Thomas Sawyer Character of the Mark Twain “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”

Imagine banning a book and disregarding its significance based on the softness of present day society. Well, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was banned because throughout the book, derogatory terms were directed at black people. The language used in writing reflects the culture of its time.

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Books should not be banned because offensive language is used, especially if it was the intent of the author. Mark Twain quoted in The Wit and the Wisdom of Mark Twain The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. Language is now a sensitive matter certain people. The banning of books limit us from different perspectives of the past, and the culture of that time.

Indeed, many would agree that there are many uses of racial slurs throughout the book. Additionally, these words are taboo in society today and would be described as discrimination. Studies have been done on discrimination and its effects psychologically. For example, Brown states greater rates of discrimination are associated with lower self-esteem and life satisfaction; a greater likelihood of hopelessness, depression, and depressive symptoms; greater anxiety; and more delinquency and aggression (8). Additionally, everybody reacts differently in response to discrimination. Victims of discrimination may believe that people are targeting or working against them. In some cases, this may be true. As stated by Brown, children who are discriminated by peers, are more likely to exhibit racial mistrust (1). Furthermore, Brown states that children who are discriminated in school, perform worse academically, are prone to dropping out, and motivation plummets (10). To summarize, discrimination tends to have many negative psychological effects on victims. Books should not be project to this same judgment. People have the choice to read the book or not to, the insults are not forced upon the individual. The choice to read this book requires maturity, and should not be enforced in a school curriculum. Although many believe racial slurs should be censored from the public, these books are relics of previous generations and should be used to portray the environment of that era.

The language used in the past reflects the social norms of that time. As stated by Shodhganga, language is social by nature, and develops with society (2). One example is the word YOLO. YOLO is an acronym meaning You Only Live Once. This word was popularized during the twenty-first century by the rapper Drake. This word portrays society’s focus around pop culture during this time. Language should be used as a tool that conveys traditions and values related to a group identity (Sirbu).

Additionally, Sirbu comments as a tool of communication among the members of a society, language is influenced by the very society where it functions . Furthermore, unrestricted words allow the writer to be more descriptive in his/her writing to portray different messages to the audience (Shodhganga 7). Based on these claims, language reflects society and because of the need to be more descriptive, we may further understand the life before us.

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