The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by: Mark Twain

Five Key Questions

1) Why does Jim run away?

Jim runs away after he overhears Miss Watson threatening to sell him to a buyer in New Orleans. He explains the situation to Huck when they first meet on Jackson’s Island in Chapter 8:I noticed dey wuz a nigger trader roun’ de place considable, lately, en I begin to git oneasy. . . . I hear old missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ’uz sich a big stack o’ money. . . . I lit out mighty quick, I tell you.” Although Jim does not give more explicit reasons for his escape, the reader can infer two major motivating factors. First, given Jim’s evident fear, he likely worries that he will suffer under worse conditions if he were forced to move further South, deeper into slave territory. Second, Jim’s emphasis on the exchange of money indicates his resentment at being treated like property.