.. e people still succumbed by the harsh peculiar institution.” Frederick Douglass was a nonfictional black who had to escape his master in order to gain freedom, Jim in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was also a black who was mustered into slavery. Huck Finn is a young white boy who does, at first, seem unaffected by the institution of slavery. He lives with a woman named Widow Douglas because his Pap is a drunkard and abusive. Jim is a older black man who is enslaved by a woman called Miss Watson, who happens to be Widow Douglas sister. This is the first relationship of Jim and Huck.
It is not until Pap captures Huck and Huck is forced to escape from him that he meets Jim for real. Huck escapes from his abusive father to Jacksons Island where he finds Miss Watsons runaway slave Jim. At first sight of Jim Huck was glad to see him for he did not want to be lonesome anymore. Then Huck is faced with the first and everlasting dilemma of their friendship. Jim was not a person he was a slave and slaves were property; therefore, he should be returned to his rightful owner, Miss Watson. This is a moral dilemma for Huck throughout the whole novel.
When Huck finally decides he is not going to tell and return Jim it is his first opposition to society, he realizes how he would feel about himself knowing he turned Jim in. Huck has been brought up in a society where blacks are hated and not people; therefore, helping him to runaway is a sinful thing on Huck part. In this episode you feel how Hucks innocence and inner feelings can come above the bad and wrong of the society; thus, leading him to do the correct thing. It would not be morally correct to bring Jim back for he would be enslaved once again and that was an inhumane institution. Hucks other major dilemma is to realize that Jim was human.
This is the underlying factor in this novel. Huck is brought up to believe Jim not human and if he can overcome this idea society has taught him then he would not be brought to his other dilemma, if he should turn Jim in. The whole novel develops the idea and ultimately Huck realizes that Jim is human who cares just as much about his life and family as does any white person. The first correlation between Huck and Jim is that they are both afraid of something that leads them to run away. For Huck this is his father, and for Jim it is slavery. Huck knows that he himself is human because he rarely does anything bad and when he does, like put the rattlesnake at Jims feet, he feels remorse for his actions and he also feels sympathy and hurt.
His sympathetic and hurtful side is shown when Buck dies later in the novel Huck cries because of how good Buck was to him before he died. Huck and Jim are both alike in that they are both superstitious. This is shown even before they run away when Huck goes to Jim in order for Jim to read his future through the hairball. The first real sign of human relationship on the raft trip is when Huck and Jim stay up all night talking, about moral issues in particular. During this time Huck tries to out reason Jim several times.
Then there comes a fight in their friendship. When they are on the raft and they get stuck in fog and Jim falls asleep. When he is awakened Huck pretends they never got separated and that it was a dream on Jims part. When Jim finally realizes it is not a dream but in fact what really happened he gets very mad at Huck and calls him trash leading Huck to apologize. By Huck apologizing for this incident you see that Huck is beginning to look at Jim as a person because he would not apologize to just a piece of property, for property has no feelings and you would need not apologize to something that has no feelings.
Huck also notes that Jim must be human to a level when he talks about his family. While Huck doesnt think it is right Jim wants to free his family because they are someone elses property, he still notices that Jim has a family and wants to be with them. The king and the duke are the people who push Jim to act more human than Huck thinks he is. This is because they push Jim to a point when he really starts to suffer. When Huck sees Jim suffering because of the duke and the king he realizes that Jim really is human.
Jim says Dese is all I kin stan” showing that he cant take the king anymore. He doesnt think the duke is as bad as the king is. And the king and the duke are the two people who bring the raft trip to an end. After they sold Jim Huck thinks it would have been better for him to have returned him to Miss Watson in the beginning where he knew Jim would be treated better than at some other plantations. Huck knows that society would look down upon him for helping Jim to escape and while Huck realizes Jim is a human it does not change his view of blacks in general. When he tells Aunt Sally that nobody is hurt saying. “Nom. Killed a nigger”.
This shows that while Huck has realized that Jim is not property, but human that it does no apply to all blacks, just to Jim. You understand that Huck sees Jim as a person especially since hell “go to hell” before he will betray Jim and turn him in. Huck is very surprised that Tom Sawyer is going to help free Jim, when in reality Tom already knew Jim was freed and was doing this stuff to a freed slave, while Jim gives up his freedom in order to help Tom when he gets shot in the leg. By this time Huck already knows of Jims humanness and that is why he tries to help him out of the Phelps plantation. Huck overcomes societys evilness towards blacks in one situation. Although he lives in a society who hates blacks he doesnt necessarily do the wrong thing because of what society says.
While Jim got his freedom in the end because of Miss Watson freeing him Huck still tried to help him overcome the societys oppression against Jim. In all three of these instances Billy Budd, Frederick Douglass, and Huck Finn all try to overcome oppression of a society. In Budds case it was not a huge force such as slavery was in the south, but he still had to overcome his own local oppression. Budd killed the real evil on his ship allowing for a better lifestyle for the remaining crewmembers. He also brought reality and morality to a higher level for the officers and Captain Vere, which may have changed them forever and this would not happen again. In Douglass life he overcame oppression for himself and by doing that he tried to help all of those who were affected negatively by the institution of slavery.
He ran away; thus, releasing himself from the oppressive nature of the south and after doing so he became an abolitionist trying to help others become like him and be freed. In Huck Finn Huck goes against all of what he knows in society to help Jim runaway. After finally realizing that Jim was human and that he should not give him back Huck does everything in his power to help Jim runaway. Hucks innocence and good heartedness show through even when society would judge him wrong. Huck overcame societys oppression towards blacks for himself because he realized that Jim was a person and not a piece of property. Oppressive societies still remain in todays world although not nearly as prevalent or as torturous as they were in the days of Billy, Frederick, Huck, and Jim.
These characters can motivate one to show that you against a large oppressive society can, alone, make a difference. It may be only a small difference to one or two individuals, but any progress one can make is helpful.