The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain is a very controversial novel. Over the years there have been many articles and television specials that have challenged the book. One particular article, A Muddied Mississippi Misadventure, by Pat Conroy, says, Nigger Jim is the greatest Black man to ever walk the pages of an American novel (line 27). Conroy s statement is true. Throughout this book Jim exhibits the true humanity of a black man and demonstrates the influence that one can have on a young white boy, like Huck. Jim s influence on Huck is basically in to ways.
With his innate morality and his unselfish compassion for others, he helps Huck obtain these qualities through his influence. Because of their friendship, Huck learns to love and respect this ex-slave. The most solid evidence of this is during Huck decision on whether or not to turn in Jim. Instead of doing what was socially right he decides to do what he believes is morally right even if it means going to hell (p. 214). Unintentionally Jim teaches Huck that blacks have feelings and emotions.
This is done when Huck plays a joke on Jim. Huck tried to convince Jim that the experience they had being separated in the fog was a dream. Being separated scared Jim and made him think that Huck was dead. When Huck told Jim it was all a dream it disturbed and confused him.
Huck played along with his story and later confessed that it was joke. Jim felt like Huck was playing him for a fool and Huck realized what he did was wrong. Because of Jim, it was the first time Huck had realized that blacks had feelings too. Throughout this book Jim expresses feelings and shows the true humanity of a black man. Time and time again Jim does things out of the kindness of his heart to help Huck. For example, the time when the four of them (Huck, Jim, the King and the Duke) were on the river and Huck and Jim wer supposed to trade watch.
Instead of waking Huck for his shift he covers both shifts out of kindness. During this time in American history blacks were thought of as inhumane animal property with no feelings what so ever. In this book there are many times Jim proves that assumption wrong. For example, Jim feels great remorse and sadness for punishing his daughter for not doing what she is told. He later discovers that his daughter is deaf. His selflessness, remorse for not understanding his daughter s deafness, compassion and love for her all are good examples of his humanity.
These are just a few of many ways Jim exemplifies that he is the greatest black man to ever walk the pages of an American novel. In conclusion, the statement that nigger Jim is the greatest black man to ever walk the pages of an American novel proves to be very true. This was the first novel in American history to pay homage and glorify the spirit of the African-American.