Why was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn banned?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is often banned for its language and portrayals of race.

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Samuel Clemens wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn under his pen name Mark Twain. The book was first published in February 1885, and by March of that same year, librarians in Concord, Massachusetts were already stating that the book was good for only the "slums" and banning the book. Other descriptions of the book at the time claimed it was "racist," "inaccurate," "mindless," and even "obsolete."

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been banned for a variety of reasons depending on the time and place. Amazingly, the bans didn't seem to bother Mark Twain all that much. Twain believed that the controversies surrounding his book would only help increase sales of the book. I would say that he was right, since more than forty editions have been published and the book sold more than ten million copies by 1960.

One reason that the book is consistently banned is that some people believe that the book is racist. They do not like how Jim is portrayed, and some people state that he is not a credible character. Other racism comments focus on the how the book uses the highly offensive word nigger 213 times. Still other complaints against the book are purely language based and ban the book for using bad grammar. Finally, the book has been called sexist and banned by some feminists for its portrayal of women.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has proven to be a bestseller and one of the great American novels, but it is likely to continue being banned for one reason or another.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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