lolita so shes 18 yrs old?

I'll bet you anything, Mark Twain is rolling over in his grave at the news.

If you ask me, a classic is a classic. When I was reading Huck Finn in my eighth grade English class, I never once thought that the use of the N-word was offensive. OK, so I was a Caucasian teenager from Fairfield County, say what you will.

The novel helped me understand the time period the word was used and talk about the severity of the word with my classmates. The new version makes it seem as if there was never an issue with vocal discrimination in the deep South. Right, Twitter?

@TWITTERWHALE: Huckleberry Finn removes the "N" Word. Great!!! I love when people erase racism and pretend it never happened.

The behavior and language usage in Huck Finn is real and, like any other fictional tale that channels real life events and history, shouldn't be forgotten. If we want middle and high school students to read Twain's classic in their classrooms, what lessons are we looking to teach? I mean, I can't help but wonder: What's next?

@JimNorton: Since they're updating books, instead of Huckleberry Finn, why don't they start with the Bible?

What do you think about the censorship of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

Image via amazon.com

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