To Teach Or Not To Teach?


? This is the question that is presently
on many administrators' minds about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by
Mark Twain. For those who read the book without grasping the important
concepts that Mark Twain gets across "in between the lines", many problems
arise. A reader may come away with the impression that the novel is simply
a negative view of the African-American race. Many scholars and educators,
like Marylee Hengsetbeck who said, "If Huck Finn is used solely as a part
of a unit on slavery or racism, we sell the book short." (Hengstebeck 32)
feel that there is much to be learned about Blacks from this book and it
should not be banned from the classroom. This is only one ...

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these main lessons
is that Blacks can be just as caring as whites. The white characters often
view the blacks as property rather than as individuals with feelings and
aspirations of their own. Huck comes to realize that Jim is much more than
a simple slave when he discusses a painful experience with his daughter.
Jim describes how he once called her and she did not respond. He then
takes this as a sign of disobedience and beats her for it. Soon realizing
that she is indeed deaf, he comforts her and tries to make up for the act
of beating. The feeling that Jim displays shows Huck that Jim has a very
human reaction and the fact Jim says, "Oh Huck, I bust out crying....'Oh
the po' little thing!" (Twain 151), only further proves to Huck that Jim
is as caring as he is. Huck's realization allows him to see that Jim is no
longer the ordinary slave. The point where Huck completely changes his
attitudes towards blacks comes when he is faced with the dilemma of turning
in Jim. Huck ...

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that was alright, because she done it
herself." (Twain ) Huck noticed this double standard even more now
because he began to see that not everything Miss Watson told him was true.
With this, Huck not only sees Jim in a new light, but begins to see that
the people who supposedly know everything, didn't really know anything.
Again other critiques of the novel state that as a whole the book is "a
masterpiece of irony." (Kilpatrick) With this second main lesson, the book
defends itself against being banned.
People who would ban "Huckleberry Finn" simply for the on the
surface racial content are no better than the character of Miss Watson.
The idea of banning a book and not teaching ...

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Added: 6/9/2005 08:58:19 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1259
Pages: 5

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