Les lettres du voyant

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Arthur Rimbaud

Jim—Jim becomes the brother, father, and mother that Huck never had. He is always sweet to Huck, calling him “Honey” and “Darling,” Jim sacrifices his own self-comfort several times for Huck’s sake. In other words, even though Jim has his own longing for freedom, he is willing to forego his dream if it means that Huck (and even Tom) can live safely. It is Jim’s innate goodness that inspires Huck to decide to “go to hell” to free him.

Jim shows that he has his own failings and regrets as well. He expresses sorrow for his maltreatment of his own deaf and dumb daughter, and he complains of the trials Tom forces him to undergo during his “escape.” Even still, however, Jim displays a great patience and humility—and even stoicism—in the face of adversity. Yet, what truly causes Huck to appreciate Jim is Jim’s sense of dignity. When Huck tries to fool Jim for his own amusement, Jim lets him know exactly how mean it is, and Huck is compelled to see Jim not as a slave but as a human being. Thus, Jim becomes a catalyst for Huck’s exploration of his own sense of right and wrong.

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