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Twain, the “N” word and creatures

There’s been a lot of talk about word cleaning of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. If you ask me, I think Sam is rolling over in his grave.

Mr. Clemens was not a man to pull punches. Anyone who reads any of his non-fictional work will know that. He was a man in your face with things he felt strongly about. Racism and its various fallout was one of the places he hoped to make a point about. By bringing it front and center in his writing. Huckleberry Finn was political commentary as well as a fictional story.

Whitewashing the “n” word out of the manuscript is doing a disservice to the point Mr. Clemens was trying to make about treating people poorly based on race and skin color being wrong. Removing it diminishes his work. I understand that there are certain factions who would rewrite everything into political correctness. As if erasing the words will fix the issues behind them. Guess what? Erasing the words only further hides the issues. Political correctness doesn’t work for true social change. Euphemisms for the ugly and embarrassing only serve to further hinder bringing them out into the light where they can have a chance of being fixed.

Granted if Huckleberry Finn were to be written today, it would be an entirely different manuscript. Possibly with werewolves and vampires, who knows. But Mark Twain wrote with purpose and point. Erasing his words is counter to the reasoning behind his work. Much better to keep the work intact and use it to open a dialogue to work toward improved race relations. Prejudice will only be alleviated through education.

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