The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

American Literature's Gilded Carriage: A Reasonable Basis for the Institution of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Required Reading

Mark Twain's satiric masterwork The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has, over time, manifested itself as a novel of pronounced controversy proportionate to its tremendous literary worth. The story of an "uncivilized" Southern boy and the intrigues involved as he aids Jim, a runaway slave, in attaining freedom by traveling up the Mississippi River, Huckleberry Finn is, in the American literary world, more paradoxical for the extreme controversy it generates than for the intricacies of the novel itself. From the date it was first published, detractors have crowned Huckleberry Finn the most ignoble of offensive works, while supporters such as Ernest Hemingway have hailed it as the book that "all modern American literature comes from" (Hemingway, qtd. in Strauss).

At first glance, objectors of Samuel Clemens' novel appear to engage in a simplistic level of discourse. Parents, teachers, and likeminded individuals have historically protested the novel over the racism inherent to the material presented. Those concerned with matters of race find reason to ban the book over the word "nigger," which appears in the text over 200 times. Such detractors claim that because of the overt racism presented,...

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