Wash. teacher calls for 'Huck Finn' ban

Jan. 19, 2009 at 3:09 PM

RIDGEFIELD, Wash., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A Washington state high school teacher says it's time to retire Mark Twain's classic novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" from school curricula.

Twain's 19th century epic of race and self-discovery in America is still controversial because of its frequent use of the racially derogatory "N-word," and in an era that will see Barack Obama inaugurated as the country's first African-American president, it should be replaced with something more modern, teacher John Foley wrote in an opinion piece for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

But Foley's call to retire "Huck Finn" has stirred controversy, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

"Obama would be horrified if he knew this censorship was done in his name," Trudy Sundberg, a retired teacher of American literature from Oak Harbor, Wash., wrote in response to Foley's column.

"Every year, it seems to be a tougher sell to the kids," Foley, of Ridgefield, Wash., told the Times. "I have a lot of passion for 'Huck Finn,' and my enthusiasm usually carries the book. But I have kids come up to me, very smart kids, who say, 'Mr. Foley, I hate this book.'"

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