Thesis: The banning of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from public schools and libraries is unjustified. Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn long after the Civil War during a time when slavery was no longer instituted in the United States. However, the story itself takes place before the War, and the attitudes and actions of Southerners during that period are boldly reflected throughout the novel#. Thus, ever since the book was first published in 1885, it has been banned from numerous establishments the first being the Concord Public Library in Concord, Massachusetts#.
Now, over one hundred years later, it is still a subject of controversy. When the book was first banned it was not so much the questionable use of racist terms, but that the writing did not appeal to the so-called "civilized reader"#. The book contains many different dialects, including that of the narrator, who is only a young boy. This creative style of writing apparently did not satisfy everyone's standards. But as the times have changed, so have reasons for the novel's questionability#. It is crucial to keep in mind that America has not always been racism-free and that slang used against Negro slaves in the South was commonly acceptable during the pre-Civil War era.
Moreover, most young people are able to identify what is no longer appropriate when reading such literature, and they usually do not need the guidance of an adult to understand. Still, public schools today make every effort to keep students in a positive environment of downright political-correctness. Sadly enough, part of the cost is good literature. Those who try to protect students from the language and situations contained in such classics as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn obviously fail to realize that the story contains deeper meaning. It has been suggested by some parents and teachers that the author wrote the story solely to express racism#; actually, the whole story focuses on a slave's quest for freedom and his friendship with a young white boy#. The book does contain racist slang, but it was Twain's intention for the story to be convincing as to the time in which it is set.
It has nothing to do with his own opinions towards another race. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a valuable piece literature because it is realistic, and that is an important part of learning history. So, what good is it to banish a classic work of historical fiction by a renowned author from public schools and libraries If all disputed books were to banished from libraries much of the classic literature, the most valuable stories, would be relinquished. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has important insights about the past, as well as other values, from the author regardless of the slander it contains. The novel may not be suitable for particularly young readers simply because they may not understand some of the content.
But that aside, the novel certainly isn't "trashy and vicious"#, and deserves a place in any library.