The Adventures of
What is racism? Is it a belief? Is it an action?
What causes racism? What beliefs do people invoke
to justify racism? In what situations do we see or
How has racism affected you or people you know?
Do you think minorites have a positive or negative
image of whites? Do you think most whites have a
positive or negative view of other races?
What’s the biggest misconception blacks have about
white? Whites about blacks?
The N Word: History
The word nigger is an alteration of the earlier
neger and derives from French negre, from
Spanish and Portugese negro, from Latin niger
First appeared in US as a pejoriative in the
early 19th century
During time of slavery, used before individual’s
first name to distinguish them from a white with
same first name
The N Word
Used rightly or wrongly, ironically or seriously,
for realism or comedy, it is a loaded word
Has gained acceptance in recent years in
youth culture through song lyrics and stand-up
Some claim the word can be defused if
Most still find it offensive and harmful
N word: Discussion
In general, who can or can’t say the word?
When, if ever, can it be said?
How do you feel about the use of the word?
Is the use of the word in the classroom different
from its use outside the classroom?
Does the use of the word in a classic literary
work give it validity outside the classroom. If
What are stereotypes? Why and how are they
formed? Create a working definition.
How were stereotypes used to justify slavery? To
reassure slave owners?
Why might slaves themselves have reinforced
stereotypes? How have slave stereotypes
influenced portrayals of African Americans today?
What are some “masks” that oppressed groups use?
What is the function of such a mask? How can
masks be used as a form of resistance?
Artist as Social Critic
Respond to Sherburn’s quote on pages 146-7.
What is Twain criticizing? How does he
communicate this message? Respond in a body
paragraph (topic sentence, context, concrete
detail, commentary, concluding sentence)
Consider other instances of social commentary
within the novel so far. Choose at least one
example, and be prepared to discuss its
implications in your discussion groups in addition
to your scheduled literature circle meeting. With
remaining time, jot down your initial ideas.