You don't know about me, without you have read a book by the name of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," but that ain't no matter. --Huck Finn .
Few books in the American literary canon have been both as influential and as thoroughly debated as Mark Twain's 1885 novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Shortly after its publication, it was banned from the Concord Public Library by a committee that found it "more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people." Twain's use of dialect and first person narration from an unschooled child's perspective were shocking to the cultural elite of the time, but the book transformed American literature. Authors were liberated by the very things the censors of the Concord Public Library found objectionable. The barrier between spoken and literary language dissolved and a new American literature emerged that was not bound by European conventions. In his 1935 book, The Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway wrote that "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before.
There has been nothing as good since.".
Interactions between the novel and American culture continue to influence critical perspectives on Huckleberry Finn to this day. Most importantly, increased sensitivity to issues related to racism in the United States since the 1950s has contributed to new issues being raised about Mark Twain's portrayal of race relations in the pre-Civil War South. Is it a racist novel or a realistic condemnation of racism? Does it matter? Is American society so embroiled in racial conflicts that any book that uses the "N-word" hundreds of times should be banned from school reading lists? In a recent survey of attempts to ban books in the United States, the American Library Association ranked Huckleberry Finn the fifth most frequently challenged book of the 1990s.