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Instead of banning book, learn from it

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Instead of banning book, learn from it
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if there was no record of the past?

In some cases it might be a good thing, but in reality I think the modern day world would be completely different. Sometimes the past works as a reminder of how things used to be, and if you look at it closely enough you can learn lessons.

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For example, this past year I had to read the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in Mrs. Martinez' English class.

The book takes place at the end of the Civil War in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi river in Missouri, and is about a young boy (Huck  Finn), who helps an escaped slave (Jim) try to get to freedom.

The two build a raft and take off down the Mississippi in search of the Missouri river (where Jim can flee north to New York), but they encounter several different "roadblocks" on the way, including missing the Missouri River and floating straight into the deep south.

The two work their way through conflict after conflict until Jim is captured in Louisiana. It's there that Jim learns that the African Americans had been freed from slavery.

Now of course with great art comes great controversy, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn somehow managed to fall into that category (as well as other great novels, such as Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, and To kill a Mockingbird, just to name a few).

Every day throughout the country there is an everlasting effort to get great novels such as these banned from public schools, and even public libraries, and in my opinion it's insane!

It just doesn't make sense to me how people go to such great lengths to get rid of these books, just because these books show small examples of racism, or poor language, or even just because of misinterpretation.

In Huck Finn's case Twain uses the derogatory word for African Americans to describe Jim.

Now the word is definitely unacceptable in 99 out of 100 situations, but in Twain's defense, the book was written in the late 1800s, and the word was not intended as an insult, but was used to give readers a real life view of what life in the 1860s was like for slaves, and for whites.

There are numerous occasions in the story where Huckleberry Finn has an argument with his conscience about whether he should stop and turn Jim in, or keep going.

Remember, in 1865 you did not want to be caught helping a slave escape, and in the end, Huck does what turns out to be the right thing.

Some people don't realize that you can change the words, ban the book or take offense to it, but regardless, the past is the past, and it's not going to change. So instead of trying to erase it, why not learn from the past?

Jonah Bowe is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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