The ending of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn does not work because the events show that Huck and Jim’s journey downstream did not actually result in Jim’s freedom or Huck’s maturity.
Jim embarks on this journey for the sole purpose of being a free man, which according to the ending, is useless. He flees his slaveholder, Miss Watson, knowing that it is his only chance of freedom. According to Jim, he heard her “tell the wider she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans” because even though she technically did not want to do it, “she could git eight hund’d dollars,” which “she couldn’ resis’.”(p 65) Jim and Huck went about their journey fearing the possibility of Jim being caught and taken away as a runaway slave. This made their journey all the more difficult because even the slightest misstep could send Jim back to slavery. Huck went to extremes to protect Jim, especially toward the end of their journey when he pretended that the people on his boat had smallpox to avoid being inspected for runaway slaves, even though Huck even expressed, “I knowed very well I had done wrong.” (p 104) Huck and Jim’s carefulness throughout the novel revolves around Jim’s enslavement. It was certainly not easy, but they went out of their way to ensure Jim’s safety. However, in the ending of the novel, Huck and Jim discover that “Old Miss Watson died… and she set him free in her will.” (p 260). In learning so, Huck and Jim basically learn that going to such great lengths to protect Jim served no purpose because he was already free. The fact that Miss Watson freed Jim comes as a complete surprise, mainly because she is “the Enemy.”(p 293) Huck and Jim’s efforts should have enabled his freedom, but instead their endeavors were nearly useless, and his freedom is credited to the person from whom they were trying to escape. After all, the “freedom which Jim seeks, and which Huck and Jim temporarily enjoy aboard the raft, is accordingly freedom from everything for...
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