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Changing Classic Novels??

Do you think great American novels like Hucklberry Finn and Tom Sawyer should be edited to take out the "N" word.
so that future generations would not be hurt by it? I personally am opposed to altering great works, but the literary world is now considering it. What do you think?
10 Responses
Avatar universal
No
203342 tn?1328737207
No, I don't think we should ever change or edit classic novels. That was how they talked back then (even black people said the "N" word back then). If people are really that sensitive that they get their feelings hurt over a book then that's pretty extreme. We're already too politically correct as it is.
Avatar universal
No
Avatar universal
Nope... saw a report on this first thing this morning on HLN, and people were sounding off.  This is political correctness at it's best.  

One of the people who sounded off was a black man and he said that it is literature, written at a time when language like that was commonplace, and changing it takes away some of the gravity of the story....

Whats next in this country?  What else are we going to go after?  

1032715 tn?1315984234
No,who are we to change an authors words
I would prefer people never to forget how others were treated,
hopefully that way we can prevent it becoming common place again.
There are a lot of words that are offensive to people we need to rise up and not let words hurt us.
585414 tn?1288941302
  I think before that book is read it should be noted that historically this was a time when slavery and racism were the norm and read in that light. I recently watched the movie "Birth of a Nation" for the same reason. One has to learn from the past and the ignorance and hatred that occurred then are part of it. That said I don't think that either of those books are racist and that Mark Twain himself was opposed to slavery to the best of my knowledge and that "Huckleberry Finn" was in some way commenting on it. However people also have to think if they would accept any other form of hateful language regarding another group to be acceptable in a book that would be read to students. If its not an issue of the classroom then its a free speech concern and there regulations concerning free speech would prevent it and should not be considered to begin with. We have to learn from the past not alter it.
1035252 tn?1427227833
No. My husband and I had a talk about this last night and we both agreed; our kids will read "unedited" versions of all the classics. Not to PROMOTE any undesirable thing, but to embrace literature the way it should be embraced; uncensored.
377493 tn?1356502149
I also strongly disagree with changing the original text.  Pretending these things never happened does not make it so.  I agree with Narla...we need to remember how it used to be in order to prevent it from ever happening again.  And Samuel Clemens was actually a big part of the civil rights movement and very against slavery.  He spoke out about it regularly.  

I went to see the two musicals...ShowBoat and Miss Saigon.  At both productions there were protesters outside with signs (I actually think it was the same people at both..honestly) saying that ShowBoat glamorized slavery, etc.  It didn't. But it did say that it happened, and it did.  

I want my son to read the unedited classics.  We cannot rewrite history nor should we try to.  
1461073 tn?1308677548
I believe they are not only opting to change the "N" word but also the word "injun" in the book.  A blind eye can not be turned to what terrible occurrences were present in history, and changing/censoring the wording is not going to make those occurrences disappear.

I personally believe the Classics were worded for the times they were written in, and should be left as is.  If the Classics are offensive to some because of the way they are worded then they need to be removed from the teaching curriculum, but not have the wording changed to accommodate our current times.  

I personally see this as being no different than taking an antique clock and placing a modern day face on it, and then wondering why it now has a decrease in value.  
Avatar universal
There is plenty of offensive language everywhere, and even today in some news casts...if one wanted to take a hard edge, anything can be misconstrued into something offensive.

It's literature.  It was written in a far different time, and of course that language isn't appropriate today.  Instead of changing the language, if you find it offensive, just don't read it!  Changing the text of the book does not make the offensive language go away.  

People use that language and other language that is equally as offensive all of the time.  What are we going to do next, ban talking?  After that, ban thinking?

Beside just offensive language, people give opinions that often offend other people.  With this kind of thinking we are on the road to ban a difference of opinion.

I personally think that there is a lot to be learned about classic literature and that language used at the time.  It shows perhaps a bit of ignorance during the time.... maybe not even ignorance, but that's how it was in those days and we know it today as being ignorant.  Looking back on that language and those times, one can get a feel for how the world has changed and I think there are a few lessons to learn there.

There are far more important issues out there.  There are people, children in this country and all over the world who will go to bed hungry today, and some politically correct jack-wagon wants to change language in a classic novel???  Not just one classic novel, but all of them.....  To me this is just a no-brainer.  Leave the classics or any prose as it is.  It's freedom of speech and we have that right in this country.  (You may get your tail end kicked for what you say)

Pick another cause.... hunger, welfare reform, political reform, income tax codes... something that really affects lives.  If written prose affects you that much that you believe it warrants changing whats written.... quit reading.
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