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Huckleberry Finn Analysis

Essay by   •  April 14, 2012  •  Case Study  •  516 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,652 Views

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Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn is a thirteen year old, uncivilized, uneducated, free spirited boy who runs away in search of freedom but stumbles upon a life changing, socially unacceptable friendship. Huckleberry helps a runaway slave, Jim, escape to freedom, which prior to the Civil War, this was illegal and most certainly frowned upon. Huckleberry faces constant battles within himself throughout the story; whether to turn Jim in to slave hunters or continue to assist Jim. He continued to help Jim because Huckleberry comes to realize that Jim is not what society makes him out to be.

Huckleberry and Jim meet on Jackson's Island under the same circumstances: hiding and looking for freedom. Right off the bat, Jim trusts Huck to keep the fact that he is a runaway slave in secrecy. Huckleberry keeps the secret even though "people [will] call him a low-down abolitionist for keeping the mum [...]." (53-54) That promise will haunt him for the remainder of the story.

Jim and Huckleberry begin their quest for freedom by starting down the Mississippi River looking for the entrance to the Missouri River. They never find that entrance, but they do find their companionship growing closer and closer. Jim even claims that Huck is his best friend. Huckleberry does not realize how much he cares for Jim until he hurts him. Huckleberry lies to him and Jim expresses his distraught that Huckleberry caused him. Jim describes Huckleberry as "trash" (96) and then walks off. It took Huckleberry "fifteen minutes before [he] could humble himself to a nigger, but [he did] it and [wasn't] ever sorry for it." (97)

Although Huckleberry does not want to hurt Jim, he still has second guesses on turning him in or not. He rethinks his promise on many occasions when he is granted the opportunity to end Jim's quest for freedom. He felt like "[... he] got to do it-[he] can't get out of it [...]" (100) however, Huckleberry remains true to his word, despite on what society expect him to do. Huckleberry is so convinced he is doing the wrong thing, that he even things he is just going to "go to hell" (225) for not taking action.

Huckleberry starts to realize that just because Jim is colored, does not mean he is a different being than Huckleberry. After spending time with Jim and listening to his dreams and stories, Huckleberry even makes the statement that "[he does] believe that [Jim cares] for his people as much as white people [cares] for their'n." Huck even vowed he wouldn't do "[...] no more mean tricks, and [he] wouldn't of done that one if [he'd] known that it would make [Jim] feel that way." (97) Huckleberry did not realize that his trick could hurt Jim because he does not understand that Jim could be so upset. After reaching this understanding, it changed the way Huck felt towards Jim.

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