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Huck And Jim: Breaking Free On The Mississippi

1186 words - 5 pages

Mark Twain's greatly acclaimed novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, invites a reader to climb aboard with Huck and Jim as they travel down the Mississippi River. Although the friendship formed between Huck, a young white teenager, and Jim, a runaway African American slave, is certainly unusual for the Pre-Civil War Era, also important is their use of superstition for interpreting the world and their need for finding freedom and happiness. Having found commonality in their enslavement before their journey, now both Huck and Jim desire freedom from their different oppressions, civilization and slavery, respectively. These combined circumstances drive them to plan their escape from ...view middle of the document...

Jim emphasizes his yearning for freedom countless times throughout the story. In fact, his desire for freedom seems to increases as he and Huck journey further down the Mississippi. “We neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around and says, ‘Dah’s Cairo!’ it went through me like a shot, and I thought if it was Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness.” (p.136). In this scene, Jim’s desire for freedom reveals itself to an extent that his repetitive shouts of “Dah’s Cairo!” make Huck miserable. As Jim’s desire for freedom grows, so does his hatred towards slavery. Jim’s newfound hatred for slavery does not just apply to himself, but also to his family. One can easily see Jim’s love for his family and abhorrence for his family’s slavery. "He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free state he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their masters wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them.” (p.136-7). That Jim would do anything to free his family, and even arrange to steal his family, shows the extent of Jim’s hatred towards slavery. Jim has strong feelings for his beliefs, community and family, but he still desires escape from slavery and a life of freedom more than anything else.
Huck escapes from the society where he is living, feeling that his society has rules contrary to his beliefs. As his journey continues, he is openminded to the customs of his companion. An early point in the story reveals Huck’s superstitions and beliefs that these rituals are necessary to avoid bad luck. "One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar at breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Watson was in ahead of me, and crossed me off. She says, ‘Take your hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are always making!’" (p.23). Huck is distraught when prevented from performing rituals he deems necessary, and he believes the resulting bad luck is unavoidable. Huck’s problem with his confined civilized society is another reason he...

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