A Journey of Growth
The Old South’s way of life deformed the consciences of the people living there, convincing them of the humanity of slavery. Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of Huck Finn, a young redneck boy, who finds friendship in a runaway slave named Jim, despite his own racist background. Though Huck and Jim bond throughout their journey, Huck struggles to overcome the way he was raised and see Jim as a person capable of feelings and emotions. Throughout his journey down the Mississippi, Huck is faced with challenges where he must decide Jim’s fate, but as his bond with Jim grows stronger, he begins to unlearn the racist views he was taught. He begins to mature and follow his heart when he apologizes to Jim, decides not to turn him in, and when he finally has the epiphany that he would rather rot in Hell than turn in his best friend.
Huck, who grew up playing tricks on others with Tom Sawyer, realizes for the first time that African-American slaves are capable of feeling pain, and he learns that true friends do not try to hurt each other. After being separated from Jim all night in the fog, Huck finally finds him asleep on the raft, and he decides that it would be funny to play a trick on the less intelligent man. After making up a story and trying to convince Jim that the entire night was just a dream, Huck jokingly comes clean and tells Jim the truth, but he does not expect Jim’s serious reaction. Jim stares Huck right in the eye and says, “When I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come en I could a got down on my knees en kiss’ yo’ foot I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinking ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie,” (Twain 95). Jim storms off, leaving Huck to contemplate his decision. For the first time in his life, Huck has it brought to his attention that his actions can cause emotional pain to others, and he sees his first glimpse of how much Jim cares for him....
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