“Who gets to decide what I get to read in schools?” This question was brought up by Dr. Paul Olsen in a recent lecture. This question inspires many other questions revolving around the controversy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It makes one wonder if books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be included in high school curriculum even with all the controversy about them or are they better left alone. Should The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be taken off of school reading lists because of a single word when it has so much more to offer students? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be included in high school English curriculums because it starts important conversations about race and society, it develops critical thinking skills, and it is relevant to issues today.
While this novel makes students talk and think about important issues such as racism and the effects of society it is also very relevant to issues today. As much as people don’t want to admit it, racism still exists today. People also discriminate based on gender, religion and more. This constant lying and concealing of problems that society is too afraid to admit is something Holbrook calls the “silent lie”. People create excuses or walk around problems instead of confronting them (“Huckleberry Finn”). Twain however takes the truth, satirizes it and puts it in Huckleberry Finn. A former PBS executive said that “Twain’s humor and social commentary possessed an uncanny relevance to current events” (“Huckleberry Finn”). Twain includes characters like the Duke and the Dauphin, and Sherburn and Boggs to show that human nature is flawed, and that society is also flawed. In Holbrook’s interview with Moyers he says “[Twain] is riding so sha...
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...acter, and because of the derogatory word “nigger” (Rush 577). The fact of the matter is that racism still exists today. Students need to become aware of these issues and be able to discuss them in a safe environment like school. It’s very important to the development of character and important life skills for students to think about the past and connect it to the present and future. This opportunity is given to students by reading Huckleberry Finn.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should be included in high school curriculum because it starts important conversations about racism and society, develops critical thinking skills, and is relevant to issues today. Each of these three reasons work together to help students develop their own positions on the controversy and work through the themes of racism and corruptness of society that Twain presents in the book.
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