Objects in Mirror

The power of a word

Posted at 2:52 PM on January 5, 2011 by Julia Schrenkler

"A Mark Twain scholar plans to release a new edition of 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' without the N word."

MPR News features this in Today's Question: Should an editor change a classic novel to keep from offending modern readers?

The comments are a very interesting mix of perspectives: on the status of classic literary works, on the times and tides of culture, on censorship, and on the 'N' word itself.

The replies I read really made me think, and I dug into the MPR News 2004 archives for The 'n-word' feature and the related commentary collection. I found some of the same stuggles - and surprises - with the 'N word' in those pieces.

Is the controversy about the word, or about social structures? Would any other word change spark this much discussion? Share your answer to Today's Question. We're listening.

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