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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Ted Ficklen <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 13 May 1994 11:37:04 CDT
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Now that classes are letting out and things are apt to slow down, this
might be a good time for this kind of a discussion. My response to Scott
Holmes and my question to the list is "Is it possible that Twain *is*
inappropriate for today's children?"

I'm serious. Despite the fact that Huck Finn is a great book and a good
read, there are more and more parents who object to it. Im not sure that
we can dismiss these opinions outright. Maybe we should consider whether
Huckleberry Finn is an appropriate book to be taught in schools, or at
what level should the book be taught. Maybe we shouldnt teach this book
without teaching the historical background first.

I think that whether the book is taught in schools it will still be read
by children. There can be no danger of its dying simply because it ceases
to be a required text.

I think we should recognize too that part of Twain's power is his ability to
be offensive. If he can no longer offend us, then we have enshrined him
as that white-suited sage, that Hal Holbrook masquerade, and we will have
destroyed him. *Then* we will have made him into one of those classics that
nobody reads.

Ted Ficklen
University of Missouri - St Louis