So, when Huck picks up Jim, a recently escaped slave, and heads up the Mississippi River, he gets nervous when Jim begins to talk about how he will soon be free and plans to buy, or even steal, his wife and children. This was during a time where Huck would be committing a crime by helping a slave escape. He has a difficult time deciding to be loyal to his friend and let Jim continue up the rest of the way up north so that he can be freed, or to turn Jim in as an escaped slave. Huck fears getting in trouble, but he also is very torn because of the relationship that he now has with Jim. Huck’s askew sense of sympathy and morality are conflicting each other.
Naturally, as his bond with Jim cultivates, Huck unknowingly treats him as a human. Through Huck’s sensibility, he states, “It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all … I hadn’t no objections, ‘long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn’t no use to tell Jim, so I didn’t tell him” (Twain 125). Correspondingly, Huck gains a consideration for Jim and his personal feelings, which he expresses nonchalantly through motley aspects of their journey.
Huck’s feelings toward Jim changes from thinking he is just a slave, to a friend, and eventually more like a father-figure. There is more to this novel than just two boys floating along the Mississippi River. It addresses the seriousness of racism and abuse and talks about the importance of friends and family. Even though Huck and Jim come from different races, the time they have spent together really helps to surpass the discrimination happening and become not just friends,
This is the climax of the novel, in which many of the underlying themes are made clear. Huck’s morals overcome his fear for punishment, and he is determined to help Jim even if he has to go to hell for it. Furthermore, Jim is a runaway slave, and in the context of the story, helping a runaway slave, albeit one that was sold and has a new owner, would be almost traitorous to Huck’s community. Another revelation is that Huck has transcended the racial constructs of the time, recognizing Jim’s humanity and considering him someone worth rescuing at great personal risk. In this scene, Huck finally breaks the restraints of society, and indeed, his environment, by ignoring all societal and theological constructs and instead choosing what is right by his conscience.
Jim tells Huck he hit her for not listening to get to work, but he then finds out she has been recently made dea when she did not react to the door slamming shut from the wind. He realizes he hit her when she never even heard Jim to begin with. Jim was so distraught begging for forgiveness from the Lord and his daughter, because he would never forgive himself for his mistake. This shows Jim’s deep rooted connection with love of others and his humanity. Not only that, but Huck realizes he cares deeply for his family and is capable of emotions that otherwise racist ideologies have told him are not possible.
The dramatic situations Huck and Jim share create trust, which strengthens their relationship despite society's view on black people. The juxtaposition of society and Hucks morals are put to test during the scene when Jim and Huck get separated due to fog. Huck believes it is a good idea to lie to Jim and tell him that's it was all a dream. Jim becomes angry at Huck, not for lying, but for not understanding the consequences of his actions. Huck was truly remorseful, and against society, he was willing to apologize to Jim, even though he was a black man.
Throughout their journey, Huck is aware that Jim has escaped but does not know whether or not to turn him into the authorities. Huck’s mentality about society matures and he realizes his need to protect Jim from dangers. As the novel progresses, Huck begins to realize the flaws in society. Huck ultimately chooses to follow his own
Although there are numerous instances where Huck’s moral growth can be seen, the individuals around such as Jim, will influence his moral growth greatly. Jim, a runaway slave, is the most influential individual when it comes to Huck’s moral development. During the beginning of the novel, Huck’s morals are primarily based on what he has learned from Miss Watson. Huck begins to become wary of such ideals that Miss Watson has imposed on him, and decided all he wanted “…was a change” (Twain 10).
This leads into the main internal conflict that Huck must face. He must chose whether to break federal law by running away with Jim, a slave, or to do what society believes what is right and return him back to his owner. In the end, Huck chooses to not turn Jim in and go on a journey with him, defying the laws of the country. Johnson says that this recommends disobedience and defiance on the part of young people, however it does the opposite. This shows that Huck’s moral values are more in tune with making the right choice than society’s.
Being raised in a time of prejudice and hate affected Huck and his mindset towards Jim. Although Huck was better than most people during his time, he still had lapses of judgement. While they were floating down the Mississippi River, Huck was debating whether or not he should return Jim to his owner. Although he ultimately decided against doing so, the fact that he even thought about it shows that he knows that Jim is someone else’s property. Huck also refers to him as “n-”, which proves his lack of respect for Jim.
He saw his as property and nothing else. Slowly as the book went on he started to get along with Jim. When he met him on Jackson’s island they had to work together to find food for themselves. Huck’s relationship with Jim slowly progressed when Huck promised not to snitch on him. In the story it said, “Well, I did.
In Chapter 16, when Huck sees Jim’s reaction to being near freedom, Huck describes his feeling as, “miserable”, “abusing”, “scorched”, and “die”. Although Jim is happy to face his future, Huck becomes burdened by societal beliefs and more importantly, his own moral values. For Huck, bestowing freedom to a slave is shameful and unethical; no different from one’s “property”. This also implies that Huck values the societies view more than his relationship with Jim. Later on, Huck’s view of the past changes as he separates his own conscience from the societal values.
To begin, Huck’s struggles within the deformed conscience of an entire society leads to his maturation. Throughout the book, Huck struggles within himself whether or not to follow his heart or to follow society’s deformed views. In one situation, Huck begins to feel guilty about helping a runaway slave, Jim, to freedom. Huck narrates, “My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, until at last I says to it, ‘let up on me- it ain’t too late yet-
He does not think it is right to help take away slaves from people that he doesn't even know. To turn Jim in for these reasons would be the influence of society on Huck. Huck's decision on this marks another major step in Huck's moral maturation, because he decides not to turn in Jim on his own and adds another moral that he made and no one told him. This is the first time he makes a decision all on his own. Both this incident and the Wilkes Scheme represent Huck's ultimate realization and rejection of society.