Chapter 20

The criticism of Jim as a burgeoning character.

By Grace Hinds, Mia Marion, Sophie Tornay

Jim as a symbol of innocence

Jim was also utilized as a portrayal of innocence throughout the chapter. He rarely rebukes the rules applied by the Duke and the Dauphin. He is even seen helping the Dauphin with French, the language that the Dauphin supposedly forgot from his childhood.

“Jim... does not strike the reader as overtly "rebellious" or dangerous.”

-Pearl James

Criticism of the bias of the time

Within this chapter, even though Huck and Jim are still striving for freedom, they meet the Duke and Dauphin and Huck is forced to lie about Jim’s relationship to him. The Duke and Dauphin immediately assume that Jim is a runaway slave and to protect Jim, Huck says that Jim is his slave.
Although Huck said this with good intentions, it was still derogatory and ultimately showed a step back in Jim’s respective freedom. This particularly criticized the part of society who assumed that African Americans were either slaves or run away slaves and reduced Jim’s freedom.
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As Fredrick Douglas stated in heated upset...

“My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future.”

The bias highlighted within societal interactions

This degradation of freed African-Americans or soon-to-be free slaves was a country-wide effort. “The nation, as well as Tom Sawyer, was deferring Jim’s freedom in agonizing play. The cyclical attempts to remove the novel from the classrooms extend Jim’s captivity on into each generation of readers.”

-Tony Morris

Averse to change, the nation fails to accommodate the idea of African-Americans as their equals. The problem of racism extends into today’s current events, as those who ban the book appear to be criticizing Jim’s achieved freedom.
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