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Huckleberry Finn Analysis: Is Jim a Stereotype?

An in depth analysis of the construction of the character 'Jim' in Mark Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn.
by

Evan Luis Vitureira

on 17 January 2012

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Transcript of Huckleberry Finn Analysis: Is Jim a Stereotype?

Is Jim A Stereotype? Stereo - type Stereo-

from the greek, stereos,
meaning firm or solid
-type

from the greek, typos,
meaning impression or
a concise representation
of a larger group Solid Impression What are the stereotypes? Gullible
Superstitious
Illiterate
Uneducated Does he fit them? What is Prejudice? opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge, unreasonable hostile attitudes regarding a group of people. Jim is convinced of farcical happenings in many parts of the novel. After being separated by white waters and a fog, Huck manages to find Jim in the cover of night. Upon Jim’s awakening, Huck convinces Jim that they were never separated and that Jim must’ve concocted it. Fitting the stereotype Gullible Superstitious
Illiterate Uneducated Prejudice = Stereotypes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? While stereotypes are
commonly associated with
prejudice, it is a common
misconception that the presence
of stereotypical characteristics
in a piece of literature or its
characters renders the piece
wholly prejudiced. (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr If while walking along a street you
identified, because of certain objects
in front of it resembling gas pumps, a gas
station, you were using the stereotypical
traits of a gas station to identify it. Of
course, gas stations cannot be prejudiced
against but they do have stereotypical
traits. Having stereotypical traits thusly
does not establish a prejudice. Prejudice
is established outside of the stereotypical
traits, but may use them as reasoning. Gullible - adj -
- Easily persuaded to believe
something; credulous Illiterate - adj / noun -
- Unable to read or write
Jim was never exposed to formal education.
This is apparent in his speaking demeanor.
Twain wrote the lines of Jim with a distinct
dialect, an example of which is as follows: “I
didn’ know dey was so many un um. I hain’t
hearn ‘bout non un um, skasely, but ole King
Solermun.” This excerpt illustrates Jim’s
uneducated speech skills and distinct dialect.
Jim’s unschooled manner is further developed
when Tom and Huck try to help Jim escape
from captivity in the Phelps’ shed. Tom
emphasized the necessity of Jim keeping a
journal to his escape plot. Huck rejects this
idea because Jim is illiterate, making it
impossible for him to keep a journal. to Speak, to Write, to Read... Jim, listening to a hairball that he claims to predict the future SUPERSTITION a : a belief or practice resulting
from ignorance, fear of the
unknown, trust in magic or
chance, or a false conception
of causation
b : an irrational abject attitude
of mind toward the supernatural,
nature, or God resulting from
superstition He sure does! Does Jim Fit? x
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