Over its century and a quarter of existence, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been generally recognized as one of the special pinnacles of the American canon, yet at the same time the book has retained a unique capacity to provoke the alarm and indignation of the godly by its failures in decorum.
Long ago, the problems were coarse language and unseemly racial fraternization. Today, it’s politically incorrect language, the dreaded N word, and a vital portrait of a racially unequal society and unequal characters which provokes the wrath of the Philistines.
Can such a corrupting and subversive book possibly be permitted to appear on reading lists in respectable American schools?
The Manchester, Connecticut school system bravely wrestled with the thorny problem, and devised a bold answer. Huck Finn could stay, but teachers must first attend special seminars instructing them in exactly how to frame and properly civilize the unruly text.
Personally, I think that Huck ought to jump back on the raft and sail off down the Connecticut River for the territories.