Could I please get a Huck Finn light?
There is something amazingly beautiful and pure about the classics. I love to look at them… see them all lined up on my shelf and I quite literally (pun possibly intended) get shivers as I stand before the greats.
Which brings me to the buzz currently around The Adventures Of Huck Finn. Here is a quote from an article that was recently in our local paper:
An Associated Press story from Montgomery, Ala., reported a new edition of the two Mark Twain books has replaced the N-word with “slave.” Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in “Huck Finn” and four times in “Tom Sawyer.” He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those “which people praise and don’t read.”
The word “nigger” is in the book 219 times.
When you take away the “N” word we are replacing the language of the book. Did Mark Twain write these words to be offensive? No. Yet the word does hold a power to it that reflects the times and in instances such as this, a replacement word does not hold the same power that the original does. This is not the word we would use today, but it is part of the history of the south and I for one do not believe that we silence it. Yes it is an ugly word, but it holds within it the picture of the times and the emotions that come with it. All of it… every word… is the creation that makes up Huck Finn.
So let me say it this way….. if you have your great great great great grandmother’s apple pie recipe and you decide for giggles that you are going to remove one of the ingredients and replace it with a substitute….. is it still the CLASSIC recipe that was handed down to you? Or is it now…. your recipe? Close to the original…. but not quite.
What are your thoughts on this change? Any thoughts on other changes made in books?