Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reflections of Friendship (Annotation G1-12/Goddard)

The relationship between Huck and Jim through the end of chapter 15 is established as camaraderie of two runaways. Both are running from the establishment, Jim from slavery and Huck from his Pap and the ol’ widow. The sum of their situation and friendship is the one event in chapter 16.
“It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing that I was doing. I tried to make out to myself that I warn’t to blame, because I didn’t run Jim off from his rightful owner… But you knowed he was running for his freedom, and you could have paddled ashore and told somebody” (Twain 97) Huck’s inner dialogue is echoed by Jim who spoke of nothing but his freedom, and the shinny hope of his freedom once they reached Cairo. “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” (Twain 97). The beginnings of Huck’s change occur here as he realizes Jim is a runaway slave, and the conflict as Jim becomes a friend. The idea of Cairo is freedom for Jim and in this freedom; it could mean the end of the adventure as well as the end of friendship to Huck.
They are forging ahead on the river, which is dangerous enough, and they both stand punishment or reward if caught. Huck knows letting Jim go would be wrong, and becomes determined to turn him in. Only moments later when Huck is separated from Jim and alone in the canoe and confronted two men in a skiff with guns he cannot bring himself to do it. Not answering promptly the men finally drag it out Huck that there is another man on the raft behind them. Black or White? Again, he is unable to answer promptly. Finally, after a challenge from the men with guns Huck returns the challenge to them to go see “pap.” Huck’s passiveness lures men into thinking something completely different about the man on the raft. They lose their venom for runaway slave hunting when they think Huck’s Pap is carrying small pox. Once they leave, Huck has successful saved Jim, and his conscious. After all, he hasn’t told them the truth or a lie about the color of Jim’s skin. Despite Huck managing to save Jim, it isn’t love. Fighting with the concept of right and wrong Huck simply buys time.
The true friendship Huck has for Jim begins once the men in the skiff leave him and he heads back to Jim on the raft. Despite the obvious age difference between Jim and Huck, Jim being old enough to be a father to Huck the two have an equal friendship. This relationship is comfortable to Huck, Jim treating him in a tender sort of way calling him ‘honey’ that he does throughout the book. The protection and company of a good friend is something that Huck lacks in all other adults in his life: Pap, the widow and Judge Thatcher.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York. Penguin Books, 1986

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