Huckleberry Finn 8 Essay, Research Paper
Huckleberry Finn Should Not Be Banned
If Mark Twain was alive today, he would probably be appearing at libraries and in online chat rooms during Banned Books Week to discuss the fate of his own books. He certainly deserves recognition for the number of times his books have been challenged or banned in the past 112 years — ever since Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885 and immediately banned by the Concord, Massachusetts, Public Library. In some ways, not much has changed since 1885. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Mark Twain are included in the American Library Association’s lists of the ten most frequently challenged books and authors of 1996. Tracing the history a little further back, Attacks on the
Freedom to Learn, ‘96, a report by People for the American Way, lists them among the ten most frequently challenged books and authors of 1982 to 1996.
Twain’s novels continue to be challenged and banned, but new reasons for opposing them have emerged through the years. Looking back over the debates about Twain’s books during the past 112 years provides an interesting perspective on how American culture has changed, how Twain helped to change it, and why his books continue to raise difficult questions today. When Huckleberry Finn was banned in 1885, officials at the Concord Public Library thought it
was “rough, coarse and inelegant,… the whole book being more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people.” Written in the voice of its young narrator — who rejects becoming “sivilized” on its first page — and full of various dialects throughout, the book offended the literary sensibilities of the time. Twain redoubled the insult to the literary
establishment by insisting that his books be sold door to door by subscription instead of through book stores. He appealed to the masses both in his language and by having his books brought directly to their homes. “My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine,” Twain once wrote. “Everybody drinks water.”