Pap vs. Jim in Huckleberry Finn Essay

608 Words 3 Pages
A father is usually the person who an adolescent boy learns from and looks up to. Huckleberry Finn is a boy who, from the very start, lacks an appropriate father figure. There are two older males in the novel that are closely related to Huck: Pap, his biological father, who is an incurable drunk, and Jim, who is a black slave belonging to the widow and her sister, with whom Huck lived. These males attempt to lead Huck down two very different paths, in the end, Jim acts as a foil to Pap and proves to be a better father figure.
There are more contrasts than comparisons between Pap and Jim. Neither is very well educated or respected due to their position in the town, one being the village drunkard and the other being a mere Negro. They
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Other than that, there is not much resemblance between the two in situation or attitude.
The first contrast between Jim and Pap is the initial reaction Huck has when encountering them. When Huck is on Jackson’s Island, presumably alone, but then comes across a smoldering fire, he is at first frightened, but once he sees that the other refugee is Jim, he pops right out of the bushes and greets him. He is glad for his company. However, when signs of Pap being around are apparent, Huck is seen to panic, and rushes off to rid himself of his fortune. He knows that Pap is greedy enough to steal from anyone, even his own son. When they come face to face, it becomes clear that Huck is afraid of his father, who used to beat him while in a drunken state. During this confrontation, it becomes clear that Pap resents that Huck is being educated, and feels threatened by it. On the contrary, Jim teaches Huck what he knows, and is proud of him for thinking up schemes, such as faking his death to escape his father’s grasp. As Jim and Huck travel together, Jim shows more consideration and a protective nature for Huck, and he tries to act, as much as he can, as a shield between Huck and the corrupt world, which is something Huck’s father never did. On the contrary, Pap exposed Huck to more corruption than most others his age, such as Tom Sawyer, were expected to have been exposed to.
Both Jim and Pap are marginalized by society, but for different
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