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The True Father Of Huck Finn

1621 words - 6 pages

One critic has said that Jim is Huck’s “true father.” Discuss what this means. Include what Jim taught Huck.
A “true father” can be described as one who displays paternal qualities, substituting an individual’s real, less nurturing father. This figure can be anyone that spends a lot of time with a younger individual, becoming a role model for him or her. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain presents many leading figures that impact Huck’s life, including Pap, the Duke, the Dauphin, and Jim. Most of them serve as negative influences on Huck, taking advantage of him for their own selfish purposes. However, some of these figures teach Huck principles and morals to live by, and impart important values needed to make proper decisions. Jim, an African American slave, is one of Huck’s role models, allowing the reader can easily identify Jim as a father figure. He provides like a real father for Huck, caring for him, as well as listening to his ideas and teaching him, proving that Jim is Huck’s “true father.”
Jim serves as a paternal figure for Huck, contrasting with the actions of Pap, as he cares for Huck’s safety and wellbeing. The reader learns that Jim can properly fit the role of a “true father” for Huck because Jim has a family. Twain reveals that his “wife and his children” are away from him, causing him much sadness (Twain 225). Thus, he attempts to fill the gap by acting as a father towards Huck. Jim shows great love and care while constantly protecting Huck, even though Huck seems to be uncaring. He does not wish to see Huck in any pain or danger, and therefore keeps the truth away from Huck. When the pair finds the floating house with supplies, they also see a dead body. The reader notices that Jim is taken aback, and tells Huck to stay away as the body is too “gashly” (Twain 69). In an attempt to protect Huck, Jim manages to conceal the corpse from the eyes of Huck. It is later revealed that the dead body is Pap. Jim clearly demonstrates concern for Huck, as he does not want Huck traumatized by the gruesome sight of his dead father. This asserts the point that the critic is correct, for without Jim’s care and protection, Huck will be lost without a true father who can guide him. Moreover, Jim worries about Huck, even when the two are not together. When Huck stays with the Grangerfords, Jim still concerns over Huck’s wellbeing, even though Huck has forgotten about him. Even though Jim is not related to Huck, he acts like a father, caring for him and making sure he is doing well. While the two are separated during the foggy night on the Mississippi, the emotional attatchment between Jim and Huck persists. Throughout the night, Jim is sincerely worried about Huck, whereas Huck, after expressing a glimpse of worry, loses interest and goes to sleep. After reuniting with one another, Jim presents himself emotionally towards Huck in a similar fashion to a father figure. He states it is “‘too good for true” and expresses...

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