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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Third Edition)  (Norton Critical Editions)
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987 of 1,021 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Okay, we all know the plot, so there's no sense in rehashing it; but this book has generated a great deal of heat and very little light lately, it's been banned in some school districts and attacked as racist garbage, so this review will address the question: Is "Huckleberry Finn", in fact, a racist book?

The charge of racism stems from the liberal use of the N word in describing Jim. Some black parents and students have charged that the book is humiliating and demeaning to African-Americans and therefore is unfit to be taught in school. If there has been a racist backlash in the classroom, I think it is the fault of the readers rather than the book.

"Huckleberry Finn" is set in Missouri in the 1830's and it is true to its time. The narrator is a 13 year old, semi-literate boy who refers to blacks by the N-word because he has never heard them called anything else. He's been brought up to see blacks as slaves, as property, as something less than human. He gets to know Jim on their flight to freedom (Jim escaping slavery and Huck escaping his drunken, abusive father), and is transformed. Huck realizes that Jim is just as human as he is, a loving father who misses his children, a warm, sensitive, generous, compassionate individual. Huck's epiphany arrives when he has to make a decision whether or not to rescue Jim when he is captured and held for return to slavery. In the culture he was born into, stealing a slave is the lowest of crimes and the perpetrator is condemned to eternal damnation. By his decision to risk hell to save Jim, he saves his own soul. Huck has risen above his upbringing to see Jim as a friend, a man, and a fellow human being.

Another charge of racism is based on Twain's supposed stereotyping of Jim. As portrayed by Twain, Jim is hardly the ignorant, shuffling Uncle Tom that was so prevalent in "Gone With the Wind" (a book that abundantly deserves the charge of racism). Jim may be uneducated, but he is nobody's fool; and his dignity and nobility in the face of adversity is evident throughout the book.

So -- is "Huckleberry Finn" a racist book? No. It's of its time and for its time and ours as well, portraying a black man with sensitivity, dignity, and sympathy. If shallow, ignorant readers see Jim as a caricature and an object of derision, that's their problem. Hopefully they may mature enough in their lifetime to appreciate this book as one of the greatest classics of American literature.

And for those who might be wondering -- this reviewer is black.

Judy Lind
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
An excellent book. The humor is subtle, clever and entertaining. I would highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Magnificent tale from the master of American Literature. So well done, I deconstructed the book and then reconstructed it to create a modernday version called There is a Generation. The world needs more humor today for sure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2015
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
just plain good...read it in grade school...the should still have this book in the school librarys,,this is not a racist book as the newer generation think it is...just a factual book on how things were back in those times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
Verified Purchase
This title is a classic and this leather bound edition is the best one I've found. It's a beautiful addition to my collection!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Hated lit class in HS but loved revisiting this
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on April 28, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have been reading some of the old books I had to read in school. Of all the ones I have re-read, this was by far my favorite! I found myself laughing out loud and reading segments to my family! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a light read that needs a good laugh!
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on March 17, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Beautiful cover. Excellent choice to add to our homeschool library. Even just reading short selections from it is very entertaining.
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on October 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
I wanted the book to read the series. I have never had the pleasure of reading this book and it was on my "to read" list.
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on September 16, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is a great stand alone product that must be read more than once, so you are better be able to grasp all that it has to offer
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