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Huck Finn Essay, Research Paper

Boris Stein11-06-00Huck Finn Mark Twain, the author of Huck Finn, wrote a spectacular story that captured thelife of the American southern society of the nineteenth century. He expressed manydifficult issues throughout his writing, among them was racism. Twain develops a youngcharacter in Finn, who doesn t necessarily follow all of the views of society. Finn meetsJim, a colored slave, near the beginning of the book, and the two develop a friendship. Asthe story progresses, so does their relationship. As Jim and Huck spend more timetogether, they have conversations with each another. Their conversations display society sbeliefs on life. Jim and Huck s interactions epitomize the southern society s views ofracism. Jim and Huck’s relationship is one of the most important parts of the book. It isalso a rather unique relationship; Jim seems to act both as protective father figure andsympathetic companion to Huck. In Chapter Nine, Jim thoughtfully prevents Huck fromlooking at the body in the houseboat, since it is too “ghastly” for the boy to see. But Jimalso acts as Huck’s comrade, sharing Huck’s food with him and confiding in Huck hisrunaway status, conspiring with him to sneak information from the other side of the river,and otherwise treating Huck as a peer. The two characters share a few important traits in common. One of the most

obvious similarities is their shared confidence in superstition, though superstition was alsoa part of the society in which they lived, where people thought cannon balls and loaves ofbread with mercury could find drowned corpses. Both characters are alienated from”civilization” and more generally the white upper class world. Of course, Jim’s alienation ismuch deeper than Huck’s. As an African American, in a real sense he simply is less a partof it. Further, Jim’s freedom is endangered by that world; he must hide himself during theday so that he is not taken back to it. Also, both characters have their own humanity;Jim’s, as discussed above, and Huckleberry’s as demonstrated by his willingness to sharewith Jim what he took from Pap, and his comfort with African Americans, contrastingwith his Pap’s bigotry. Yet there are important ways in which the two characters differ. While Jim always seemscompletely considerate of Huck and his feelings, Huck can behave rather badly towardJim. One of the most obvious examples of this is the incident in which Huck, as a joke,places a rattlesnake skin in Jim’s sleeping area, leading to an awful snake bite. Jim is simplymore considerate and more mature than his young friend. Jim’s maturity and considerate,caring nature, contrast with Huck’s tendencies toward thoughtlessness and childishness


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