In “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” written by Mark Twain, the author composes a commentary on the misguided ideas held by Southerners in the pre-Civil War era towards African Americans, who they saw as barbaric individuals void of intellect and morals. Mark Twain shows this through his portrayal of the relationship between Jim, the “escaped slave,” and Huckleberry Finn, the runaway child.
Much like his Southern brethren, Huck was reared with an embedded discrimination toward the African American people, seeing them as nothing more than a primitive and selfish species. Huck later finds this idea to be mistaken, “I do believe [Jim] cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n” (158). This realization does not happen immediately. It takes most of the novel for Huck’s eyes to be opened, but when he comes to this realization, he sees the injustice in slavery. It is because of Jim that Huck learns this moral lesson. Throughout the novel, Jim, the escaped African American slave, is portrayed as a father figure to Huck, protecting him both psychologically and physically, as well as nurturing and disciplining Huck.
As they begin their journey, Jim discovers Huck’s father, Pap Finn’s corpse lying prone on the floor; he prevents Huck from discovering who it is by covering it, “I didn 't look at all. Jim throwed some old rags over him…” (53). The reason for this is that Jim understands how detrimental it would be to Huck’s youthful innocence to see his father’s dead body lying forgotten in a wandering boathouse. He wants Huck to be cheerful and not remorseful over his father’s death. In addition to protecting Huck emotionally, Jim also works to look after his physical health, oftent...
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...he African American slaves, leading Huck to his final realization.
By the end of the novel Huck has an epiphany and realizes how he was deceived by the society around him who instilled their prejudices onto him since birth. What he had perceived as a great sin, because of his upbringing, was not a sin. It was Jim’s chance for freedom, “I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him,… I’d see him standing my watch… call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think for me… All right, then, I’ll go to hell” (216-217). It is after this realization that Huck discovers what Mark Twain was hoping the rest of the Southern people would recognize: that their ideas about the African American people were misguided. They were not savages. They were not animals. They were not tools. They were people. People who deserved as much freedom as any other person.
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