Search Menu

Contents

Jim

Jim, Huck’s companion as he travels down the river, is a man of remarkable intelligence and compassion. At first glance, Jim seems to be superstitious to the point of idiocy, but a careful reading of the time that Huck and Jim spend on Jackson’s Island reveals that Jim’s superstitions conceal a deep knowledge of the natural world and represent an alternate form of “truth” or intelligence. Moreover, Jim has one of the few healthy, functioning families in the novel. Although he has been separated from his wife and children, he misses them terribly, and it is only the thought of a permanent separation from them that motivates his criminal act of running away from Miss Watson. On the river, Jim becomes a surrogate father, as well as a friend, to Huck, taking care of him without being intrusive or smothering. He cooks for the boy and shelters him from some of the worst horrors that they encounter, including the sight of Pap’s corpse, and, for a time, the news of his father’s passing.

Some readers have criticized Jim as being too passive, but it is important to remember that he remains at the mercy of every other character in this novel, including even the poor, thirteen-year-old Huck, as the letter that Huck nearly sends to Miss Watson demonstrates. Like Huck, Jim is realistic about his situation and must find ways of accomplishing his goals without incurring the wrath of those who could turn him in. In this position, he is seldom able to act boldly or speak his mind. Nonetheless, despite these restrictions and constant fear, Jim consistently acts as a noble human being and a loyal friend. In fact, Jim could be described as the only real adult in the novel, and the only one who provides a positive, respectable example for Huck to follow.

More Help

Previous Next
Discussion question - Please help.

by jessiicerr, December 29, 2012

This book was really confusing, tbh. I have to write an essay about how each character was cruel to each and why? and the moral?

Would mean a lot of someone could help me with a brief synopsis.

Thanks!

10 Comments

44 out of 116 people found this helpful

Climax

by maddysherlock, January 30, 2013

the climax in this story is when Huck rips the letter to Miss Watson up

14 Comments

26 out of 81 people found this helpful

Description of Huckleberry Finn

by cadetrammirez0, February 07, 2013

Where in the novel does it describe Huck and say his age?

11 Comments

64 out of 106 people found this helpful

See all 72 readers' notes   →

Buy on BN.com and save!

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series)

Got it?
Take a quiz on All Major Characters →