Producing a new version of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that replaces the “N-word” with the word “slave” allows the book to continue to reach into the lives of generations to come.
In a society where change and progress are valued, removing offensive terms allows for a more comfortable read.
In classes, students learn equality alongside peers of every race and background. However, confusion swirls when the teacher assigns an highly praised and beloved book for the class and students find racial slurs embedded throughout the text.
Literature in its original form definitely has a place in the world and is important to preserve. But who is to say that a changing society does not create a demand for modified accounts?
Parents who love the story of Huck Finn can now willingly give the book to their children and not have conflicting thoughts on what is or isn’t appropriate. The story’s plot is unchanged and the historical differences remain intact, but the potentially harmful terms are gone.
Children of a new age and upbringing can indulge in the stories of their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods without learning or developing socially inappropriate language.
Public education is continually changing in order to keep up with modern times and guide children in the right direction.
A major goal in modern society is to encourage colorblindness in school, careers and relationships. This modified version of a classic story aids in furthering that idea.
The new version of “Huckleberry Finn” is purely a new edition, not a complete replacement of the old. Books are continually produced in new forms, and classic novels now include “interpretations” alongside the original text. This version is simply another form as well. Those who prefer to read the original text are free to do so, and producing new versions does not mean that all prior versions will be destroyed and never mentioned again.
This is another tool for parenting, if nothing else, that allows parents to censor what their children read if they so choose.
Generating a more sensitive version of the story may even bring more readers to “outdated” books such as this one.
Keeping literature alive in various communities is an important objective, and contemporary revisions such as this can help achieve that goal. If literature continues to play an active role in society, education and the spread of knowledge, will prevail.
Jessica Peterson is a sophomore criminal justice and psychology double major from Canton.