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A Fatherly Figure for Huck Finn

By ellyturtle21 Dec 03, 2013 1045 Words
In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck’s abusive and greedy father is replaced by Huck’s friend and companion, Jim. Through their many adventures together, Jim teaches Huck the value of friendship, the true meaning of love and sacrifice, and how to be a moral person. He becomes more of a father to Huck than Huck has ever known possible. Huck’s own father has never loved Huck, but uses him to get money; whereas Jim cherishes him and worries about his safety like a father should. Huck’s father is hardly ever around, and Huck does not even like it when he is around. “Pap he hadn’t been seen for more than a year, and that was comfortable for me; I didn’t want to see him anymore. He used to always whale me when he was sober and could get his hands on me; though I used to take to the woods most of the time when he was around” (13). When Huck hears that Pap is back in town, he immediately runs to tell Judge Thatcher that he does not want his money anymore, knowing that is what Pap is after (17). Next thing he knows, Huck is kidnapped by his father, and brought to live in a cabin in the woods. At first he thinks it will be good to finally be away from the widow and with no rules, but that does not last for long. “But by-and-by pap got too handy with his hick’ry, and I couldn’t stand it. I was all over welts. He got to going away so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was gone three days” (24). Pap is always more concerned with getting money to get drunk with than worrying about his son and the man he will soon become. Jim, on the other hand, looks out for Huck’s safety and well-being while they are traveling along the river. When they get separated in the storm, Jim is more worried about if Huck is safe than about himself. “Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain’ dead – you ain’ drownded – you’s back agin? It’s too good for true, honey, it’s too good for true. Lemme look at you, chile, lemme feel o’ you. No, you ain’ dead! You’s back agin, ‘live en soun’, jis de same ole Huck – de same ole Huck, thanks to goodness!” (77). Jim always puts Huck’s needs above his own in a kind and generous way. “I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it for me; he was always might good, that way, Jim was” (118). Being around the gentle and caring Jim is a big change for Huck, but he starts to look up to him as the first real role model he has ever had besides his drunk and abusive Pap. Jim feels inferior to Huck as a black man, since that is the way society teaches them to be. Huck makes the decisions and Jim goes along with them. However, as they get to know each other more through their long talks, and Huck begins to respect Jim as a person, they begin to see each other more as equals. On page 170, Huck even refers to Jim as a person, which he would not have done before their adventure together. Huck begins to listen to Jim like a son would listen to a father. On page 79, Jim scolds Huck for playing a mean prank on him. He tells him to not treat people like that, and Huck feels horrible. “It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger – but I done it, and I warn’t ever sorry for it afterwards, neither. I didn’t do him more mean tricks, and I wouldn’t done that one if I’d a knowed it would make him feel that way” (80). The way Huck takes this criticism to heart and sucks up to Jim to get his respect back shows that Jim means a lot to Huck, and he cares what Jim thinks of him, even if he is a black man. Huck has grown up in a racist society that has taught him that black people have no feelings and mean nothing. He has begun to question this during his time with Jim, and it has been a real struggle for him. During one of their long talks, Jim tells Huck about his children and how much he loves and misses them. Huck is taken aback that a father can love his children so much when all Huck has ever known from his father is lashings. “He was thinking about his wife and his children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick; because he hadn’t ever been away from home before in his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n” (141). Huck begins to wonder about what is moral, and if what he has been taught all his life is actually wrong. After giving it a lot of thought, Huck decides that even if society is against it and he might go to hell for it, he will stand by his friend, Jim, because that is exactly what Jim would have done for him. “All right, then, I’ll go to hell” (193). By making this self-sacrifice for Jim, Huck is showing how much he has changed since the beginning of the book. He has grown up and become a moral person, brave enough to stand up against society for the sake of his friend. Jim has influenced Huck, and taught him right from wrong in a way that Pap would not, and the widow could not. In his own way, Jim becomes the perfect father figure for Huck, and the first adult that Huck is willing to listen to. During Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn goes from a misguided and confused boy to a moral and brave young man through the fatherly guidance and friendship of his fellow adventurer, Jim.

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