The Black Love-Hate Affair with the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Report)

The Black Love-Hate Affair with the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Report)

By The Western Journal of Black Studies

  • Release Date : 2011-12-22
  • Genre : Social Science
  • FIle Size : 0.19 MB
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Description

The Black Love-Hate Affair with the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Report) In early 2011 the national media reported a new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (hereafter referred to as AHF) was due to be published that substituted "n****r" with "slave" in an effort to make the revered classic more palatable to an increasingly diverse readership, and in apparent response to accusations of racism by African American students, parents, and intellectuals who have had quite a different experience with the novel. Ironically, in the wake of criticism from whites in the late 1800s asserting Huck's morality and colloquial speech was a poor model for American youth, many libraries reacted by stocking only edited or expurgated editions of AHF (Strausbaugh, 2006, p. 196). But that was entirely a matter initiated and debated by whites. Black displeasure with the novel would not manifest for several decades. A century after his death Mark Twain's internationally celebrated masterpiece remains a flash point for debate, revealing differences of opinion which, to a large extent, can be understood when one considers degrees of exposure to liberal education and, more significant, ordinary encounters with racism that polarizes and alters the perceptions of black and white Americans. Differences in perception of the novel's treatment of racial themes goes beyond race and educational attainment. Disagreement amongst blacks themselves about the novel might just a few decades ago have been explained as the "talented tenth" versus the less educated "culturally deprived masses," except that in this case those of the black intelligentsia have joined with the multitude criticizing AHF.

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