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Andrew Dickson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 23:01:20 -0400
text/plain (57 lines)
I know this is a book that's given to Junior High School students to
read, but because of this, it has this horrible stigma to it.  So many
people from multiple generations associate Huckleberry Finn with
"boring" because they were forced to read it in school.  I feel like
Mark Twain would be furious if he knew how his once-counter-cultural
book, a book that provided an outlet (among other things) for kids who
are like Huck Finn to feel some catharsis, is now punishing those very
same kids.  Or has been for decades, I should say.

I'm so thankful I wasn't ever assigned to read this book (or perhaps I
was, but I just was so used to not reading in school that I didn't
remember it) in High School.

Google Alerts about the kids saying how they don't want to read it,
yes some of it is laziness, but if this were a book that they wanted
to read, they'd read it.  Reading should never be forced -- every time
it is, you never learn anything.  You just feel resentment, page after
page.  Doesn't matter how profound the work is.

I don't think more policing of students is going to get kids
interested in reading this book.  Honestly, I don't think anything
ever will -- the stigma runs too deep.  I feel bad though for the
punishments that are going to come to these kids.  I read the book for
the first time over the summer (of this year, at 22) and I feel like
it was the perfect time for me to read it.  Not a minute before or
after.  Obviously that's subjective, but I -cannot- imagine 7th
graders getting into the poetry of this book.  I imagine most will
think "Oh yeah, that book that's supposed to teach us that racism=bad"


On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM, Sam Sackett <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> There's a service on Google called Google Alerts.  It gives you what appear=
> s on the Internet -- news, blogs, and web -- about the subject you choose. =
>  I signed up for it to get alerts about Huckleberry Finn, hoping I'd see an=
> y comments about my Huckleberry Finn Grows Up.  I haven't seen any yet.
> But what I have seen is that almost every day some student is writing in sa=
> ying he's been given a class assignment about Adventures of Huckleberry Fin=
> n and wants somebody to do his homework for him; and/or some person or comp=
> any is offering to provide an essay about Twain's classic.
> I think if I were teaching Huckleberry Finn, I'd want to subscribe to this =
> Google service to see what my students were doing; in fact, if I were teach=
> ing any book or books at all, I'd want to get Google Alerts on that book or=
>  those books.  Keeping students honest is a tough job, and this would help.
> Sam Sackett