I just knew that there was something special about today, it's the beginning of the American Library Association's Banned Book Week! So, in honor of an oldie but a goodie, I'm highlighting "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", one of the most challenged books of 2007. First published in the US in 1885, it's caused controversy since the outset with some communities and their libraries. Notably banned at the time in the Concord, MA library, Twain, never the shrinking violet, famously commented to his editor, "Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as 'trash and only suitable for the slums.' This should sell us another five thousand copies for sure!"
So, what's all the fuss about? Namely the character of Jim and his minstrel-esque portrayal, the lavish use of the N-word, and whether the book is racist or anti-racist. There are strong arguments on both sides of the aisle on this one. The thing is, you can never truly know someone's intent. What did Twain actually intend with Jim? I can't answer that. No one can. Ultimately, it's a conundrum. Which, considering what a smartass Twain was, doesn't surprise me in the least.
I'm against banning books. We're all grown ups, aren't we? Fahrenheit 451 is always right around the corner, is it not?