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Huck Finn : Born to Trouble

Huck Finn : Born to Trouble

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Huck Finn : Born to Trouble

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  1. Huck Finn: Born to Trouble Katherine Schulten

  2. General Information • Time: 1995 • Setting: 11th grade, Cherry Hill, New Jersey • Issue: The Cherry Hill Minority Civic Association (CHMCA) officially objected to Huck Finn on the grounds that “the prejudicial effect of the racial characterizations outweigh any literary value the book may have.” • Solution: create new mandatory curriculum

  3. Writing Prompt • Cherry Hill parents were worried “that Jim would never seem like a true hero to African American children because he does not resist slavery.” • “Jim is not heroic to black kids. In the end he is being controlled by a white boy. He is not a man, he is an emasculated man. They [the students] want to see Nat Turner.” • Establish whether or not you would classify Jim as a true hero to African American children. Use examples from the novel and your opinion to support your position.

  4. Writer’s Initial Reaction • “As a former English teacher who had taught Huck Finn many times, I just didn’t believe that a curriculum written by a committee as a response to political pressure could possibly be worthwhile. At worse I expected it to sacrifice intellectual rigor for well-meaning but simplistic exercises on multicultural harmony.”

  5. Student Initial Reaction • “We don’t get enough credit for understanding things. We could have read it without all of this.”

  6. Teacher Reaction • “In the end it was decided that not only would a new curriculum be written, but all Cherry Hill teachers wishing to teach the novel in the future would be required to attend a one-day workshop given by the Villanova professors.” • One teacher “finds the new curriculum brilliant but won’t teach the book because, he says ‘If we take away the English teacher’s ability to apply judgment to a work of literature, we’re just delivery machines…we might as well be on videotape.”