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Huckleberry Finn and Book Banning

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Mon May 09, 2011 9:57 pm
LittlePrincess says...



In my English class we are having a debate over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Specifically, one group argues that the book should be banned and the other, my group, argues that it shouldn't. I think it brings up an interesting point and since I think it's safe to say that most members of YWS support freedom of expression I wanted to know what you guys thought. Both from people who have read it and people who haven't.
So what do you think? Is racism an important part of our history (I guess this debate is geared slightly more towards Americans but it's definitely interesting to here the opinions of others) or is teaching it just reviving it?
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Mon May 09, 2011 10:25 pm
Blink says...



I haven't (yet) read it, but the idea of banning a book is simply ludicrous.

If you ban books that create a poor representation of a nation, then you invoke a kind of strange nationalistic propaganda tool that glorifies the past - and nationalism can quite easily become the worst kind of racism. In the end, it's counter-productive, I'd say, and the essence of an Orwellian totalitarianism - two essays that I'd recommend a read of:

http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationa ... lish/e_nat

http://orwell.ru/library/essays/prevent ... ish/e_plit

("A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.")

The thing is, all history is of equal importance to any nation. It's all strung together. If you ignore bits then you put it into a straitjacket. It's so important to consider literature as a product of an historical time-frame. Of course, revisionism is an ongoing, and often subconscious, tool, when there is a change in policy or idea in any group; but when an entire state adopts one specific brand of it, then it becomes dangerous. It's the essence of unification under one banner for the sake of it, and does more harm than good.

So no, leave Mr Twain alone. :)
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Fri May 13, 2011 12:15 am
HostofHorus says...



First off, as said above, banning books is just wrong. There is no reason for it. If people don't want to read something, then they don't have to. Forcing people who might want to read it in a classroom setting where they can get more out of it, is stupid. Now, on to Mark Twain's brilliant piece of work.

No! This book shouldn't even be considered to be banned. It isn't even racist, if anything, is is against racism and it fights for black rights. It says nigger, (I'm not afraid to say the word, but if it really offends you.... I'll get to that later.) sure, but it is saying it because that is how language was used then. It is an accurate representation of our past, and trying to hide, and pretend something didn't happen, is absolutely disgusting.

The word itself. If people are really scared of a word, well we have bigger problems as a nation. It is like with the recent scandal of Native Americans getting mad at the US using "Geronimo" for the code name of the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. We as a people take offense way to easily, and often times I think we do it just to cause arguments. Racism is always going to exist, and freaking out every time someone says the "n word" or makes a racist joke, is just petty, foolish, and juvenile....

This was pretty unorganized and what not, but I hope I at least got my points across and made sense....

-HostofHorus
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Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:42 am
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inkwell says...



Twain's own words: "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." — Einstein




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Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:30 am
msgolds12 says...



In a writer's forum, I doubt you would find too many people who support book banning.

My major issue with banning books is that it sets a precendent for what is acceptable in print versus what is not acceptable. In this case, the objection is due to words that are not considered to be in "good taste." However, in other countries, "not in good taste" can and often does refer to anything that speaks negatively about the government or the state religion. By restricting freedom of speech, you are also by definition restricting freedom of thought and freedom of ideas.