Breaking the Chain
In the pre-civil war era of the United States, the act of assisting a fugitive slave was punishable by imprisonment. Though, this does not stop young Huckleberry Finn from aiding slave and fellow companion Jim, to a life of freedom in Mark Twain’s, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Both Huck and Jim are forced to escape the small town of St. Petersburg, Missouri and coincidentally seek refuge on Jackson Island in the Mississippi River. Huck and Jim elect to team up and journey to the free states of the North. Mark Twain uses the evolution of Huckleberry’s attitude of slavery to express his own personal view point towards slavery. As the novel progresses, Huck’s opinion of slavery transforms from viewing slaves as human less property in the beginning, to, though under question, aiding in the escape of a slave in the middle, to viewing slaves as human as the novel ends. This development comes as a result to his personal relationship with Jim.
As the novel begins Huck is just like any other white southerner. He views the black slaves as nothing more than a mindless piece of property. This comes from him being raised in the racist environment of the south. Early in their journey, Huck sees Jim as an unintelligent waste. “I see it warn’t no use wasting words – you can’t learn a nigger to argue. So I quit” (Hawthorne 72). In this scene, Huck is arguing with Jim, but he has given up believing that Jim is too dumb to see the point and it was a waste of his time. Due to Huck’s upbringing in the south, his racist attitude obstructs him from realizing Jim is an intelligent arguer. Having grown up with such belief, Huck thinks that no slave can outwit a white person. Thus, Huck views Jim as much inferior to himself. Huck later describes Jim’s children as, “Children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that had done no harm to me” (Hawthorne 79). This statement from Huck does not just pertain to children, but to all African American...
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