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Published:January 8th, 2011 11:03 EST
Another Huckleberry Adventure

Another Huckleberry Adventure

By Avah LaReaux

For the last two days, I`ve been involved in discussions concerning the "Huck Finn situation." I won`t recount the matter here, as I`m sure most people have heard enough of it in the news. The long and short of it surrounds the use, and changing thereof, of the N-word in the classic Mark Twain novel. Here`s my take...

I have loved words and literature for as long as I can remember. My parents owned a huge wooden bookcase that was filled with everything from Sir Author Conan Doyle to Encyclopedia Britannica. Needless to say, Mark Twain was among the plethora of authors collected, as was Edgar Allen Poe. And right beside my hard-back copy of Tom Sawyer sat my copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Did I read it? Yes. Was I offended? No. To date, I am still not offended.

As an author, I have a great appreciation for what my forefather writers did for the literary field. Whether it be William Shakespeare and his tale of Othello the Moor (look that term up for editing) or Mark Twain`s use of the same word in Huck Finn, how can we as a culture even consider editing such works? In order to appreciate literature in its purest form, we must take time to understand and teach the premise on which the classics were written. We must embrace the prevailing thought processes and beliefs of the time period in question, in order to properly understand the picture being painted.

The job of an artist is to paint a masterpiece in such a way that anyone who is compelled to enjoy it is touched by some aspect of the work. The duty is the same for an author. Through our pens, we paint scenes. characters, and timelines of history that engage readers and ignite emotion toward the work. It was Mark Twain`s job as an author to develop Huck Finn`s character in such a way that even his language evoked feeling in those who read it. Had he not done is job well, we would not be having this conversation.

I do not believe the word in question should be changed, edited, or "fixed."  To undo the language is to undo a piece of history and deny the power of evolution of a race of people and a nation. If that work be changed, then so shall all works, wholesale, that may be disparaging in anyway. Changing this one work, means forever rethreading history, undermining the present, and neglecting the future. The little fox will indeed spoil the vine and the art of writing will be forever redefined.