Recently, South Books of Alabama announced a new revised version of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer with mix reviews.  In February 2011 South Books will publish 7, 500 copies, replacing the word” Nigger” with “Slave” and “Injun Joe”  to “Indian Joe”  and “half- breed”  becomes “half- blood.” A Mark Twain scholar, Alan Gribben and the revisionist, claims this will please the people who are offended and hopefully exclude it from the U.S banned list, “it’s such a shame that one word should be a barrier between a marvelous reading experience and a lot of readers.”

 Ok!  The “Dialect” and word “Nigger” “Oops! I said it again.” Let’s get politically correct the N word, makes some people uncomfortable.   This book was published in 1885, based on places and people in the Southeastern part of the country, specifically Mississippi, during a period when the word nigger was part of the vernacular and certain dialects caused mispronunciation.  No matter how demeaning, in that period, stereo-types and racial slurs were a part of everyday life.  I do not know if anyone remembers, but black men and women were sold as slaves, beaten raped and called “niggers”, when slavery was abolished in 1865, still “niggers”.  

That was a way of life  and part of American history. What is the problem?  Isn’t the point of studying history is so we don’t repeat it.   I enjoy reading classic literature; it allows me to learn how people lived and analyze they’re social norms and that is what Mark twain achieved with his stories. If you change the words future generations reading Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer will get a different perception of how people thought and lived.  I guess you already know how I feel about the revision of the book, replacing a word that was once spoken freely and accepted in society  with a word that goes hand in hand with nigger,  in a period where degrading black people was a way of life.  A harsh reality, nonetheless it is part of our American history. The book should be read as it was written!  Just my opinion.

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