Nov. 27, 2012
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain, Jim is one of the main characters in the novel and a very important figure throughout the story. In fact, the entire novel revolves around Huck and Jim’s adventure as Jim tries to find freedom from slavery in the South. There are many different views that the reader may take on Jim and his role in the novel, but one role that many claim evident is that Jim serves as a Christ figure in the novel. Earlier this year we learned from Thomas C. Foster what exactly a “Christ Figure” is in a piece of literature. When we see a character that possesses similar qualities or aspects as that of Jesus Christ from the Bible, we can make an assumption that they are Christ figures in the novel. Now Jim is a very caring and sincere character, but we need more evidence than that to prove that he is a Christ figure.
In the beginning of the novel, shortly after Huck goes missing, Jim too runs away because he overheard Miss Watson speaking of how she is going to sell him. Later on, Huck finds out, but does not tell Jim, that the town accuses Jim of Huck’s murder due to the suspicion of him running away shortly after the disappearance. So the town puts a reward on Jim if anyone is to find him. Throughout the novel, we see that Jim is the most harmless character in the entire story and would never “kill a body” in a million years. Just as Jesus was betrayed by his own people, the Jews, so was Jim by his own town.
One of the main reasons Twain had in writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was to use literary realism to give an accurate depiction of the treatment of African Americans during that time period in the south. Jim, being and African American slave in the south does not have any freedom or rights. African Americans were considered the lowest of the low and were thought to be unimportant or insignificant compared to the white people. As were the Jews, during the ages of the ruling Roman Empire. So Jim, like Jesus, is seen as a powerful and intelligent being, yet is from the people who were considered “lowly” during that time in history.
The most convincing scene we see in the novel that would prove Jim to be Christ-like happens at the very end after Tom, Huck, and Jim make their amazing escape. When they get to the raft, they realize that Tom has been shot in the leg and needs help. Huck runs to and gets a doctor while Jim hides. While the doctor is trying to help Tom he finds that he is short a hand and needs help from someone to save Tom. When Jim hears this, he comes out of hiding to help the doctor save Tom and his bleeding wound. This is the biggest step made by Jim in the entire novel. Jim puts his freedom and even his life on the line to save Tom, who had not been a faithful friend to Jim. In fact Tom used him to create his own little fantasy as he planned Jim’s escape, all while knowing that Jim was already a freed man. In the Bible, Jesus gave his life in order to save the ones he loved, even though they had betrayed him. Jim shows forgiveness and compassion, just as Jesus did, and puts others before himself and saves Tom’s life in the end.
Betrayed by their own kind, the most significant out of the “insignificant”, and willing to give their lives for those who were unkind to them. All these things were done by Jim throughout the story as well as Jesus in the Bible. Jim shows many good qualities throughout the novel that resemble Jesus Christ in many aspects. There are many other evidences that could lead us to believe that Jim is Christ-like, but I have picked out the three that I thought to be most significant. Therefore, I believe it is safe to say that Jim very well can be classified as a “Christ Figure” in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.