This story about cutting the N-word from two Mark Twain classics “Huck Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” is getting a lot of attention today. Here’s the gist, from AP:
Mark Twain wrote that “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter.” A new edition of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” will try to find out if that holds true by replacing the N-word with “slave” in an effort not to offend readers.
Twain scholar Alan Gribben, who is working with NewSouth Books in Alabama to publish a combined volume of the books, said the N-word appears 219 times in “Huck Finn” and four times in “Tom Sawyer.” He said the word puts the books in danger of joining the list of literary classics that Twain once humorously defined as those “which people praise and don’t read.”
The news is definitely drawing some criticism. Personally, I think it should be left alone. There are many things in history that are offensive. Acting like those moments didn’t happen doesn’t help anyone. I’d rather confront and learn from the past.
What do you think? Does changing one word matter?