Nelson Mandela once said: ‘To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.’ Throughout the story The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the author characterizes the friendship between Jim, a black slave, and Huck, a white boy, in a way that challenges their societal stereotypes through their relationships. Mark Twain shows us that despite the Post-Civil War era when there was a robust white reaction against blacks’, race does not define one’s humanity. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn develops this theme through Jim and Huck’s character development. The story shows us how an impossible and complicated relationship between two characters begins to form during the post-civil War. Jim, a runaway slave and Huck, a misled young boy, find their way to each other countless times through the book. The friendship between the two is complicated because Huck has been taught by society and his father that black people are not equal and do not deserve to be free like white people.
On the other hand, Jim and his family living apart. Jim’s family lives on a farm close to Miss Watson’s farm, making it hard for Jim to spend time with his family whenever he wants. On their journey to freedom, the two become each other’s family.
Twain wrote a novel that unites liberty and attempts to find freedom. He composed this novel when it was the Post-Civil War era; when there was a robust white reaction against blacks. Through Hugh and Jim’s relationship or friendship; He aimed straight against racial opinions already existing in his society, opinions enlarging lynching, segregation, and the belief that slaves or blacks are inferior to whites, and they are not bright. People in the Southern community during that era of slavery thought that black people were below them. According to Southern Society, blacks will never be as intelligent as their white superiors. Whites supremacy is observable during Huck and Jim’s journey. According to his society, Huck did the unthinkable to start a friendship with a black man; worst of all, a runaway slave.
As Huck and Jim grow closer, Huck can realize just how smart Jim is: ‘he was almost always right; he had an uncommon level head, for a N…….’ (86). Huck then realized he has been told lies from society about how black people are dumb, do not have rights, do not deserve to vote, and are inferiors to white people. Huck attempts to teach Jim why French men do not speak English, but Jim was not adhering to the concept in the way Huck wanted him to. Huck thought to himself, ‘I see it warn’t no use wasting words …… you can’t learn a n…… to argue. So, I quit’ (page 90). Huck always puts confidence in his own beliefs. He believes that anybody’s ideas except his own do not influence him, but that is not true, according to the novel. The racist society Huck had grown up in had changed his ideas about right and wrong. Mark Twain gives a realistic portrait of a typical life of white people and black people through Huck and Jim Friendship. Although Huck and Jim teamed for a significant amount of time together, Huck is still heavily influenced by the racist society that brought him up. The social norms are constants challenges to their friendship that Huck and Jim have to challenge along their journey. Their friendship in this era is the prove of humanity in man.
In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Jim have been in contact for a while because Huck stays with Miss Watson, and Jim is one of her slaves, but the development of their friendship occurs just after Huck has left his father and Jim has run away. Like many friendships, theirs evolved and changed over time due to their shared experiences. Huck and Jim were both running away from society for one reason or another. Huck was running to escape the restraints of society and conformity, while Jim was running to avoid slavery to another owner. At the time of their escape it was easy and convenient for the two of them to be together. ‘The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed……’ This quote explains what the two did to get away from society. Both decided the best way was to run away from it all. Jim trusts Huck enough to tell him that he has just run away from Miss Watson. The friendship between Huck and Jim was not yet established, but Huck promises not to tell anyone that Jim is a runaway slave. He is not scared that ‘people would call him a low-down Abolitionist and despise him for keeping mum but that don’t make no difference. He ain’t going to tell’ (55). Jim’s secret is significant, and if he tells the wrong person that he is a runaway slave, he could have quickly been returned to his master back to Miss Watson. The very moment Huck tells Jim that he would not tell anyone about Jim’s secret is when their friendship begins. A bond of trust began between the two that would challenge throughout the story.
Huck likes to be alone in the woods and enjoy the silence of nature but does not like the feeling of loneliness. Huck does not like living with Miss Watson, and he definitely does not like living with his father, but with Jim, he ‘wouldn’t want to be nowhere else’ (60). Huck is lonely when in the company of his father because the two do not bond the way a father and son should. There is an emptiness in Huck’s heart that needs to be, and the care does not supply it Miss Watson has for him and not by the abandonment he feels from his parents. For Huck, Jim is the only person to fill that emptiness. Huck has now found a friend in Jim, someone that he can feel happy and free around. Huck and Jim only have one another when they are out on the raft. They watch out for each other. Huck makes sure that Jim is appropriately covered when others can identify him as a black person, and Jim makes sure Huck is comfortable and does not see certain things that he is not qualified to handle. On the raft, Huck and Jim live in their own little, sheltered society. They bond and form a relationship that Huck has not yet experienced. Huck believes that ‘there warn’t no home like a raft, after all’ (134). The raft symbolizes a withdrawal from the outside world. It gives both Jim and Huck freedom and comfort to be their whole selves. It is a place where Huck does not need to lie to feel like he belongs because he already does. The raft is the perfect separation from society. Huck has never had a real home, but the float is something that he can call home. Huck and Jim’s getting together that started at the beginning would develop into a friendship, and subsequently into a family. Huck and Jim’s friendship began as a beneficial partnership, but they became friends due to their circumstances. Twain shows how, through patience and time spent together, two people from the same society, two different races, and two different status discovered themselves and braved all social barriers.
The choice to do what we feel is right and what society teaches us to do is not always an easy one to make. Even for just a coming of age novel, the powerful message of unconditional love and following instinct proves to have better endings than doing as society demands. How exactly did a white boy and a slave start to connect in that era? The journey on the raft, island, and river were all examples of pure freedom from all aspects. Like the perception ‘nigger,’ Twain ‘s portrayal of blacks, Jim in particular, shows the tendency of the white culture to treat blacks with qualities that negate their humanity and refer to them as inferior. The friendship between a black and white man in the early 19th century is looked at poorly by Southern society, and centuries later, Southern culture still believes that there are imperfections in a relationship between a black and a white person. Southern society’s view of black people has evolved, but white people in the South believe that they are higher in command than a black person. Black people are known as criminals, drug dealers, and thieves. The friendship between blacks and whites is complicated because of what they have been taught, they are better than blacks but at the same time taught to fear them. Huck is not afraid of Jim, but he knows that in society, he holds a higher place than Jim ever will. A friendship shared between black people and white people will always be complicated until Southern culture stops thinking for people, and people can learn and think on their own.