Essential Passages by Character: Jim
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 2
As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the hill the other side of the house. Tom said he slipped Jim's hat off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim stirred a little, but he didn't wake. Afterwards Jim said the witches bewitched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the state, and then set him under the trees again, and hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And next time Jim told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans; and, after that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers. Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in that country. Strange niggers would stand with their mouths open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire; but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about such things, Jim would happen in and say, “Hm! What you know 'bout witches?” and that nigger was corked up and had to take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it; but he never told what it was he said to it. Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; but they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it. Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by witches.
Huck, bored and lonely at the widow’s home, takes off in the night with Tom Sawyer, looking for some adventures. They come across Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, asleep under a tree. Knowing how superstitious Jim is, Tom decides to play a prank on the slave. He removes his hat and hangs it on a nearby tree. When Jim wakes up and...
(The entire section is 2311 words.)
Essential Passages by Theme: Moral Law vs. Civil Law
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 8
“How do you come to be here, Jim, and how'd you get here?”
He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for a minute. Then he says:
“Maybe I better not tell.”
“Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me ef I 'uz to tell you, would you, Huck?”
“Blamed if I would, Jim.”
“Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I—I run off.”
“But mind, you said you wouldn' tell—you know you said you wouldn' tell, Huck.”
“Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. Honest injun, I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum—but that don't make no difference. I ain't a-going to tell, and I ain't a-going back there, anyways. So, now, le's know all about it.”
Huck has escaped his father by going to Jackson Island. After a few days, Huck notices signs of some other inhabitants on the island. Frightened that it might be his father, he hides for a few hours and then goes in search of who it might be. He comes across a figure sleeping by a fire and discovers it is Jim, Miss Watson’s slave. The two join forces and prepare a meal. Huck explains to Jim his deception in order to escape. He then asks Jim how it is that he is alone on the island. Jim confesses that he has run away, which had been a crime in the slave states prior to the Civil War. He begs Huck not to turn him in. Huck has promised he would not and he intends to stick by it. This promise is problematic because Huck can be held liable for not reporting a runaway slave. However, at this first instance of a moral choice, Huck refuses to turn Jim in to the authorities, even if he is called a “low down Abolitionist,” a term that is of high contempt in the South.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 16
“Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman dat ever kep'...
(The entire section is 1806 words.)