Edit 'Huck Finn'? Heck, no!

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Monday, January 17, 2011; 8:06 PM

Regarding the Jan. 13 letter to the editor "A good fix for 'Huck Finn' ":

My answer is a resounding "yes" to those who ask if we would deny people Mark Twain's literature before changing that so-called "N-word." If a classic work with such profound racial significance like "Huck Finn" is so important that it should be read by sixth-graders, then it should also be read as it is. If the book cannot be read as originally intended, it is better to let the readers wait until they can stomach it. We cannot have it morally and historically both ways.

I read it somewhere between the fifth and sixth grade, and I cannot imagine discussing that book without having read the racial epithet in question. It is critical to the basic framework of Twain's theme, and that becomes obvious while one is reading the book. Change that and you change a fundamental purpose of the book.

Finally, if that terrible word should not be read by sixth-graders, how, and much more important, why did "Huck Finn" become a classic? The answer for people I know has been that it enriched their lives. We should not risk sacrificing that.

David L. Evans, Arlington


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