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Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn: Re-imagining the American Dream (review)

Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn: Re-imagining the American Dream (review) books Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn Re-imagining the American Dream By Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh The University of Alabama Press, 2000 167 pp. Cloth $29.95, paper $19.95 Reviewed by Christopher Windolph, Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and managing editor of the Southern Literary Journal. Despite Twain's warning--"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"--a war of words rages over Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Widely taught as a Great Book, its motive, moral, and plot are painful sources of contention among black and white readers, resulting in not just a war of words but also a war about words: Can anyone rightly call a book great if it uses, virtually without irony, an offensive racial epithet 213 times? If Huck's final evaluation of Jim is, "I knowed he was white inside"? If its model of black-white friendship consists of the doting and sacrifice of the one--"you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had"--in response to the pranks, dishonesty, and "good fun" of the other? Huck http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn: Re-imagining the American Dream (review)

Southern Cultures , Volume 8 (4) – Nov 27, 2002

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Center for the Study of the American South.
ISSN
1534-1488
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

books Black, White, and Huckleberry Finn Re-imagining the American Dream By Elaine Mensh and Harry Mensh The University of Alabama Press, 2000 167 pp. Cloth $29.95, paper $19.95 Reviewed by Christopher Windolph, Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and managing editor of the Southern Literary Journal. Despite Twain's warning--"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"--a war of words rages over Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Widely taught as a Great Book, its motive, moral, and plot are painful sources of contention among black and white readers, resulting in not just a war of words but also a war about words: Can anyone rightly call a book great if it uses, virtually without irony, an offensive racial epithet 213 times? If Huck's final evaluation of Jim is, "I knowed he was white inside"? If its model of black-white friendship consists of the doting and sacrifice of the one--"you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had"--in response to the pranks, dishonesty, and "good fun" of the other? Huck

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 27, 2002

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