TWAIN-L Archives

Mark Twain Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Larry Howe <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 23 Mar 2023 22:34:34 +0000
text/plain (76 lines)
I respectfully disagree with your claim that those of us who think that Jim withholds the fact of Papís out of self-interest are diminishing Jimís intelligence.  Jim has a clear plan: drift South to Cairo, then take a canoe up the Ohio River where he can more reliably enter free soil. There heíll work to save money to buy the freedom of his family.  However, this plan is not without significant risk. Jim knows that slave catchers are lurking on the Illinois bank of the Mississippi; hence the journey to Cairo rather than to, say, Alton.  Having Huck as cover during the journey to Cairo is an advantage.  After they miss Cairo in the fog, Jim has an even greater need to keep Huck on his side.

Rather than discounting Jimís intelligence, this reading gives him credit for knowing the peril he faces.  Moreover, it also adds nuance to the moments when Jim plays on Huckís sympathy. Rather than the minstrel figure of a loyal servant, Jimís subtle control of Huck exhibits a necessary craftiness for his survival. I agree that Jim has integrity, but he's also wise to the danger he faces.


Get Outlook for iOS<>
From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Wolfgang Hochbruck <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 4:47:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Why Jim didn't tell Huck about Pap

[CAUTION: This email originated from outside Roosevelt University. Only click links or open attachments if you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.]

...from a pragmatic p.o.v., Jim should have killed Huck on Jackson
Island - considering that he was 'dead' already - availed himself of
Huck's gun & provisions, and made off. He didn't. I am fully with Kevin
on this one.


On Thu, 23 Mar 2023 19:25:34 +0000
 <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Heretical Fictions is an excellent book, but I think anyone trying to
>make the case that Jim was motivated by self-interest not to tell Huck
>about his father's death, must also make the case that Jim didn't
>think he was smart enough to escape slavery without a white child's
>help. I think that questioning Jim's motives is an insult to Jim's
>character; he has more integrity than most of the white characters in
>the story. Would Jim--the paternal figure who delivers that eloquent
>sermonette on friendship--treat the now wholly orphaned Huck that way?
>I would suggest that anyone who has read Huck Finn or Life on the
>Mississippi also read Thomas Buchanan's Black Life on the Mississippi
>(2004) for some surprising insights (and even as a counterpoint) into,
>well, black life on the Mississippi.
>Mac Donnell Rare Books
>9307 Glenlake Drive
>Austin TX 78730
>You can browse our books at:
>------ Original Message ------
>From: "Scott Holmes" <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: 3/23/2023 12:37:07 PM
>Subject: Why Jim didn't tell Huck about Pap
>>Still reading notes from "Heretical Fictions", I note the idea that
>Jim did not tell Huck about the dead body being Pap as because Jim did
>not want Huck to abandon him in his quest to escape slavery.  I had
>always had the impression that his motivation was to avoid telling
>Huck the "bad" news.  Thinking about it, now, I suppose I have been a
>bit naive.
>>-- /Unaffiliated Geographer and Twain aficionado/

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hochbruck
Dept. of English /
Centre for Security and Society
Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg
Rempart St. 15
D-79098 Freiburg