The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Socratic Seminar

After reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and an article about the use of the novel, class members engage in a Socratic seminar focused on whether or not Twain's book should be banned.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • To establish a framework for the reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ask individuals to compose a list all the negative stereotypes associated with a group to which they identify. Then ask them to imagine the class is assigned and begins reading a book that opens with a character that embodies all these negative stereotypes. Finally, ask class members to journal about how they would feel in this situation
Classroom Considerations

  • Carefully consider the composition of your class and of your community before selecting Twain's novel for inclusion in your course
  • The activity assumes that a classroom environment has been established that permits a safe and respectful discussion of controversial issues
Pros

  • The questions attached to Claudia Durst Johnson's "Unfit for Children: Censorship and Race" introduce some of the major issues that surround the use of the novel in the classroom
Cons

  • No instruction is included on how to create a classroom environment safe for the discussion of controversial issues
Common Core