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Huck Finn

By rozeyfaizi Feb 07, 2013 989 Words
“A pure natural friendship uncorrupted by social prejudice” In light if this comment discuss the relationship of Huck and Jim. Huckleberry Finn is a novel of the pastoral genre written by Mark Twain in 1885, a time when slavery was rampant. The novel follows the journey of the protagonist, a white boy named Huck Finn who coincidently begins a journey with a run-away slave Jim, filled with trials and tribulations. Although this may be a coincident the pair slowly form a relationship described as a friendship and others even go to the extent of describing it as father-son relationship. One of the many ways in which the friendship can be viewed is the fact that it is a pure and natural friendship as shown by Huck who claims he wouldn’t want to be “nowhere else but here” hence displaying the satisfaction and content he feels with the situation of being friends. However other aspects of the novel allow the reader to describe the friendship as corrupt rather than pure due to the way in which Huck refers to Jim by the use of the term “nigger”, an offensive term used by society to belittle black people. One of the central issues outlined by Twain in the novel is “Racism”. White people believed that they were superior and combined with superstition believed that black people were evil as a result black people were given very little rights. Huck holds these similar values which are presented when he refers to Jim as a “nigger” numerous times. In addition, the way in which Huck’s attitude and behaviour presented, consist of various elements of prejudice in which Huck feels he is far more intelligent and superior than Jim. Huck says “you can’t learn a nigger to argue.” The use of irony allows the reader to understand the view that white people held and how foolish the view was because in reality the argument presented by Jim in the first place is indeed stronger however due to society’s corrupt views Huck is influenced therefore he is unable to recognise the fact that Jim has a strong argument. However, it has to be considered that Huck is still a young boy who has been brought up by the society which holds the view that white people a superior consequently, Huck has been socialised to act the way he is and referring to Jim as a “nigger” may just be the norm and not at all used in a criticising manner. Although Huck takes time to accept Jim, Twain constantly shows how Jim encourages the friendship and praises Huck by referring to him as a “de ole true Huck; the only white gentlemen.” Although Huck is a boy Jim refers to him as a gentleman, a description which increases Huck’s confidence and displays a relationship developing between the two. The fact that Jim is encouraging the friendship shows how he is emerging from society’s conventions as the norm would be to indeed act like a slave and not even considering pursuing any other sort of relationship apart from the known slave-master relationship. Huck’s attitude towards Jim is very similar to Pap’s. At the beginning of the novel Pap says “why looky here there’s a free nigger from Ohio- a mulatter, must as white as a white man” Pap refers to Jim as though he is an object of very low status or a meaningless object rather than actual human being. He considers himself to be of a very high status despite his drunkard and abusive nature. The way in which Twain represents Hucks tone of voice and attitude displays how he holds a similar ideology of the fact that white people are superior. He says “it was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go humble myself to a nigger” his tone of voice signifies his disappointment and half-heartedness in accepting the fact that he was wrong. He refers to Jim as “a nigger” which in itself shows how he feels regarding Jim. He refers to Jim as though he is an inanimate object who has no feelings and to be “humble” towards a nigger was a disgrace hence displaying the social prejudice that existed between the pair. However, due to the bildungsroman form of the novel, Huck undergoes a not just a physical journey but also a psychological journey in which he learns the true importance of friendship. Throughout the novel Huck is constantly facing an internal struggle another important focus of the novel. He is struggling to make a decision regarding Jim. Should he hand Jim over or go against societies conventions and protect and help his new friend. In the climax of the novel Huck is finally forced to make a choice and has to “decide, forever” and in the end decides to go against societies views of social prejudice and the extent of the decision he made is presented through his inner thoughts and ironically he feels that he will be shunned by his community accepts the fact that he’ll “go to hell” just for protecting Jim and accepting Jim as his friend. The catalyst for Huck’s decision was the sale of Jim back into slavery and as a result Hucks internal struggle finally meets an end and his search for his conscience ends therefore allowing the reader to understand that although their relationship may not have started out as a pure natural friendship, through the various adventures they faced finally come to an end. His decision to recognise Jim’s humanity is not shared by the rest of society. In conclusion, the relationship of Huck and Jim can be described as not an entirely pure natural friendship uncorrupted by society prejudices as Huck takes a physical and psychological journey consisting of many events all adding up to one big adventure that allows him to gain insight on the true meaning of friendship and loyalty.

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