To teach or not to teach? This is the question that is presently on many administrators' minds about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. For those who read the book without grasping the important concepts that Mark Twain gets across 'in between the lines', many problems arise. A reader may come away with the impression that the novel is simply a negative view of the African-American race. Many scholars and educators, like Marylee Hengsetbeck who said, 'If Huck Finn is used solely as a part of a unit on slavery or racism, we sell the book short.' (Hengstebeck 32) feel that there is much to be learned about Blacks from this book and it should not be banned from the classroom. This is only one of many themes and expressions that Mark Twain is describing in his work. Another central theme is how the depiction of race relations and slavery is used as insight into the nature of blacks and whites as people in general.
Overall, the most important thing to understand is that Mark Twain is illustrating his valuable ideas subtly and not pushing them upon the reader directly.
Primarily, Huck Finn teaches readers two important lessons about the true nature of people. Throughout the book, one of these main lessons is that Blacks can be just as caring as whites. The white characters often view the blacks as property rather than as individuals with feelings and aspirations of their own. Huck comes to realize that Jim is much more than a simple slave when he discusses a painful experience with his daughter. Jim describes how he once called her and she did not respond. He then takes this as a sign of disobedience and beats her for it. Soon realizing that she is indeed deaf,