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Harvey Loucks <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 3 Feb 1997 16:36:00 -0400
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I'm sure this has been discussed many times before, but I'm interested in
your reactions.  It is my belief that the long process of freeing Jim in
Huck Finn is a necessary and intentional element of the book. I think Twain
is showing how the Southerners (and most of us even today) are tied to
antiquated tradition in the same way that Tom is tied to all the outrageous
escape methods (as prescribed in all of his adventure books). The poor
whites in the South continued to support slavery despite the fact that it
took away their jobs. Their support of slavery not only hurt the slaves but
also themselves. And of course the most deleterious effect of this is found
in Jim, who could escape at any time. However, he knows that, if he doesn't
play along with Tom, his current predicament will become even worse. When
Twain shows that Tom knew all along that Jim was free, a reader with any
social consciousness at all should hang his head, embarrassed for being a
human being. Agree or disagree??