Okay all. I know we normally don’t post on Friday’s but since this is such big news, I wanted to see if anyone wanted to talk about it. I got this from here.
“A new edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is about to hit the market,without the “n” word in which it appears 219 times.
Alan Gribben, the scholar releasing the new version told Publishers Weekly, “This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind,” said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he’s spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department.
“Race matters in these books. It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century,” he said.
There’s no question that the repeated appearance of the “n” word draws attention in today’s classrooms. A parent asked St. Louis Park schools to remove Huck Finn from the required reading list but was denied.
Still, Gribben’s idea to replace the word with “slave” is to keep the literary discussion of the book alive, by removing the distraction of the “n” word.
So what do you think? Is it OK to mess with a classic piece of literature? Is this political correctness gone too far?”
My opinion is that I think this just plain disgraceful. How can we just go and change a book of such importance? I feel if they want to take it off the school reading list, that’s fine but to change it and rewrite it is just more than wrong. This is about history and the discord in races even back then. How else will future generations know how things were “back in the day” if we change what people before us wrote?? What about authors who use the “f” word or write about prostitution or adultery or murder and rape? Should we take Mary Magdalene out of the Bible? The Bible would have to be totally rewritten if we changed everything that made people unhappy. Who are we to change what someone else wrote? It’s not our book. It’s not up to someone to change this. America has just gone too far with this.
If you don’t want to read it, DON’T but to change it or rewrite it? This makes me want to cry. Are they going to rewrite Roots or the Holocaust? Should we change The Diary Of Anne Frank because people hated Jews?
If something bothers some do gooder we’ll just change it? Is this what things have come to? This is just beyond me. What do you guys think of this? Who decides stuff like this? Who can take this on themselves like this and feel they are so righteous that they can change a novel like Huck Finn? Gone With The Wind had slaves. What about the racial strife of To Kill A Mockingbird or Black Like Me? Should we change all these works of art?
I’m going now to smack my head against the wall.
The fence wasn’t “white washed it was “cracker washed”.
Yeah, I saw this story too. I have a big problem with this.
First of all because there is no integrity in the study of classic literature if people are rewriting it as they go.
Secondly, because although it is not comfortable to see a man called “nigger,” it is important for young Americans to understand that this was really how it was at certain times and places in our history. I grant that it takes maturity to be able to digest this and still understand what the author is trying to get across. So the solution then would be to assign the book at an older age. Someone mentioned “I found this book hard to read in the 7th grade.” Well, maybe 7th grade is too young for this book. Or, maybe it doesn’t need to be on a middle / high school required reading list at all. I’d rather have it as optional than to require a doctored version to be read. I recall that Huck Finn contained some relatively mature stuff, such as Huck’s drunken, abusive father eventually being found dead, and how Huck dealt with that. I am not sure Twain intended that story for kids who are still too young to stay home alone.
Third – and nobody else seems to have mentioned this – the substituted word “slave” is inaccurate and completely distorts the message. A book so changed does not deserve to be called Huck Finn or to be attributed to Mark Twain. If Mark Twain had a social message, let it speak for itself. We can’t decide after all this time that Mark Twain really should have been resolving Y and Z social issue in addition to X, or whatever. Next thing you know, there will be a new edition of the Bible where it says “spare the timeout and spoil the child,” “wives, negotiate with your husbands as equals,” and with the word “abomination” substituted with “alternative lifestyle.” If someone wants a Bible that says that, let them write their own Bible, sign as author, and copyright it in 2011 or whenever. And let students of religion / literature go back and read the real thing.
As someone mentioned on another blog: if we try to hide what was really happening in those days, we miss the chance to learn from it and increase the chance that it could happen again.
What she said. Really, as verbose as I tend to be, I couldn’t say it better than SKL just did.
And SKL, thank you for using “the word”. Because even though it’s jarring, I think it needs to be said, to take away it’s power… to quote a wise old Wizard… “fear of the word increases fear of the thing itself.”
This is me, standing and clapping for you SKL! Couldn’t say it better myself!! 🙂
Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the word “classic” mean something has stood the test of time and still has something to offer? Why stop at references to the n word? Will we need to rename Injun Joe Native American Joe? LET IT STAND AS IT IS!!!! It is a protrayal of life in a much different era and is true to that life. People often forget that life hasn’t always been “kinder, gentler or politically correct”!
I agree with everyone so far. I think it to be very digraceful to take a book like this, that was written so long ago and try to change it into todays standards. If anything it is a good learning tool on how we have progressed as a nation. Unfortunately, we would progress further if there wasn’t so many African American who think it is ok to walk around calling themselves a slang word for ignorant and stupid. In this case they are no better than people who lived 150-200 yrs ago.
No, I do not think a book should be changed. Especially a book like this! Would I want my 10 year old to read it, no, not yet. But someday. That word and the issue was relevant back then, and it is to the book. I can’t believe this is really happening!
I find it to be very rude and intrusive to alter someone’s published writing without their consent–and dead men have no say. He wrote it the way he wanted and I’m sure every word was carefully chosen.
Ok, so here’s a contrast: this morning, I was listening to Glenn Beck. He pointed out that Obama has started listening to “Nas” (some rap guy?) on the advice of his daughter. She loves this guy, apparently. In one of his songs, the word “nigger” is said 47 times. In a 3-ish minute song!!!
I just googled the guy, and there are photos of him and his wife at the GRAMMY AWARDS (politically correct central) wearing the word emblazoned across their shirts!
How is that ok, but Mark Twain’s use of it within historical context and in a non-insulting way, must be censored?
Why is it ok for Obama’s middle/high school daughter to hear it from Nas, but she can’t read it from Mark Twain?
Wow. This is seriously screwed up.
Exactly. It’s not like this is gonna be the first time they hear it. However, they have been taught that if it’s coming from anyone who’s not black, it’s the worst imaginable, intentional insult. Even if it’s not said to them directly. So even hearing the word on the streets all the time, they may still not understand what Twain meant to accomplish by using it in the book, until they are old enough to put things in historical perspective. So again, I would not ask a classroom full of AA kids to read this book until I believed they could look past the inflammatory nature of the word “as spoken by whitey” and see the historical context. Once they can do that, however, I can’t think of too many better books to teach that particular moment of black history.
But yeah, personally I would not condone my kids listening to foul-language rap (even when they are his kids’ ages). I strongly warn older loved ones not to say “nigger” and such in front of my kids; whites happen to be a minority in their classroom and God forbid that word should slip out around their friends. They aren’t old enough to understand the colorful history of that word. I frankly would rather hear F-word than Nigger from my kids’ mouths before they are old enough to understand why so many people hate it.
I had to explain to my old (and proud “hillbilly”) uncle why his use of several slurs was inappropriate around Josh. He was flabbergasted – “Some of the greatest guys I’ve ever known and had the pleasure of working with were ‘n’s’!” he said. And he meant it – he truly liked and respected not only the men, but the work they did (they were all bricklayers). The words he used, to him, were just nicknames – they weren’t meant in a derogatory way at all. But I had to explain to him how things have changed, and how those words “aren’t allowed” anymore. Especially around my sponge of a kid, who would spout them without realizing they were ‘bad’.