Huck Finn

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Jim is pining for his
family, and Huck seems
surprised, which
indicates he still
doesn’t think of Jim as
quite human, even if he
is friends with Jim.
 Jim’s account of his
actions toward his deaf
daughter shows us how
human Jim really is.




“…I do believe [Jim] cared
as much for his people as
white folks does for their’n.
It don’t seem natural, but I
reckon it’s so.”
In the slave-holding society
of Huck’s time, African
Americans are regarded as
cattle, incapable of
experiencing any of the
deeper of finer human
feelings.
Therefore, their Godordained role is that of
insensible beasts of
burden.


Huck does not
consciously question the
values of his society.
Thus, he initially has
difficulty accepting Jim’s
humanity: The concept
that a black man has the
same capacity to love his
family as white people
runs contrary to
everything Huck has
been taught.

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It is Huck’s loving heart
that allows him to rise
above the conditioning of
his society and recognize
Jim as a fellow human
being with a soul.
Although Huck never
questions the rightness
of slavery, his acceptance
of Jim’s humanity
unconsciously denies
any moral justification for
slavery.


The plan to have Jim get
in costume on the raft is a
plot device that allows
Huck and the con men to
stay in town for several
days.
The town’s reaction to the
con men’s story about
being the deceased
man’s relatives made
Huck say to himself, “It
was enough to make a
body ashamed of the
human race.”

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Why does Huck go along
with this shameful
behavior? Jim, whom
Huck knows is in a
dangerous situation with
these ruthless
characters.
Twain expresses disgust
with more than the con
men – he also is
disgusted with the
narrow vision of the
townspeople. It all adds
up to an indictment of
humanity.
Imposter: one who
practices deceit or
fraud by pretending to
be someone he is not.
 The King is a double
impostor: He is not
really a king and is now
assuming the false
identity of Parson
Harvey Wilks so that he
can steal from the
deceased Peter Wilks’s
estate.

The novel is filled with
impostors, thus
pointing up the
hypocrisy of the
society.
 Even Huck becomes an
impostor on several
occasions, although,
when he assumes a
false identity, it is to
either protect Jim or
himself rather than
commit fraud.

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Huck is startled and
puzzled by the discovery
that in a tight spot it
might actually be better
and safer to tell the truth
than lie.
He compares himself to
Judas, however – in
keeping with his low selfimage.
Mary Jane’s willingness
to pray for Huck may
lead him to fall in love for
the first and only time in
his life.

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