Upcoming NewSouth 'Huck Finn' Eliminates the 'N' Word
By Marc Schultz
"This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind," said Gribben, speaking from his office at Auburn University at Montgomery, where he's spent most of the past 20 years heading the English department. "Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century."
An American Indian perspective on changing "Injun" to "Indian" in TOM SAWYER
Deb's comments: Tom's image reflects America's love/hate attitude towards American Indians. On one hand, we're admired and on the other, we're feared. Or--I should say--IMAGES of us are admired and feared. Tom wants to join Indians who (he imagines) are living the good life out west, hunting buffaloes. He is drawn to the warlike image, too, as he images going on the warpath with the Indians of his imagination. Tom dwells more on the aggressive warlike image of Indians in feathers and paint who utter sounds that terrorize courageous Christians and settlers.
And, he's a half-breed whose Indian blood/identity is the reason he's a vengeful, lying murderer.
Comment: Reese goes through the whole book analyzing it in the same vein. She concludes that changing "Injun" to "Indian" and "half-breed" to "half-blood" won't make much difference. Injun Joe is still a one-dimensional savage killer regardless of the words used. The book doesn't belong in any curriculum except to study racism in literature.
For more on the subject, see New Huck Finn Eliminates "Injun" and Is Huck Finn Racist?