Developing Integrity On The River Journey

977 words - 4 pages

As the standard of society at the time of the setting, slaves are seen as unequal and simple during the pre-Civil War era. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, Huck Finn faces the struggle between discovering and following personal morals or following the standards society has taught him in the matter of helping Jim. Huck discovers during the journey down the river that Jim is not as society sees blacks at the time. Jim turns out to be a respectable human being in Huck’s eyes by the end of their adventure.
In the beginning of the novel, Huck is a child distinguished by his naive ideas about moral agency. Huck does see Jim as his friend, as children do not consciously separate friend from acquaintance, and is happy to see him when Huck has run away and is lonely on Jackson’s Island, “Well, I warn't long making him understand I warn't dead. I was ever so glad to see Jim. I warn't lonesome now.” (31). While Huck does see Jim as a friend, he doesn’t see him as an equal. Huckleberry sees Jim as inferior with the evidence that he finds it hard to apologize to Jim when Huck fooled him into thinking that there was no fog the night before when they had been separated, "It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go and humble myself to a nigger." (65). Huck also sees Jim as incompetent considering he gave up trying to tell Jim that French people speak French and not English and thought to himself that it wasn’t any use to try to make him understand, considering he was black and unable to grasp that concept, "It warn't no use wasting words--you can't learn a nigger to argue. So I quit." (60).
As the pair of them travel down the river, Huck’s morals are taking a different shape as he spends more time with Jim. He begins to respect Jim as a father figure, showing the possibility of a harmonious relationship, “I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it was my turn. He often done that” (117). Huck is also loyal to Jim, seeing as he protects Jim from being caught while helping Jim run away, "Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n' for joy, en I'll say, it's all on accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I couldn't ever ben free ef it hadn' ben for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won't ever forgit you, Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de ONLY fren' ole Jim's got now," (67). At one point, Huck feels guilty for helping a slave run from his master and tries to dehumanize Jim to be with one with society’s...

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