Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnIs Huck Finn a masterpiece or an insult? That is the question asked by many parents, teachers, and scholars. When “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was first published, it seemed doomed from the start. With a hero who lies, steals, and uses rough language, parents thought “Huck Finn,” as it is commonly called, would corrupt young children. Little did they know that it would be a book that would both revolutionize American literature and be at the center of literary debate (Napierkowski). Many people regard “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” as one of the greatest novels in American literature; others think it celebrates racism and should be banned from our schools.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” written by Mark Twain and originally published in 1884, is the story of an interracial friendship between Huck and Jim. Huck, a young white male, was on the run, making his get away down the Mississippi River, away from the life he lived with an abusive father. Jim, an adult black male, was an escaped slave, making the same journey on his way to freedom. Together the pair formed a unique friendship as they experienced adventures on their travels along the Mississippi River. The story of their adventures was written in the language of the time, meaning, among other things that Jim is regularly referred to as “Nigger Jim.” It is the use of such “language of the time,” specifically the use of the word “nigger,” that has caused “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to be one of the ten most banned books in America (Alward).