Talk:Jim (Huckleberry Finn)

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Acad. Srch. Compl[edit]

Hello! I have come across a large number of reliable sources on Academic Search Complete. I am not sure what to do with a few, however. See for example:

  • Title: "Jim's Magic: Black or White?" Authors:Hoffman, Daniel G. Source:American Literature; Mar1960, Vol. 32 Issue 1, p47, 8p: "Focuses on the presence of supernatural folklore in two books 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' and 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' by Mark Twain. Emphasis on an Afro-American slave in one book; Response of readers to superstitious malevolence in the novel; Prominence of superstition in the mind of characters; Symbolism of freedom in the realm of nature."

Sincerely, --Le Grand Roi des CitrouillesTally-ho! 06:11, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

  • I missed both your question, and what you're considering or have ruled out. And i hope you're not confusing single journal articles with the kind of sustained consensus that constitutes "established knowledge" in literary studies.
    --Jerzyt 05:20, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

"Just Plain Jim"[edit]

The (academic & Dem activist?) author of "Just Plain Jim" is non-notable:

60 for "Carole S. Appel" OR "Carole Appel " -donations -contributions.

and she is not the author of an article in the NYT BR, but of a letter to the editor. I like to think the editors checked at least Michael Patrick Hearn's The Annotated Huckleberry Finn, on her central point (Twain didn't name him "Nigger Jim"), but even if that were at issue in the 'graph bearing that citation, our source should be Hearn, the one she cites, and be cited by page number by a WP editor who has verified the citation in the book or at a full-text Web site.
In any case, the annotated sent reads

He is a controversial figure in American literature for the portrayal of him as a simple escaped slave.

a statement about which she may or not have hinted her position.
The citn

Carole S. Appel, "Just Plain Jim," New York Times Book Review (3/10/2002): 4.

and both the G-srch terms and the lk they turned up

"Just Plain Jim," appel

should be saved here, but only as a starting point for someone who wants to research further, perhaps for a section

"Nigger Jim" myth

which would require specific citations from

Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Huckleberry Finn,
Albert Bigelow Paine, 1912 [biography of Twain]
Ernest Hemingway
Norman Mailer
Ralph Ellison

For the moment tho, we need citations, perhaps separate, on the effect, on the status of and opinions about the novel, both of the portrayal of Jim's personality, intellect, etc., and of the use of the specific word "nigger".
--Jerzyt 05:20, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

The N-word[edit]

While i think i support the language

the frequent use of a now derogatory term for African Americans

i am sure the failure to link to the N-word is too clever by half, and unencyclopedic, and i've added the link.
--Jerzyt 02:49, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


"Simple" is profoundly ambiguous, especially since, i believe, in the vernacular of the day it denoted developmental disability with an emphasis on cognition, tho it may have embraced speech defects bcz of uncritical amateur diagnosis. A better word is called for, and perhaps it should be linked. Is the intent "unlettered", or "unsophisticated", or is "nothing more or less than an..." the intention? Such ambiguity is unencyclopedic; unless you wrote it, the answer requires researching the sources.
--Jerzyt 02:49, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

"Simple" is hardly a good word for Jim. The book is as much about the journey of Jim as about the journey of Huck Finn, and the book shows him to be far from "simple". Unlettered, yes. I am going to put a little original research here, because it deserves to be noted, and I am not sure that it's ever been noted by academia. I was paid to write a paper on this, and I could not find my interpretation anywhere. At the very beginning of the book, Chapter 2, Jim outsmarts Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, who think that they are escaping on a nighttime adventure without being seen. In fact, Jim knows they are there and pretends he doesn't see them and then pretends to fall asleep. Reread that chapter and see if you agree that it is impossible that Jim did not know they were there. Twain gives you a lot of clues, and finishes off by having Tom commit the impossible feat of removing Jim's hat while he is asleep, without waking him. That is typical Twain, by the way, reminiscent of the Petrified Man hoax. Now try to find a reference about this that you can use for Wikipedia. I suppose if I were a "Twain scholar" like the guy who decided to remove all the "N-words", which is just plain stupid, I could get this published somewhere. There's no money in it, though, and I write for money. (talk) 16:59, 26 May 2011 (UTC) Eric

Charge of racist stereotyping is not specific[edit]

  • According to Professor Stephen Railton of the University of Virginia, Twain was unable to fully rise above the stereotypes of black people that white readers of his era expected and enjoyed. Twain therefore resorted to minstrel show-style comedy to provide humor at Jim's expense, and ended up confirming rather than challenging late-19th century racist stereotypes.[7]

Okay, so Railton accuses Twain of confirming racist stereotypes. Would it be too much to ask just which stereotypes Jim was confirming? (Maybe the part where he didn't get the point of the Bible story about Solomon ordering the baby cut in two.) --Uncle Ed (talk) 06:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

  • The over-arching problem with the last chapters of /Huck Finn/ is reviewers today do not recognize that both Tom and Huck, along with Jim, were in constant, lethal danger from an angry lynch mob ready to convene just outside the Phelp's gates. (And the Phelpes were too incompetent to recognize this.) It explains why Tom must talk to the slaves helping Jim using riddles, and using their aphorisms of witchcraft, for example. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:37, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The Elephant in the Room[edit]

Given that the character has been commonly referred to as "Nigger Jim", it's surprising that the currently Wikipedia article apparently makes no mention of the fact. - Yes, Twain may never have referred to him as such, but many others have. The disconnect is encyclopedic in and of itself. Yes, the term is offensive in modern society, yes it's technically not his name, but ignoring the fact that he has been frequently referred to as such is whitewashing history to some extent. In order to fully understand this character's place in modern culture and in history, it's important to understand where/why/how that name has been attached to him, even if - especially if - the name touches a raw nerve. There is space in this article for an objective, neutral, scholarly treatment of the subject. Readers are not well served by pretending the issue doesn't exist. -- (talk) 17:03, 24 January 2016 (UTC)