In Jim’s Journey Homeward, Book 1: Escape with Huck Finn, author Mark Time anticipates your analysis but gives Jim even more of the ruthlessness needed to control his own destiny: I was thinking to myself, hard now, when I heard Huck yell out and ask what was taking me so long. It would be getting light out any moment now, and then Huck would be able to see Pap’s body from the canoe. I knowed that if I killed Pap, I weren’t going to get Huck involved in it even if he wanted Pap dead. I also knowed that I didn’t want Huck to find out that I had killed Pap no matter how good my reasons for doing it was. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t even want Huck to know that this man was Pap, for if Huck knowed that Pap was dead, he wouldn’t have no more reason to escape with me. He could just go back to town and claim his money, and not have to worry about no one trying to ever take it away from him again. I wanted to tell Huck the house weren’t safe, but I knowed he’d know I was lying, so I shouted back to him that I be right over to tie up the canoe. My voice must’ve woke Pap back up, for he stirred just then and looked at me, and slurred out his words:
“I must be in hell because you’re as black as the devil . . . “ Everything happened so fast. I boiled over with rage, and this time there weren’t nobody there to hold me back. I sat down hard on Pap’s chest and wrapped my fingers around his throat. I couldn’t go back now even if I wanted to, so one of us was going to die. Pap’s breath exploded out of his mouth and nose, covering my coat sleeves with his snot, but I reckoned it’d wash off. I squeezed down on him so he couldn’t breathe, but Pap hadn’t lasted fifty year or more as a river rat without knowing how to fight. He kneed upward, hard, hitting right between my legs, and driving the breath out of my lungs.
From: Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Scott Holmes
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2023 1:37 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
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/