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…
…dult to serve as his father in order to guide him properly, which is the role Jim fulfills. Jim is one of the few positive influences that acts upon Huck, which makes him one of the most important guiding figures that Twain introduces to the novel. Many of Huck’s decisions and actions are influenced by Jim, and Huck grows to become a better person due to Jim’s impact. Jim’s actions to help Huck are father-like in nature, as he is humble and nurturing, allowing a powerful bond between the two to flourish. Although Huck has always followed his own conscience, Jim’s wisdom and guidance has helped Huck tred on the right path. Often times, one must receive the proper nurturing and guiding to make sensible, moral decisions in the future.
Twain, Mark, and Cynthia Johnson. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009. Print.