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Jims Compassion in Huck Finn

Oct 08, 1999 992 Words
Throughout all of his adventures Jim shows compassion as his most prominent trait. He makes the reader aware of his many superstitions and Jim exhibits gullibility in the sense that he Jim always assumes the other characters in the book will not take advantage of him. One incident proving that Jim acts naive occurs halfway through the novel, when the Duke first comes into the scene “By right I am a duke! Jim’s eyes bugged out when he heard that...” In the novel, Huck Finn, one can legitimately prove that compassion, superstitious and gullibility illustrate Jim’s character perfectly.

To begin with, among the many characteristics of Jim, his compassionate nature shows throughout the book. When Huck and Jim come across the floating boathouse, Jim finds a dead man inside. He advises Huck not to look as he says, “It’s a dead man... dead two er three days... come in Huck, but doan’ look at his face.” At the end of the book the reader finds out that the dead man turns out as Huck’s father. Further on down the river, Huck and Jim engage in a deep conversation. Jim speaks of the family he feels he has left behind. Jim tries hard to save up all his money in hopes of buying back his wife and children when he becomes a free man. He expresses that he feels terrible for leaving behind his family and misses them very much. As a result, Huck feels responsible and guilty for ruining Jim’s freedom. Huck decides that he wants to reveal the truth, that Jim really isn’t a free man. His conscience tells him not to and instead he finds himself helping Jim rather than giving him up. Jim feels so thankful to Huck when he says ". . .it’s all on account of Huck, I’s a free man, ... you’s the best friend Jim’s ever had...” Even further along, Huck becomes separated from Jim and living at the Grangerford’s. Huck doesn’t know if he’ll ever see Jim again. He also doesn’t realize Jim has found a hiding spot not very far away. He asks one of the Grangferford’s slaves about Huck’s condition and how well the lifestyle of the Grangerfords suites him. A slave reunites Jim and Huck and Huck proceeds to ask, “Why didn’t you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?” Jim replies, “Well, ‘twarn’t no use to ‘sturb you, Huck...” He would rather let Huck have his fun while he can. Throughout the book Jim acts as the most caring character, especially towards Huck. Luckily, the two men, devote everything they can to surviving this adventure and it shows that they care for one-another very much.

Not only does the novel show Jim as compassionate but, it also portrays him as superstitious. For instance, he believes the reasoning behind the bad luck relates to Huck touching a snakeskin. “You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a snakeskin with my hands.” Equally important Jim believes hairy arms and chests leads to wealth. “Ef you’s got hairy arms en a hairy breas’, it’s a sign dat you’s a gwyne to be rich.” Furthermore, the sight of birds flying overhead produces rain. “Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two at a time and lightning. Jim said it was a sign it was going to rain.” Another situation where Jim shows superstition includes, “And Jim said you musn’t count the things you have for dinner because that would bring you bad luck. The same if you shook the tablecloth after sundown.” These superstitions prove just how crazy Jim acts.

In addition to Jim’s superstitious nature, throughout the novel he also demonstrates gullibility. A good example of this naivete begins when Huck appears to Jim in a supernatural form. “Doan’ hurt me-don’t I hain’t ever done no harm to a ghos’.” Late one night the fog separates Huck and Jim on the river causing him great confusion. “Well, den, I reck’n I did dream it, Huck; but dogs my cats ef it ain’t de powerfulest dream I ever see.” Another event showing his gullibility takes place when the King and Duke enter into the story line, leading Jim on about their identifies. “All through dinner Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, ‘Will yo’ Grace have some o’ dis or some o’ dat?” In the last example of the book, Jim follows Huck and Tom’s elaborate and convincing escape plan despite his uncertainty. “Blest if I kin see de pint. But I’ll do it ef I got to.” Because of Jim’s ingenuousness nature Huck, King and the Duke sometimes take advantage of him.

While it may be true that Jim displays more characteristics than the ones listed, I believe these certainly standout in your mind after reading the novel. No matter how Huck treats Jim, he remains willing to support Huck through anything. Even in the beginning of the novel when Tom tries to persuade Huck to pick on Jim, ... “Tom whispered to me and wanted to tie Jim to the tree for fun...” but fortunately, Huck uses his best judgement because he knows that he must not play a trick on Jim. While Jim goes a tad overboard with his wild superstitions he nevertheless creates humorous scenarios showing himself innocently picked on for his gullibility.

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