Character Criticism Of Huckleberry Finn

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Without contest, Mark Twain wrote one of the greatest American novels with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The story chronicles the adventures of two characters, Huck and his runaway slave companion Jim. Even though readers praised the book, it has brought forth many criticisms. One critic, Chadwick Hansen, claims that by the end of the novel. Jim becomes a static, unchanging character. He states, “This Jim [in the final chapters] has lost all his dignity and become a subhuman creature who feels no pain and bleeds fresh ink. This Jim is flat, cheap type, and this Jim is a measure of the failure of the ending of Huckleberry Finn.” While he makes a valid criticism, Jim evolves from a naive slave in the beginning to a loving father figure …show more content…
Jim even uses terms of endearment such as ‘honey’ and ‘chile’ when referring to him. After the events with the Shepherdsons and the Grangerfords specifically, he exhibits strong paternal behavior: “‘Good lan’ is that you, honey? Doan’ make no noise.’ It was Jim’s voice––nothing ever sounded so good before. I run along the bank a piece and got aboard [the raft], and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad to see me… ‘Lawsy, I’s might glad to get you back agin, honey,” (Twain 136). At this point in the story we see that not only does Huck undergo great personal growth, but Jim as well. Before the feud between the two families, he successfully hid himself and hung close to Huck. Even in previous chapters, before Huck’s stay with the Grangerfords, Huck cannot fool him into thinking he dreamt their separation: “Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in his head that he couldn’t seem to shake it loose and get the facts back into its place again, right away. But when he did get the thing straightened around, he looked at me steady, without ever smiling,” (Twain, 102). Readers find that Jim is much more capable of seeing through lies and discerning the truth. Certainly Jim has evolved from the character presented in the beginning (McKeon 4). In fact, Jim continues to mature following his adventures with the …show more content…
In the chapters following Huck and Jim’s escape from the Duke and the Dauphin, Tom Sawyer fills the role of comic relief. Consequently, the extent of his time with Huck detracts from the important matters at hand, such as the rescue of Jim from the Phelps. Because of Tom’s presence, Jim became a thought in the background of not only the reader’s mind, but Huck’s as well. At one point the scheme even required Jim’s assistance: “So [Tom] told Jim how we’d have to smuggle in the rope-ladder pie, and other large things, by Nat, the [slave] that fed him… He told him everything. Jim he couldn’t see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was white folks and knowed better than him: so he was satisfied, and said he would do it all just as Tom said,” (Twain 289). The reversion to submission and naivety in these chapters represents the complexity of his persona. This Jim indeed differs from the character readers have come to love and respect; instead of pragmatism readers see Jim succumb to his circumstances. Readers might have expected to see Jim fight for his freedom, but the importance of this situation lies in Jim’s response to his environment. Around Huck, he adopts a confidence and dexterity when faced with a problem. But when left alone and vulnerable, he reverts to his submissive behavior. He cannot be pinned to a single archetype

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