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Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By slice
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 04:38 PM

Just saw this on Yahoo! News.

According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books plans to release a version of "Huck Finn" that cuts the "n" word and replaces it with "slave." The slur "injun," referring to Native Americans, will also be replaced.


One person sarcastically writes, "I love when people erase racism and pretend it never happened." Still, not everyone is outraged. One respondent writes that it is "awkward being the only black kid in class and having to read it." Another points out that the original is in the public domain and still available to anyone who wants to read it.



news.yahoo.com . . .

Thoughts?

My first reaction (probably partially due to being an English major) was WTF?!

39 Replies to Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?

re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 05:54 PM
Next they'll take all the racial slurs out of To Kill A Mockingbird too... And future generations will be extremely confused as to WHY everyone just didn't get along.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 1)
By Munkensteinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 06:27 PM
Maybe the new cover will show them on a hovercraft instead of a junky old raft...and maybe they can be talking on cell phones, too!

Good lord, things change...no need to go around trying to "clean up" things that don't fit into somebody's view of "modern." Quit giving words so much negative power, people, GEEZ.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 06:42 PM
Literature is often relective of the time it was written in. Future generations should be allowed to learn about the mistakes of past generations.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 07:10 PM
There are schools in our area that have removed To Kill a Mockingbird from the curriculum all together. seriously, I understand that there was racism in the book, BUT that's how things were at the time. It happened, there is no erasing that. I think that seeing how things were might make people realize how far we have come, and than they won't be able to use the race card any more.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Maria89
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 07:32 PM
'Tis the age of political correctness! God forbid we offend anyone!

*eye-roll*

Sorry. I'll stop being obnoxious. But seriously, Twain was trying to denounce racism in a sarcastic way. I guess they decided to completely throw away the context. I think that since this publisher is from the South, they're trying to lessen that region's notoriety with regards to race relations. That's just a theory -- I'm not saying all southerners are racists by any means. But I'm rambling. I'm curious to see how well this edition sells.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By reeldancer123
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 08:02 PM
Hmmm.. I dont know what to think.


We actually finished this book before break, and I think the n word made the timing of the book seem more real...But thats just me. Its also a classic book..
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 09:23 PM
Censorship is censorship is censorship, no matter what you want to call it.

Oh, and "Native Americans" refer to themselves as Indians. That's how offended they are. *eyeroll*

Samuel Clemens is spinning like a top six feet under. Though I suppose he's probably not that surprised. When I read that as a kid, many moons ago, I was struck by how compassionate Huck winds up being towards Jim, even though he uses the offensive term; it shows you what the times were really like, and more importantly, that words don't mean much, your ACTIONS do. For pete's sake, he's trying to (spoiler alert!) FREE A SLAVE, why on earth do you need to censor that?!


Personally, I'm still pissed they renamed And Then There Were None (formerly Ten Little Niggers and then Ten Little Indians and NOW the rhyme is "Ten Little Soldiers," wtf, and anyway how is that not offensive to soldiers?)
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 1)
By pondflyPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:57 PM
Horrible- I grew up with all the racial connotations in the cartoons (Tom & Jerry, Mickey Mouse, Banana Splits, you all know the rest). We read and watched To Kill a Mockingbird, Roots, 1984 and others I can't get off the top of my head.
You take it for what it is and move on.
If you believe that these are going to ruin your child's life then lets forget about all the other bad things in history so we can coddle our children mamby pamby land (Geico Commercial :) )
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By OkinawaDancing
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:56 PM
Truthfully it upsets me when they do things like this.

It is not that I approve of the loose usage of these words but they are powerful words. Every time a book is censored like this what it does is takes the degree of serious and reality of the book down a level which in my opinion makes it harder for kids to get the real idea of what the time period was like. I do not know about how the rest of you feel but for me books are a tool that help readers (and in this case kids) understand another time period. Really what you are doing is changing the way that these kids are viewing these accounts of history.

I am sorry for being on a little bit of a soap box here but we can try to erase whatever we want from the history books (who knows 10 years from now "slave" may be replaced with "field worker" and BAM "slavery what's that?" "Hostility between people with different skin colors. . not in this country!. **rolls eyes**)
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:07 PM
Heart wrote:



Oh, and "Native Americans" refer to themselves as Indians. That's how offended they are. *eyeroll*



Well to be fair here there is a little bit of a difference between the words Indian and Injun. Which is the word that is used in Huck Finn if I remember correctly.

Most Natives don't like Injun.....but they don't always mind Indian. Depends on who you ask. My family didn't seem to mind but I knew of another family who did.

But in any case changing a book because it doesn't fit a modern time is pretty dumb. Actually makes me angry that people actually think that people can't figure out that this was how they spoke back than. Or that it was normal and that it wasn't always meant to be derogatory.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 2)
By ChristinePremium member
On Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:29 PM
No matter how well intentioned (and I'm starting to cringe at the whole concept of "political correctness")it is rather arrogant and presumptuous of anyone to take it upon themselves to change the words of any author. In this case, it is especially insulting for several reasons.

First, Mark Twain was a brilliant writer and social satirist. To re-write any of his work is the act of a fool.

Second, Huckleberry Finn was written from the point of view of an unreliable first person narrator (Huck). This literary technique is employed to illuminate the complexity of the place and time, thereby enhancing the reader's understanding of, "How could slavery have existed in a so called Christian society". Furthermore, the Huck character was an uneducated, feral child, who was likewise shunned by the society in which this story takes place. To subject this novel to editing, at this point in time, displays and incredible ignorance of the academic study of literature.

Third, if a scalpel is going to be taken to this book why stop at "the N-Word" (also, not one of my favorite euphoniums)? "The Widow Douglas"? or her "Old Maid" sister? I don't remember the name of the character at the moment, but there was a part where Huck dresses up as a girl, attempting to accomplish something to further his journey, and when discovered, receives all kinds of advice about how girls do things. Should this be re-written as well so as not to promote sexist stereotypes? Twain wisely choose MANY seemingly ignorant turns of a phrase to make several great points well. While they're at it, Buck, the friend who was eventually killed in a "Family Feud" is a character who many mountain people may find offensive. Let's strike that too.

Instead of re-writing what may be one of the greatest American novels of all time, perhaps these so called "scholars" might consider writing a "reader's guide" to clear up many misunderstandings.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 1)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:53 PM
Edited by Heart (21721) on 2011-01-05 12:56:48
hylndlas wrote:

Heart wrote:



Oh, and "Native Americans" refer to themselves as Indians. That's how offended they are. *eyeroll*



Well to be fair here there is a little bit of a difference between the words Indian and Injun. Which is the word that is used in Huck Finn if I remember correctly.

Most Natives don't like Injun.....but they don't always mind Indian. Depends on who you ask. My family didn't seem to mind but I knew of another family who did.

Huck Finn is written in dialect, though (which is a large part of why it's such a large crime to censor it!). Huck doesn't pronounce Indian "Indian"... he says "injun," and that's what Twain writes. Writing in dialect transports a reader to that time period and gives historical accuracy, as well as adding flavor and realism to a character. We are brought further into Huck's thoughts by hearing them the way Huck thinks them - not translated into grammatically correct "proper English."
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By imadanseurPremium member
On Thu Jan 06, 2011 07:58 AM
HATE this! What's next...clothing or repainting naked works of art? Changing Twain's words is inexcusable. I am somewhat for political correctness, but not for censorship ever!!
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Maria89
On Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:47 PM
Edited by Maria89 (223314) on 2011-01-08 01:23:00
I just came across this:

bookshelvesofdoom.blogs.com . . .

Edit: I've seen some other cartoon variations on this one, but this one is the best because it bashes twilight.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By pondflyPremium member
On Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:58 PM
Everytime someone gets their pants in a ruffle because it says or does something that offends them and works on banning or changing the book or film due to offending others is actually doing worse damage.
The more we try to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't happen the worse something will come. We learn from our mistakes to improve ourselves.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member
On Sat Jan 08, 2011 01:41 AM
I wonder if they are gonna rewrite the bible someday. Because parts of it demean woman ( If you have a girl baby, you are unclean for longer then a male baby? WTF), there is violence, there is incest....
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 1)
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:38 PM
While we're at it... Winnie The Pooh is offensive to obese people, depressed people, scared people, speed addicts, and intellectuals. (I couldn't come up with anything good regarding Rabbit...)

I DEMAND it be burned!!!
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 09, 2011 09:18 AM
^ I think that Rabbit is OCD isn't he?
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jan 09, 2011 01:39 PM
^ Thank you, dear.

AND ANOTHER THING!! Winnie The Pooh books are obviously offensive to neurotics and OCD sufferers!!

*stamps foot*
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:46 AM
Heart wrote:


Huck Finn is written in dialect, though (which is a large part of why it's such a large crime to censor it!). Huck doesn't pronounce Indian "Indian"... he says "injun," and that's what Twain writes. Writing in dialect transports a reader to that time period and gives historical accuracy, as well as adding flavor and realism to a character. We are brought further into Huck's thoughts by hearing them the way Huck thinks them - not translated into grammatically correct "proper English."


I understand it's written in dialect. I know Injun was the way it was said in the south. Doesn't mean that it wasn't offensive to some Native Americans back in the day or even today for that matter. Not everyone in the time period said Injun. It depended on where you lived, and depending on where you lived the local tribe may or may not have minded. I imagine it may not have bothered a local tribe like the Choctaw (because they were used to the local dialect) as much as say a tribe like the Piscataway from Maryland who were not used to a deep southern dialect.

I don't agree with changing the book either, and really I think doing so is really dumb because I totally get it was just how Huck would have said it. :) But I can see how it may have been offensive back in the day or even present day for that matter depending on who you ask.

I as a Native American/Indian don't mind being called Indian and maybe to some extent Injun (although no one has ever called me that honestly) But I do know other Native American's who can not stand to be called Injun. Case in point My aunt would probably knock someones teeth out if they called her that, but being called an Indian doesn't bother her.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:28 AM
You know who I blame for this? Everyone who has ever said "the n-word". Not the ACTUAL n-word - but the phrase, "the n-word". If we can't even say the word in an academic context, we cannot have an honest discussion about it. Same goes for "the c-word" (meaning cancer, not the other c-word lol). Every time someone says "the n-word" to me, I want to punch them in the kidney. If you can't bring yourself to say the word, you probably just shouldn't participate in the discussion.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes? (karma: 4)
By TamarinPremium member
On Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:17 PM
Edited by Tamarin (112432) on 2011-01-12 22:19:40
Saw this today on Boing Boing and thought this thread needed it.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By Coccinellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:56 PM
This is ridiculous. I guess we'll have to change every other book written to as to not offend people. And then 50 years from now, change them again, and again. To the kid who thinks it's "awkward" in class, I find that really sad. I mean, as a black person that is a part of the past of his ancestors and while I think we all strive to eradicate present and future racism, we can't pretend it never existed in the first place.
re: Huck Finn Gets Some Changes?
By slice
On Thu Jan 13, 2011 08:12 AM
Tamarin wrote:

Saw this today on Boing Boing and thought this thread needed it.


I died at question 3. Lmao.
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