Huck Finn Raft Analysis

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In the beginning of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck is kidnapped by his alcoholic, abusive father and is forced to live with him an isolated wood cabin. Soon enough, Huck runs away, and in the beginning of his journey to freedom, he encounters the familiar face of Jim, a slave who has run away from his owner, one of Huck’s hometown neighbors. Ostensibly, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is about two people undertaking a shared journey towards freedom. Later in the book, however, we discover that freedom was theirs all along: Jim’s owner and Huck’s father had both died shortly after Huck and Jim left, leaving Jim his freedom and Huck with a generous inheritance, which makes their journey seem pretty anticlimactic. What …show more content…
One of the most important purposes of the raft is that it provides an environment in which Huck and Jim can be vulnerable with one another. Days into the journey, once Jim and Huck have become reacquainted, the pair sits on the raft one quiet evening, and Huck notes, “Not a sound anywheres--perfectly still--just like the whole world was asleep...we lit the pipes, dangled our legs in the water, and talked about all kinds of things--we was always naked, day and night” (Twain, 120-121). In each other’s company, it is as if the whole rest of the world disappears, freeing them to be completely vulnerable and open with another, “discussing all kinds of things”. This kind of intimacy starkly contrasts to the often ridiculous rules of society ashore, which set strict standards for how men and boys ought to behave, and strict social divides between people of different races. In a sense, their perpetual nakedness is a physical manifestation of stripping away the normal rules of …show more content…
Specifically, this growth in Huck and Jim’s relationship--the birth of a real camaraderie--allows them to feel like they can rely on one another in difficult situations. For example, when the two reunite after losing each other in the fog, Huck tries to convince Jim that the two had never actually been separated, and that Jim dreamed the entire thing. But when Huck finally comes clean about his lie, Jim declares, “ ‘My heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’...En wen I wake up en fine you...all safe en soun’, de tears come en I could...kiss’ yo’ foot I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin ‘bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim’ ”(Twain 178). Jim is upset not so much because Huck lied, but because Huck failed to imagine the consequences of his lies for Jim, emotionally, as he attempts to navigate unusual experiences in this new, quasi-free adventure with Huck. Thus, Jim expresses that his “heart wuz mos’ broke” because he thought he lost Huck, and was worried for him, seemingly in the same way that one family member would worry about another. Furthermore, Jim knows that Huck ultimately plays an instrumental role in Jim’s escape into the free states: being accompanied by a young, white, male definitely helps Jim’s chances. However, Jim’s melodramatic expressions towards Huck clearly indicate that Jim does not simply view Huck (ironic as this may sound) as a utility,

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