What is a racist book?
Some students may feel that both Twain’s novel and Finn: a novel are racist books. Ask your students what it means for a person to grow into awareness of his or her racism. Ask if they can see this process at work in both novels. The hardest question for many readers of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is how Huck, at the end of the novel, when he should know better, is capable of endangering Jim’s freedom for the sake of a cruel game.

Ask your students what they make of that scene. Is it evidence of Huck’s racism? Of Mark Twain’s? Or is it Twain’s way of describing the difficult, backsliding process of self-awareness? Is Finn: a novel racist in its early depiction of Silvia? What does Chloe think of Silvia by the end of the story? Discuss the author’s role in depicting racism and racists. Are these depictions irresponsible? Or are they necessary?