This is the "Huckleberry Finn and the "N Word"" page of the "ENG 218W Dr. Harvey Fall 12 - Intro to Literary Study" guide.
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ENG 218W Dr. Harvey Fall 12 - Intro to Literary Study   Tags: biography, english, fall_2012, huck_finn, literature, mark_twain  

A guide to researching literature and literary concepts and approaches, and focusing on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide

Huckleberry Finn and the "N Word" Print Page

Credit due:

Many thanks to Debra Thomson and Carla Weiss of Rhode Island College for permission to reuse much of the content appearing on this page.  All mistakes and oversights are my own.

News on the web


Mark Twain on Huckleberry Finn

"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck and Jim on the raft

 Alan Gribben, a professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, after teaching Twain for decades, has edited a new edition of Huckleberry Finn which substitutes the word "slave" in every instance where Twain used the word "nigger", and replaces the word  "Injun" with "Indian".  He explains that his purpose is to get past the problems caused by the words so that students can concentrate, instead, on the work of literature.  


Dr. Alan Gribben on his revision of Huckleberry Finn

January 5, 2011


The "N-word": Is it ever okay to say it?

From CBS News March 20, 2011

 College Professor David Bradley explains to Byron Pitts the power behind the N-word.


CNN Video


Interview with Byron Pitts

Pitts starts the conversation by prompting Silvio to say the N-word and then explains why he decided to say the full word in his "60 Minutes" report. Pitts cites two precedents: Ed Bradley and Andy Rooney both said the word in previous reports on the broadcast. Yes, Andy Rooney.


Pitts also describes his own childhood experiences with the word: at age 10, a white schoolmate's parent hurled the word at him on the sidelines of a football game. It was the first time Pitts was called N-word, but it wouldn't be the last.

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