A Catamount Lectures at BFA


Alek Wolfe, Writer

Elizabeth Fenton (Liz) recently spoke to Mrs. Larissa Hebert’s English classes on as to whether or not the “n” word should be allowed in the American classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Fenton, a literature professor at UVM, has been delivering an annual speech for Hebert’s classes, for now, after meeting Hebert when in college at the University of Vermont (UVM).

Fenton is now an English professor at her alma mater where one of her mottos is “Reading literature is a really good way to understand all kinds of different things and a good way to get to know yourself better.”

On top of her career at UVM, Fenton is a published writer. Having written a book based on information found about Catholicism in the 19th century, Fenton is currently working on another novel in regards to the representation of Native American and Jewish people in the 18th and 19th centuries.

“It has been a truly fulfilling experience,” Fenton said.

The majority of Fenton’s writing endeavors have been for academic purposes.

University of Vermont English Professor Liz Fenton takes a photo in front of a mountain.

“For me writing is a way for me to organize my thoughts, it more like through the process of writing I figure out what I’m thinking,” Fenton said.

Fenton also brought up how books can help people compare today to the past of Huck Finn and The Scarlet Letter.

Ultimately, Fenton said that she believed that the “n” word cannot be removed from Huck Finn without completely altering the overall message of the classic tale.

“One really useful thing about literature in the past is you can get a sense of how people’s attitudes about things have changed over time. The novel of Huck Finn teaches us a lot about the history of race in the United states, the aftermaths of slavery are still real in our society we think about race relations, we can’t think about it unless we accept the history, there can be huge differences,” Fenton said