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Jim Intelligence In Huck Finn

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There are certain things that set humans apart from other creatures. Intelligence, emotion, and humanity are concepts that many understand while others struggle to grasp. In a time before the Civil War, African Americans were treated with a lack of humanity and respect. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, exposes the racism towards African Americans in the 19th century by showing the interaction of Jim with white Americans. Jim is a runaway slave owned by a white lady named Miss. Watson; while his partner during his adventures down the Mississippi River, Huck is a young boy raised in a slave-owning culture. Jim will have to struggle with Huck’s moral dilemma of whether or not to view Jim as an equal; Twain continues to set Jim…show more content…
During the 1800s, Jim is a character who would commonly be thought of as dumb, but was actually characterized with higher levels of intelligence than many of the whites, such as the king and dauphin. Huck, who is raised with the notion that blacks aren’t as smart, comments that Jim “had an uncommon level head for a nigger.” (Twain 85) These snarky, racist comments portray how African Americans were negatively viewed in Twain’s time period. When Huck and Jim had the discussion on the Frenchman, Jim’s reasoning shows his wisdom. Because Jim reasons that all cats talk the same and all dogs talk the same and cows and cats don’t talk the same, then “why doan’ he [the Frenchman] talk like a man?” (Twain 89) On the surface, it just seems like Twain is trying to make him seem stupid and stubborn. But, Jim isn’t wrong. This leads to a bigger question of equality. If it’s natural for cats to talk in their own language, then why wouldn’t all men? Why wouldn’t all men be equal? That is the real question being asked here. Jim is seeing how all these men in the world are so separate, yet all the other animals are unified within their species. That parallels with the segregation of the African Americans. Twain is pointing out the obvious fact that African Americans are so disconnected from the rest of the white American world, just as the Frenchman speaks a different language than the other
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