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Sample research paper

by: Alexandra Notetaker

Sample research paper Eng 102

Alexandra Notetaker
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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How to write a research paper
Writing and Research about culture
Professor Patrick Holian
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandra Notetaker on Friday September 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Eng 102 at University of Louisiana at Lafayette taught by Professor Patrick Holian in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Writing and Research about culture in English at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Date Created: 09/30/16
Dillon-Bourque 1 Alexandra Dillon-Bourque English 102 Professor Holian 22 September 2016 The Language of Mark Twain In Mark Twain’s classic novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a southern town based on racism and separatism paints the picture intended for reader’s to an grasp understanding of the time’s culture. Controversy has erupted in today’s society on whether or not schools should be allowed to teach from the book whilst it contains derogatory slurs and references about "inferior" races. Because of the frequent uses of “nigger” and other particular degrading references, many people feel as though these books should not be exposed or taught in children in public schools. Around the nation, squabble generates as soon as parents learn of their children being taught and encouraged to read these particular novels. Twain’s novels offer illuminating, and satirical content meant to inform readers about the horrors of slavery, whilst entertaining with comical relief. These books should never be changed or taken out of schools, in my opinion. The question of censorship has been around since the invention of the printing press and has remained a very debatable one ever since. Many topics such as derogatory slurs and references to modern day ones of sex and drugs stir up conflict among parents who feel it is their right as a parent Dillon-Bourque 2 to dictate what their children should and should not be exposed to. Censorship made its first appearance when Pope Paul IV brought about a list of “unacceptable” books for Catholics to read. Because of the Church’s great influence at the time, many people really were subjected to following these guidelines or else be punished. Since then, much has changed regarding censorship through the years. In the United States, the First Amendment states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” That being said, under the Constitution, all citizens have the right to express their thoughts through any means they see fit. This concept leads into the fact that all citizens also exercise the right to read or take in said works and learn or benefit from them. The issue of censorship in schools is a major one because of the fact that it can be difficult for educators to inform students about the past without using actual examples from history. In the example of Twain’s novel, many references to “niggers” are made throughout the novel. As many people know, slave trade was enormous in the 1800’s when the novel was written. The novel gives insight on “real world” situations that could have happened in its time period as well as entertaining its readers. Although it may be disturbing to readers, it serves the purpose of reminding everyone of the horrors of the past, and reminds us to never repeat the mistakes of the Dillon-Bourque 3 past. By teaching these novels, students are now exposed to the past in a way that they can relate and with the right teacher to give explanation, students can benefit tremendously from this reading material, designed to inform. While I agree that parents should have a right to control what their children read, as some reading material of today’s times are unsuitable for children, banning literature such as Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will harm students in the long run by taking out the historical aspect and therefore not properly educating today’s youth. Parents must first educate themselves so that they may fully comprehend what it is exactly is being taught to their children before pulling these examples from these novels out of context in order to be more controlling. Twain’s book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has been cherished as a classic for many years.The novel contain”real life” situations that could have occurred during its time period, while remaining an entertainment for people of all ages. In those times, normal boys of Caucasian decent would be brought up in strict families and would attend school and church on Sundays. The tradition of life was seen throughout and no one swayed from tradition.Tom Sawyer represents all young boys because of his mischievous ways. He sought after “having a good time” and had no regard for differences in society. Despite the fact that Huckleberry Finn was considered an outcast because of his father, Tom did not pay any mind to Huck’s upbringing and saw past his kind that most people in those days would refer Dillon-Bourque 4 to as “trash.” Tom’s child like innocence serves to prove that all children are innately good and are not born with prejudices it are taught to hate from their environment. Likewise we can see that in one particular seen Tom is speaking to Jim, a slave, and claims that “They'll all lie. Leastways all but the nigger. I don't know him. But I never see a nigger that wouldn't lie.” Twain here refers back to Tom’s innocence by writing “I don’t know him.” Although Tom is degrading Jim by calling him “nigger” and saying that he’s “never seen a nigger that wouldn’t lie,” he acknowledges that the man is an individual with his own personality. At this stage in his life, Tom is old enough to know the cultures of his society, but still young enough to think of all people as “human.” Another reference is made to race as Twain gives with people of ethnic “minority” different dialects to separate them from the main society. Used in the right sense and context, Twain’s novel offers great teaching material for educators as well as challenging entertainment for readers of all ages. With regards to censorship, I find it would be a terrible idea to eliminate what so many people would agree is a “classic” from being accessible to children in public schools. Just like with all history textbooks, informing our youth about the past is best way to ensure that “history never repeats” itself. Overall, many people can agree that America has more or less merged into one united people, unlike in those times where people of other ethnicities would have been considered inferior. I feel as though with Dillon-Bourque 5 the right examples and teacher we can be sure that students are receiving crucial knowledge to ensure the success of our future. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was reviewed by William Dean Howells in an insightful, and informative article depicting the tale written by Mark Twain. Howells’ review introduces the story by telling of its main character, Tom Sawyer, and giving his perspective on the plot and themes of the book. He brings up the fact that the story is set in a traditional southern town where the families are strict and the schools are puritanical. Growing up along the Mississippi ensured that slaves would be apart of the story, naturally. To set apart the differences between people, Twain allots each race a specific dialect to set them apart, just as it was in that time period. Howells’ begins describing Tom as your average teenage boy. He begins with his mischievous ways as all boys are known for but also mentions his struggles with morality as he goes through life. He addresses the fact that Tom is innately good, as shown through several examples of kindness, but also has frequent bouts of delinquency. As in any society, the cultural rules are set by adults and are expected to be followed; they can sometimes be questioned by youths who are trying to discover themselves in the process. As all children can relate, as we deal with our own insecurities growing up, it can be difficult for some to find their niche in school. Through adults, children learn to take on roles of prejudice in order to conform to their society’s beliefs. As mentioned by Howells, Tom is “ignorant” but not innately bad. Because these children, such as Tom, are being taught the language of Dillon-Bourque 6 their societies, which include many racial slurs, the children grow up believing that this is normal and okay, so to speak. He goes to say that Tom is always looking for his next thrill and entertainment for his life, just as any boy his age would. Even adults can read this excellent novel and reflect back to their own childhoods and enjoy a story containing a vast array of entertainment. Many people who are conflicted about whether or not this book should be allowed into public schools can benefit greatly from Howells’ review by seeing that the character Tom, is set to be just like any boy of that age specifically so that these children can relate to Tom. The advantage to teaching using something the students can relate to increases the likelihood of them getting engaged in the lesson,additionally, the novel was written for entertainment. By combining these two, you get a great source for teaching directly about the history of the culture in the 1800’s, while ensuring that the students are fully absorbed in the material. Around the time the novel was first published, Twain’s stories received criticism from whites and blacks alike. In a journal about Mark Twain, Bernard Bell writes about the discussion surrounding Twain’s novels. Often labeled “trash” by both whites and blacks of the time, two aspects the novel brought about controversy. The people of Caucasian descent were primarily disgusted by the character Huck. The African American people of the time were more accepting towards the book since Twain was against slavery, although had reservations because of the way the term “nigger” was used so often. Dillon-Bourque 7 Altogether, the book was widely unaccepted for quite a while. In the midst of Twain’s rejections, the novel also received praise from those with a more educated standpoint. William Howells’ once noted that Twain was a “desouthernized Southerner.” Twain’s viewpoints were very different from the environment he grew up in. Raised in the South, typical men would be slave owners without any qualms. Twain had an exceptionally Eastern view on things, giving him credibility from those of high education. Indirectly, the journal makes references to Huck, saying that Twain’s struggles to stand up for abolition shows in Huck’s character. Although Huck rejects the notions of slavery, he never actually treats Jim as his “equal.” Some say that this represents Twain’s internal struggle of morality. In recent times, the sole argument many parents have with the Twain’s novel is the use of the term, “nigger.” One particular concerned parent, Julius Lester, wrote an article about his feelings concerning the novel. He feels as though it isn’t a necessary component to teaching. He says the book is “immoralistic” and “devalues the world.” Although he isn’t for the banning of the novel, the author is strictly against the teaching of the novel in schools. He doesn't feel like it does much good and therefore should be left out of the curriculum. In order to satisfy the wants of parents, while keeping the novel in schools, many publishing companies, such as NewSouth Publishing Company, have republished the book, with the term “nigger” changed to slave. The argument posed states that by changing the terms in question, Dillon-Bourque 8 does not alter the overall plot of Twains’ novels, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The claim stands that the “racist mentality” is ever present, regardless of the diction used. These allegations completely disregard the fact that Twain perfected the novel as he meant it to be. Notably, NewSouth has pauperized the atmosphere and tone of the story set by Twain. By taking out the words “nigger” the text is losing its austerity and precision. It can all be agreed on that if someone were to say that “Jews were murdered by a sadistic leader” as opposed to “Jews died as a result of bigotry” the latter lacks explicit detail. In the same sense, taking out these specific terms that Twain deliberately used, the text is losing its cultural backbone. Sugar coating the problem will not ensure that the past will be learned from, whereas if students who are taught from the beginning the mistakes of the past, we are ensuring that these mistakes will not repeat from ignorance. Parents who pressured the school systems will thrive off of this victory knowing that they gained the control they were seeking. All In all, Twain produced two exceptionally informative and entertaining novels. I cringe to see novels being changed to suit other people’s wants. This particular change could lead to other novels being changed to eventually banning of books that can lead to the eventual eradication of novels in schools, and before long students will be ignorant to many things. The future leaders of our world will be lacking in a complete, well-rounded education, which has been proven to lead into disaster. We Dillon-Bourque 9 need the to give our youth the best education possible, and that begins with our generation being open-minded in allowing our youth the opportunities to have a proper education.


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