Should we “Send Huck Finn to College”?

What is the most appropriate place for Mark Twain's “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” be read/taught?

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I grew up not only reading edited “classics” such as the Great American Novel, i.e., The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Tom Sawyer’s Comrade (1885), and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), but also watching TV/Movie versions of these books.  But what do they teach?  How are they received across our wider society?  What do followers of Christ bring which is unique to this conversation?

Note: Before making any comments, please read Send Huck Finn to College (Lorrie Moore. NY Times Op-Ed. 1/15/2011).

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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One Comment

    Katelin commented on January 20, 2011 Reply

    hmmm…an interesting solution to teach it in college. The lessons that my high school teacher tried to convey with Huck Finn could easily have been derived from another book. I know I was not mature enough then to delve into the sort of concepts the book is uniquely suited to teach. Dr. Beverly Tatum shows that for most white folks, real racial awareness doesn’t happen until at least college–definitely true in my case. Indeed, in that setting both students and professors might be more prepared to have enriching discussions. Then again, if solid conversations about race happened earlier this timeline may evolve as well.

    One problem with the college venue is that students choose all their classes and often a course is filled with a self-selecting grout in which the professor is preaching to the choir.

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