Throughout the years The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain has left criticism and controversy in its wake. Today the book is still in the top ten list of banned books in America. Since the mid-1900s most objections of the novel stemmed from Twain's depiction of racial relations in the pre-Civil War South. The matter-of-fact use of the slang of the time, and the graphic description of the treatment of slaves has raised concerns about how the book would influence students in public schools. Many argued, and continue to argue, that the book's images perpetuate racism and deeply insult the African American race. However, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of the most significant pieces of classic literature in this country. The novel should be allowed to be taught in all public schools because of its style it is a classic piece of American literature worth reading and exploring, it educates students on the history of the South in the late 1800s by using satire, and it allows students to form opinions and discuss the moral issues of the novel.
In writing Huck Finn Mark Twain explored aspects of writing that had never been tried before and as a result created one of the most magnificent pieces of classic American literature. The novel is a perfect adaptation of how life was lived in the South in the late 1800s. In an essay written by T.S. Eliot he speaks of its "consistency and perfect adaptation of the writing" (350). Those who criticize Huck Finn condemn it for just that, they often criticize it specifically for the use of the word "nigger" and the portrayal of Jim. Although if the novel is more carefully examined it can be seen that Twain was simply trying to recreate the world in which Huck lived. Twain did not set out to write a racist novel, he set out to write a realistic novel that accurately portrayed the dialect and stereotypes of the pre-Civil war South. Twain uses Jim to very precisely show this in having him speak the dialect of African Americans in the South, when Jim first speaks the reader hears him say, "You go en git in de river ag"in, whah you b"longs, en doan" do nuffin to Ole Jim, 'at 'uz alwuz yo' fren" (41).