What is significant in Jim's story of the witches in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?

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iandavidclark3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 2 ("Our Gang's Dark Oath") of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Tom Sawyer sneak out in the middle of the night and encounter Jim, Miss Watson's slave. Tom plays a prank on the sleeping Jim, stealing his hat and hanging it on a tree, and Jim later explains this strange experience by claiming that witches put a spell on him.

This story is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it displays Jim's superstitious nature, a characteristic that proves to be prominent as the novel progresses. Second, it shows that Jim is an accomplished story teller. With each telling of his witch story, Jim enhances and adds to his narrative, eventually claiming that the witches took him all over the globe. Obviously, Jim can't resist spinning a good yarn, and he proves to be an imaginative narrator capable of captivating his audiences. Thus, though the witch story illustrates his superstitious streak, it also shows that Jim possesses a quick and creative mind. In that case, Jim proves to be more complicated than his masters probably assume he is.  

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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