Development of Jim in Huckleberry Finn

Category: Huckleberry Finn
Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 131

This article demonstrates the different phases of Jim’s development to show how Twain used him as a tool to condemn mistreatment of black people.

The author begins with the analysis of Jim as a simple gag routine which was a common role of African Americans during this time period. However, Twain slowly makes the audience realize that the Jim is a real person, beginning with a profound statement of self-awareness and destiny

“Jim's reflection that ‘I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I `wouldn' want no mo'’ moves outside the world of low comedy, and Jim becomes something more than the ordinary stage Negro.”

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By this point in the book, the reader begins to realize, along with an unwilling Huck, that Jim is an intelligent and respectable man, equal with any white of the South.

Jim’s continuing demonstration of intellectuality and compassion lead the reader to believe that he is the only true “adult” or “human” person in the novel while acting as a foil to the emotionally young and adamant Huck.

Eventually, the reader is lead to sympathize and relate to Jim while he takes on the traditional role of a “white man” and Huck that of a “black man”, evidence of Twain’s slow transformation of Jim from the typical comic relief to the unusual source of reason and humanity.


Hansen, Chadwick. "The Character of Jim and the Ending of `Huckleberry Finn'." DISCovering Authors. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Discover Collection. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

This article talks about how Jim starts off as a stereotypical negro. Jim starts off very superstitious. Jim also believes that his hairball can tell the fortunes.

In the beginning, Jim uses Tom’s trickery to his advantage. Instead of saying that somehow his hat ended up in a tree when he woke up, he told everyone that he was possessed by the devil and that witches had ridden him all over the south.

Later in the story Jim does not act so foolishly. Jim develops into a sort of role model near the end of the story. Jim actually takes responsibility and cares for both Huck and Tom and protect them from harm.

Jim could have easily have left both Tom and Huck and escaped to freedom near the end of the story yet he protected both of them and actually cared for them. Jim went to being naïve to becoming a responsible role model for Huck and Tom.


James, Pearl. "Overview of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Discover Collection. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.

The article talks about how Jim is second only to Huck in this novel. However, when we meet Jim at the beginning of the book, Jim is portrayed as a dumb negro.

When Jim is introduced in chapter 2, it is thought that Jim is just the widow’s slave and really has no more importance than that rather than the fact that Tom enjoys to mess with him.

In the beginning of the book, Jim is a superstitious fool who believes that he has a hairball that can tell the future. However, Jim’s character develops greatly throughout the book and Jim becomes a major character in the story.

The events in the story most likely would have never been able to take place if it hadn’t been for Jim. In the end, he came a long way from being the foolish negro working for the widow.

Cite this Page

Development of Jim in Huckleberry Finn. (2017, Aug 06). Retrieved from

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