Sunday, January 26, 2014

Perceptual Evolution: "Huck. Finn"

     When I first read Huckleberry Finn in high school I focused all of my attention on the relationship between Huck and Jim. In doing this, I overlooked how both of them correspond and deal with other, more minor, characters. For example, I did not notice how perceptive Huck is to the “Duke” and “Kings” antics. He realizes the very presence of these buffoons can be a threat to the success of his and Jim’s escape plan. Huck humors the “Duke” and “King” in order to appease them and to prevent any trouble. This can be seen in the conversation between Huck and Jim in the following passage:
“’It's the way I feel, too, Jim. But we've got them on our hands, and we got to remember what they are, and make allowances. Sometimes I wish we could hear of a country that's out of kings" (Twain 206).
  What I might have previously understood as a normal correspondence between Huck and Jim, I now am aware of how careful, intentional, and layered Huck’s statement is. When he tells Jim, “we got to remember what they are,” Jim’s understanding of “what”, is that they are royalty. However, Huck realizes that “what” these two men really are: dangerous. They are petty criminals who have no morals. Huck realizes that these men would be ready and willing to throw Huck and Jim under the bus in order to advance themselves in a heartbeat. Huck questions to himself, “‘what was the use to tell Jim these warn't real kings and dukes? It wouldn't a done no good; and, besides, it was just as I said: you couldn't tell them from the real kind’”(Twain 206). I now realize that Huck most likely made this decision in order to protect Jim and himself. If Huck exposed the truth to Jim, then how Jim reacted and dealt with the information would be out of his hands. Huck instead reserved the information in attempt to avoid alerting the two criminals and putting them at unnecessary risk. Huck rationalizes that there is no reason to tell Jim because there is no realdifference between these petty criminals and kings. His reasoning covers up to the reader, and maybe even to himself, that Huck’s own purpose of omitting this truth is essentially to protect Jim.  

p.s. the page numbers might not match up perfectly because I used an online book. 

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