Huck’s acceptance of Jim is a total defiance of society.
Ironically, Huck believes he is committing a sin by going against society and protecting Jim. He does not realize that his own instincts are more morally correct than those of society. At the conclusion of chapter 11 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim are forced to leave Jackson’s Island because Huck discovers that people are looking for the runaway slave. Prior to leaving, Huck tells Jim, “They’re after us.Order now
” Clearly, the people are after Jim, but Huck has already identified with Jim and has begun to care for him. This stated empathy shows that the two outcasts will have a successful and rewarding friendship as they drift down the river as the story unfolds. In chapter sixteen, we see, perhaps, the most inhumane action of society. Huck meets some men looking for runaway slaves, and so he fabricates a story about his father on the raft with smallpox. The men fear catching this disease and instead of rescuing him, they give him money and advise him not to let it be known of his father’s sickness when seeking help. These men are not hesitant to hunt slaves, yet they refuse to help a sick man.
This is contrasted to Huck’s guilt felt for protecting Jim when he actually did a morally just action. Huck’s acceptance of his love for Jim is shown in chapter thirty-one. Huck writes a letter to Miss Watson to return Jim, yet he ends up ripping the letter and wishes to free Jim. “‘All right, then, I’ll go to hell’- and he tore it up. ” Here, we see that Huck concludes that he is evil, and that society has been right all along. Huck and Jim become “best friends” in the book, but are shown to separate once Jim is released by Miss Watson, and Huck learns of his father’s death.
The book shows that the two belong together since they have connected with a special bond that only the best of friends share. Huck comes to realize that Jim is a human being and deserves the respect and dignity that every white man is freely given. Even though Tom appeared to bravely help free Jim, we discover that he only altered the escape into an adventure for his own pleasure, and knew all along that Jim was already a free man. Bibliography: