I’m not a big proponent of revisions or substitution of literary classics but as a professor I also understand controversy can cloud the class room experience so I am really torn about this issue. When I was in primary school we never did study or read Mark Twain, it wasn’t until I was out of college that I picked up his books and really enjoyed Twain’s colorful dialog and great character development. What is so amazing about Twain is his work is still fresh and a good read in today’s vernacular.
But I can also see how the word “nigger” can alienate and hurt students when a book is compulsory reading. I would have really enjoyed the experience reading Twain in school and if certain words need to change to do that then so be it. Of course there should be discussions and lesson plans on the debate of racial epithets and their purpose in literature.
As for Twain, I truly believe that he was faithful in the vernacular in trying to capture the situation that was strangling the US during this time period.