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Recap, Summary & Analysis

The Full Book Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for James by Percival Everett are below.

Quick(-ish) Recap

Three-paragraph version: In Part I, Jim becomes a runaway slave after learning he's going to be sold and split up from his family, and he's joined by a boy, Huck, who has faked his death to get away from his abusive father. They travel down the Mississippi together encountering people like robbers and con-artists. Jim meets a group of indentured slaves and asks for a pencil, only to learn the man, Young George, who gives him the pencil stole it from his master, and he was later whipped and lynched because of it. Jim and Huck are split up when is nearly sold by the con-artists, handed over to work as a blacksmith, and then purchased by the leader of a minstrel group.

In Part II, through the minstrel group, Jim meets Norman, a white-passing former slave. The concoct a plan for Norman to sell Jim repeatedly and hopefully make money to buy their wives and Jim's daughter back. They try it once, but another slave that Jim brings to run away with him gets shot in the process. The eventually end up on a steamboat full of passengers that are fleeing the South because war with the North has broken out now that the southern states are seceding. Huck is on the boat, too. The boat capsizes and Jim has to choose whether to save Norman or Huck.

In Part III, Jim chooses to save Huck, and when Huck asks why afterwards, Jim tells Huck that he's his biological son. Jim and Huck's mother grew up together. Jim and Huck make their way back home, where Jim learns that his family has been sold. Jim stays a night at his old house and sees the overseer Hopkins rape a young slave, Katie. Jim then hides out on Jackson Island. As he waits, he kills Hopkins when Hopkins wanders drunk and alone onto the island and takes his pistol. When Huck is unable to find out where Jim's family is, Jim forces Judge Thatcher at gunpoint to tell him, and Thatcher says they're in Edina. Jim then forces Thatcher to row him part of the way to Edina, and walks the rest of the way to what turns out to be plantation of a slave breeder. Jim releases all the slaves, lights the cornfields on fire to cause a distraction, shoots the overseer and all the slaves flee. Jim and his family make it to a town in Iowa. The book ends with the local sheriff asking if any of them are the runaway slave "Jim", but Jim says that his name is "James".

Part I

In Hannibal, Missouri, Jim is a slave who belongs to Miss Watson, along with his daughter Sadie and wife Lizzie. Jim dumbs himself down and adjusts his speech patterns accordingly to keep the white people around him comfortable and teaches his daughter and the other black children to do the same. Huckleberry "Huck" Finn and Tom Sawyer are local boys who like to involve him in their games. Tom tend to be an instigator, whereas Huck considers Jim to be a friend and confidante.

When Jim hears that Miss Watson plans on separating him from his family and selling him to someone in New Orleans, Jim escapes to Jackson Island, nearby, to hide out. He hopes to come back for his family later. Then, when Huck's abusive father comes back into town, Huck fakes his death and escapes there, too. Jim knows he has to keep Huck alive or they'll assume he left because he killed Huck.

When it floods, Jim and Huck scavenge from a house floating by, though Jim tells Huck to leave when he sees a dead body. Jim doesn't tell Huck that the dead man was Huck's father. Jim then gets bit by a rattlesnake and has to slowly recover. He is worried about his family, so he sends Huck back to town dressed like a girl (to disguise his identity) to go check on them. When Huck returns, he thinks people are following him so he makes a fire on the other side of the island to draw them there. He also reports that there's a $300 bounty for Jim. Jim and Huck leave the island since people will come searching soon.

They continue down the river and come across some robbers on a wrecked steamboat. They end up stealing robbers' skiff, along with the loot inside, and continuing down in that until they're reunited with their canoe. In the robbers' loot, Jim finds some books, which he takes with him. One night, their boat is stolen, and they try riding on just the raft, but it gets destroyed from being jostled by the waves of larger boats. Jim swims to shore, but is separated from Huck.

Jim meets four black men who tell him they're in Illinois. They are "indentured servants" (essentially still slaves) at the plantations nearby. He asks them for a pencil, and one of them, Young George, steals one from his master to give to Jim. When Jim is ready to leave the area, he sees Young George being whipped for stealing the pencil. Sadly unable to stop it, Jim leaves and happens to be reunited again with Huck -- who has been having his own adventures involving an elopement between warring families nearby that ends with a gunfight. Huck has also found and repaired their raft in the meantime.

They keep traveling and manage to find a canoe. Huck wants to go exploring a creek for fun, but when he returns, there's two white men with him who are con-men that are fleeing town. They claim to be the Duke of Bridgewater and King Louis the Seventeenth. They soon get the idea to sell Jim for money. Huck and Jim manage to lose them in a small town when a mob of people realize they are liars and con-men, but the Duke and the King catch up to Huck and Jim later down the river.

They all go into town in order for the Duke and the King to sell Jim, and they take Jim to the blacksmiths to put a shackle on him while they sleep. However, the black blacksmith, Easter, takes off Jim's shackle when they leave, saying he'll put it back on in the morning so he can sleep without it. When the Duke and the King arrive the next morning and find Jim without his shackle, Duke whips Easter, causing Easter's owner, Mr. Wiley, to come down and get angry with them. Wiley demands Jim's services while Easter recovers, and the Duke and the King leave with just Huck.

Easter then teaches Jim about blacksmithing. He tells Jim that Wiley treats him well, but would still shoot Jim if he tried to run. Later, Wiley comes and demands they sing while they work. The singing attracts the attention of Daniel Decatur Emmett who leads a performing group of (white) minstrels, and he offers Wiley $200 to purchase Jim to sing for them, since they're recently lost their tenor. One of the minstrels is Norman, who privately reveals to Jim that he's a white-passing former slave.

Emmett tells Jim that he doesn't believe in slavery, and he treats Jim with some dignity. However, he also says that Jim would need to pay him back the $200 if he wanted to leave. He offers Jim $1 per performance. When Jim asks if that's what tenors are paid, Emmett responds that it's a good wage for a black tenor. At the minstrel show, the men dress up in blackface, while Jim is made up to look like a white man in blackface. However, one man from the audience suspects Jim actually is black. The man comes back that night with the same suspicions. Emmett chases him off, but then orders the minstrel group to pack their things and leave before the man can return again.

At the next place, Emmett tells Jim to stay back since it's a "rowdy" area where there are likely to kill Jim if they suspect the truth. When the others are performing, Jim flees.

Part II

In the woods, Norman finds Jim, saying that he couldn't stay with the minstrels any longer. Norman has been working in hopes of saving up money to buy his wife, who is still a slave. Jim and Norman hatch a plan for Norman to pose as a white man and sell Jim. Then, Jim can escape, and they can keep doing it until they have enough to buy back Jim's family and Norman's wife.

They go to a town called Blackbird Hole, and Norman sells Jim to the sawmill owner, Henderson, for $350. Henderson turns out to be a bully who whips Jim for no reason on the first day and rapes his female slave, Sammy. That night, Jim and Sammy make a run for it. They find Norman and the three flee. Henderson eventually catches up to them and shoots Sammy.

Jim and Norman make it away alive, steal a skiff and manage to board a riverboat. They hide out in the engine room, but the slave working the engine room, Brock, is crazy. The situation on the boat is also hectic because it's packed with people fleeing the south since there's a war going on. The southern states are leaving the Union. The minstrals are on the boat, as is Huck. Brock overheats the engine and soon the boats occupants are fleeing the boat. Jim ends up in the water with Norman and Huck struggling nearby, and he has to choose one to go to.

Part III

Jim chooses to save Huck. Norman sadly dies. When Huck asks why he saved him afterwards, Jim tells Huck that Huck is his biological son. Jim and Huck's mother grew up together. Huck asks what that makes him, and Jim says that he can be whatever he wants to be. But he doesn't think that running away with Jim is a good option because he's safe with Miss Watson. Jim also admits that the dead man in the house they found was Huck's "pap".

Jim and Huck make their way back home to Hannibal, Missouri, with Jim planning to take his family escape. However, Jim learns that his family has been sold. Jim stays a night at his old house and sees the overseer Hopkins rape a young slave, Katie. Jim then goes to hides out on Jackson Island while telling Huck to find out where his family was sent to. As he waits, Hopkins wanders drunk and alone onto the island. Thinking about Katie and the other slaves he raped as well as a young slave boy that Hopkins lynched for looking at a white woman, Jim chokes Hopkins to death and takes his pistol.

Soon, Huck reports back that Jim's family was sent to the Graham farm, but he doesn't know where it is. Jim then breaks into Judge Thatcher's house to look for details, but doesn't find any. Instead, he's interrupted by Thatcher himself. Jim pulls a gun on him and demands to know where his family is and tells him to draw it on a map. Thatcher says they're in Edina. Jim then forces Thatcher to row him part of the way there. He then ties Thatcher to a tree and continues on foot.

Jim eventually reaches Edina, where he's told that the Graham farm is a slave breeding plantation. At night, Jim releases the slaves, finds his family, sets the cornfields there on fire to create a distraction, shoots the overseer and they all flee north. Some are caught and some are killed, but Jim and his family make it to a town in Iowa. The book ends with the local sheriff asking if any of them are the runaway slave "Jim", but Jim says that his name is "James".

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary & Analysis

The Notebook of Daniel Decatur Emmett
Part I
Part II
Part III

The Notebook of Daniel Decatur Emmett

The book opens with lyrics to various folksy minstrel songs.

Part I

Pt 1, Chapter 1

Jim is a slave who “belongs” to Miss Watson. He’s waiting outside Miss Watson’s door to pick up some corn bread based on his wife Sadie’s recipe, but he knows that “those little bastards”, Huckleberry “Huck” Finn and Tom Sawyer, are watching him. He muses how “those white boys” were always “playing some kind of pretending game where I was either a villain or prey, but certainly their toy”.

Jim announces loudly that he’s going to take a nap on the porch, and the boys get the idea to tie him up for fun. They also need some candles, so take them from Miss Watson. However, they don’t want Jim to get blamed for stealing them from her, so they leave a nickel there. Huck wants them to leave a note, too, but Tom says it’s not necessary. Tom also takes Jim’s hat and hangs it on a nail nearby, saying that he’s going to wake up and think that a witch did it.

James is a retelling of Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where Huck and Tom escape down the Mississippi and take him along with them. Here, the novel sets out immediately to establish how Jim feels about them and about being involved in their schemes.

Jim does not like being treated as their toy, but he lets them do it anyway and plays along. It’s easy to imagine that this is probably a simpler solution than becoming an unwilling participant in their games.

Meanwhile, while it’s certain dehumanizing for Jim to be treated as “their toy”, the boys are not intending to cruel or mean to Jim, as illustrated by them wanting to make sure he doesn’t get punished unfairly as a result of their actions.

Miss Watson eventually comes out with the cornbread. She asks if he’s seen anyone in the kitchen, and he says no since he technically had his eyes closed. She also asks if he’s been in the Judge Thatcher’s library room because there was a book off the shelf, and he responds with ““What I gone do wif a book?”

Jim brings back the cornbread for Sadie and their daughter Elizabeth/”Lizzie”. The cornbread tastes terrible, and Jim instructs Lizzie on the appropriate response (“Miss Watson, dat sum conebread lak I neva before et.” “Try ‘dat be,’ ” I said. “That would be the correct incorrect grammar.” ) As they eat, Albert comes to fetch Jim.

Jim does not rat out the boys, likely because not getting involved in any of it is probably the best strategy for him. Meanwhile, he plays plays into Miss Watson’s views of him being simple or dumb to get out of being accused of messing around in that room by saying that he couldn’t possibly have a use for a book. In this way, he wields her own biased views against him as a shield from trouble.

Meanwhile, Jim teaches Sadie to project the same image — teaching her to speak to white folks in a way that is consistent with the way they see them. It’s a way to keep her out of trouble to be seen as simple and unthreatening.

Jim follows Albert outside, where Old Luke and Doris (a man, but “the slavers” didn’t pay attention when they named him) are sitting around a big fire. They talk about what happened to a runaway at another farm nearby. Then, Albert signals to them that there’s
“white folks” around, they hear a rustling in the bushes and Jim knows it’s probably those boys.

He starts talking in broken English. Jim thinks to himself that “My change in diction alerted the rest to the white boys’ presence. So, my performance for the boys became a frame for my story. My story became less of a tale as the real game became the display for the boys.”

Jim is speaking to the other black men, but his real audience is the boys. He explains that he woke up with his hat hanging on a nail and he’s sure it was the witches that did it. He also says that he thinks the witches transported him to New Orleans. As he says this, he can hear the boys giggling in the bushes, so Jim continues his made-up tale of his trip to New Orleans until he woke up and realized it was just a dream.

Jim then says that he thinks he hears some demons in the bushes and that he’s going to light them on fire, and then they hear the sound of the boys scampering out of there.

The next day, Jim sees Huck hanging out looking at him, which he tends to do when there’s something on his mind that he wants to talk about. Huck is upset because Tom always wants to boss him around. Jim advises him that sometimes you just have to put up with your friends. Huck also asks Jim how he learned to do the things he does, and Jim says he learned these things out of necessity.

Huck also says that he thinks that Miss Watson is crazy with all her praying and stuff, but he doesn’t see a point to praying just so he can learn a lesson about not getting what he asked for. Huck also says that Tom is a little crazy and made them take a blood oath about not telling each other’s secrets.

Jim points out that Huck is telling him secrets right now. Huck says it’s different. Jim asks if it’s because he’s a slave, but Huck says it’s because Jim is his friend. Their conversation is interrupted by Miss Watson, who shoos Huck away. She then asks Jim to keep an eye on Huck. She says that Huck’s father is back in town, and her demeanor shows that she’s concerned about it. She also says to keep an eye on Tom, too.

Jim thinks about how Miss Watson’s reflects how “Tom Sawyer wasn’t really a danger to Huck, just a kind of little fellow sitting on his shoulder whispering nonsense. But his father being back, that was a different story.” Jim knows that Huck’s father is prone to beating Huck, regardless of whether the man is drunk or sober.

Here we see a very different aspect of Huck and Jim’s relationship. Huck acknowledges that when he’s with Tom that Tom’s the boss, and Tom’s view of Jim as a toy in their games is what dictates how Huck relates to Jim. But when Huck is by himself, he treats Jim like a person and a friend. He goes to him for advice, guidance and a sympathetic ear.

While Tom can be nuisance and mildly disruptive influence on Huck due to his “nonsense”, Jim and Miss Watson both understand that Huck’s father is the real threat to Huck’s well-being and safety.

Pt 1, Chapter 2

That night, Jim gives a lesson to Lizzie and a group of black children on how to speak to the white people in their lives. He explains that their safety depends on them knowing how to speak to people. They talk about not making eye contact and never speaking first. Also, Lizzie reminds the kids of not “signifying”, which means not addressing something directly because they have to let “the whites be the ones” to know things before them and to name things.

As an example, Jim mentions that if there’s a fire that someone hasn’t seen, instead of shouting “fire”, they should point out that something is going on, so white people can first draw the conclusions about what is happening.

As another example, Jim brings up if someone is about to throw water on a grease fire. Instead of telling someone white that the water will make it worse (which would be the equivalent of telling a white person that they’re doing something wrong), they should just offer the correct solution by saying “you wan fo me to gets some sand?”

When Lizzie worries that they might not be understood if they speak with poor grammar and diction, Jim reminds her that the white people enjoy correcting them and “thinking you’re stupid”. They’re also more likely to tune them out, which gives them freer reign to say things.

He also recommends that they talk a lot about god, though whatever power exists he doesn’t believe it’s their “white god”. Still, he reminds them that “the more you talk about God and Jesus and heaven and hell, the better they feel” and then the children respond in unison that “the better they feel, the safer we are.”

Soon Jim is working, and Huck hands around like he wants to talk. Jim asks him what’s on his mind, and Huck talks about praying. Jim says that he thinks maybe people encourage Huck to pray because it lets the people around him know what he’s wishing for. After Huck leaves, Old Luke tells Jim the news about “that McIntosh brother down in St. Louis”. He’s a light-skinned free man who got into a scuffle. When the police threatened to hang him, he pulled out a knife and killed the two officers.

Their conversation is interrupted when a white man comes over. They have to continue talking to avoid the appearance of trying to hide something, but they continue their conversation in a way that is barely comprehensible. He asks about a horse, and asks Jim to see if the widow Douglas is interested in selling it.

Luke continues his story to say that, as punishment, the man was chained to a tree by a mob and burned alive. The judge declined to indict anyone for the crime of killing him because many people were involved in his punishment so it was “an act of a multitude”. Luke scoffs at the lawlessness of idea that “if enough of them kill you, they’re innocent.”

As the two men chat, they share a joke, but stop laughing when they spot a white man. They know that being seen laughing can attract unwanted attention, since white people seem to dislike seeing them having a good time or it could be interpreted as laughing at them. The man comes over to ask what they’re laughing about, but they make something stupid up while musing afterwards “when we see him staggering around later acting the fool, will that be an example of proleptic irony or dramatic irony?”

This whole chapter is basically a litany of examples of how Jim and the other black people have to adjust their behavior to seem more simple, stupid and non-threatening for their own safety.

Pt 1, Chapter 3

Jim is chopping wood when Huck comes up to talk to him. They talk about how Huck’s father is back in town. Jim then tells him he has a magic ball. The balls says that Huck’s dad has a black and a white angel that guide him. He says that Huck will get hurt, but he’ll be okay. It also says Huck will marry twice, first a poor woman and then a rich one. It also says that he should stay away from the water since the river “be da death of you”.

Later, Jim talks to Luke about how he’s worried about Huck’s father being around. He laments that because he’s a slave that he “can’t help him at all”.

Pt 1, Chapter 4

The weather has been unseasonably cold, and Jim has taken a little extra wood from Miss Watson for a few of the black families, and he worries he may be caught. Sadie comes by and says that she overhead a conversation between Miss Watson and Judge Thatcher about selling Jim to a family in New Orleans, splitting him up from his family.

When Jim hears this, he decides he needs to run away and hide out nearby, on Jackson Island. He promises Sadie that he’ll come back for her. Jim then leaves immediately, scared and angry.

He arrives at Jackson Island at dusk, exhausted and freezing. He tries to dry himself off and get some sleep. In the morning, he finds Huck covered in blood at the Island. Huck says that he killed a pig and spread it over his father’s cabin so that Miss Watson, Judge Thatcher and his father would think he was dead. In his head, Jim realizes if they think that Huck was killed and Jim had run away, they’ll naturally be thinking that he did it. Jim tells Huck that he needs to go back or they’ll think Jim did it, but Huck says his father will kill him if he does.

Huck tells Jim that he gave Judge Thatcher the money that he found (this is referring to events from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, where Tom and Huck find a robber’s stash of gold, which precedes the events from Huck Finn) since “money ain’t nothing but trouble”.

They then see a ferryboat pass by with Judge Thatcher and his daughter Bessie in it. Tom Sawyer’s aunt Polly is in it too, and they fire a cannonball into the water. They also float a loaf of bread with quicksilver in it. Jim explains to Huck that they’re trying to see if any corpses rise to the top of the water. They’re most likely looking for Huck’s body, so they clearly believe he’s dead.

Jim thinks to himself that he needs to make sure he Huck stays alive since otherwise they’ll think he killed him.

Pt 1, Chapter 5

Jim and Huck find a big cave to stay in. Huck finds a snakeskin, but Jim tells him it’s bad luck to handle snakeskins. They chat about other superstitions, like not walking under a ladder. Jim senses it’s going to rain and he knows he needs to keep the fire going. When the rain comes. it’s a torrential rain, flooding everything. When a house floats by, they paddle to it trying to salvage whatever they can. However, there’s a dead body in the house, so Jim tells Huck to go back to the canoe, though Huck argues with him.

Afterwards, Jim is handling the fire when he gets bitten by a rattlesnake. He uses some mud to try to draw out the poison.

Pt 1, Chapter 6

Following the snakebite, Jim feels weak, numb and dizzy. He is also feverish and delirious. He thinks about all the times he snuck into Judge Thatcher’s library to teach himself how to read, and he wonders what they would do if they knew that and if they he he had taught other slaves to read.

He also imagines having a conversation with François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire. Voltaire tells him that black people evolved a certain way for survival, but it prevented them from achieving “the more perfect human form found in Europe”. Voltaire tells him that he has the capacity to become equal. When Jim points out that Voltaire is saying that he’s equal and yet inferior at the same time. Voltaire reminds him that he’s an abolitionist who is against slavery.

In the discussion between Voltaire and Jim, it discusses how Voltaire’s arguments about the biological differences of race, despite him being an abolitionist, is still highly racist and bigoted.

Jim starts to talk about natural liberties and civil liberties with Voltaire when he’s interrupted by Huck, who comments that he talks completely differently in his sleep. Huck runs off to check on their berries.

Jim is reluctant to go back to sleep, knowing he might talk more in his sleep without passing his speech through his “slave filter”. He also knows he’s likely to have more imaginary conversations with other philosophers about equality. He thinks to himself about how he lives in a world where “one’s equal must argue for one’s equality, that one’s equal must hold a station that allows airing of that argument, that one cannot make that argument for oneself, that premises of said argument must be vetted by those equals who do not agree.”

Jim ponders the absurdity of knowing he’s equal to any other man, but he needs someone else to make that argument for him, someone who is of the right social statue to be able to make the argument and others may disagree on about that argument.

Jim starts to feel a little better, and Huck returns with some berries and put the troutline out so they can catch some fish.

Pt 1, Chapter 7

It takes Jim a few days to continue to recover, and he’s able to set some traps for rabbits when he does. He tells Huck that he’s worried about his family, and he asks Huck to go check on them, suggesting that he can dress up like a girl so no one knows it’s him. He suggests going by the name Mary Williams. Jim then sends Huck out, and he begins to write.

He writes that his name is Jim and that he is a victim of the “Curse of Ham” (a slave), but that he refuses to let his condition define him. He writes that “I will not let myself, my mind, drown in fear and outrage” and instead by writing he intends to give his life meaning.

The “Curse of Ham” is a story in Genesis to used by Christians to justify slavery. It’s a curse imposed on Ham’s son due to the shameful act of seeing “the nakedness of his father”, Noah.

Pt 1, Chapter 8

With Huck off on his mission, Jim continues to recover, sleeps a lot and continues to improve. He thinks about how the dead man he saw in the house was Huck’s father. He isn’t sure why he didn’t tell Huck, perhaps he was worried about handling the boy’s reaction to the news. By now, he’s worried about how Huck will react if he finds out that Jim kept the news from him, whether he would turn him in as retribution.

As a runaway slave, Jim’s life is precarious as his safety can be subject to the emotional whims of a young boy.

Huck soon returns around the time Jim sees a column of smoke coming from the other side of the island. He tells Huck they need to leave the island since people will come looking for them. Huck says he was the one who made the fire since he thought people were following him, and he wanted to draw them over there instead.

They get in the canoe and depart.

Pt 1, Chapter 9

In the canoe, Huck reports that he saw Jim’s family from a distance, but they looked sad. Huck also says that people are looking for his murderer. People initially assumed his father did it and nearly hanged him, but then they thought it was Jim when they found out he disappeared. But later they thought it was Huck’s father again, so he ran out of town, and now there’s a $200-bounty on his head. There’s also a $300-dollar reward for Jim.

They travel down to a shore and hide out in the woods, eating berries and fish. At dusk, they set out again. They soon reach Fourmile Island, but nearly get drawn into huge riverboat behind them. They lose some of their shelter and get hit with a wave, but they survive.

Pt 1, Chapter 10

They continue their journey, and Huck asks why Jim doesn’t just go across the river where he’d be a free man, but Jim says he’s not going to leave Huck. They come across a wrecked steamboat, called the Walter Scott. They board the boat, but Huck tells Jim they need to go when he hear the voices of robbers on the boat that are splitting their loot.

When they come out, their boat has been untied and has drifted out. They hide out in the bushes, watching the robbers on the boat. They then steal the robbers’ skiff and ride off in it. In the boat’s cache, there is no food, but plenty of loot like jewelry, clothes and cigars. There’s also books. Jim is surprised to find Voltaire’s Treatise on Tolerance and All for the Best and Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality.

Huck asks Jim why he’s holding those books, and Jim just says he likes the feel of them. Huck says he doesn’t “understand n*ggers”, and there’s an uncomfortable silence between them. Jim asks to keep the books, and Huck doesn’t understand it, but he doesn’t argue.

Despite being Jim’s friend, Huck is still a white boy who is learning from the people around him. He doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with that language though. Meanwhile, Jim still feels the need to mask his intelligence around Huck to keep himself safe.

Pt 1, Chapter 11

Later, Huck talks about a story about a genie in a lamp and the wishes he grants that Tom Sawyer told him, but Jim points out that Tom Sawyer rarely tells him things that are true.

Huck asks Jim what he would wish for, but Jim has far more intellectual and complicated thoughts about it than he’d ever share with Huck. Instead, he says that he’d be too scared to wish for anything. Huck says that if had three wishes he’d wish for adventure, for Jim to be free and for all slaves to be free.

When Huck asks whether all men have a right to be free, Jim starts to say that there’s “no such things as rights”, but quickly drops the topic. When Huck goes to sleep, Jim has a chance to read, telling himself that he’ll just tell Huck that he was staring dumbly at the pages if he’s caught. As he reads, Jim is transported elsewhere, not on “one side of that damn river or the other”.

Jim continues to struggle with trying to dumb himself down in Huck’s presence, and it’s “exhausting” for him to do, so it’s another layer of work that needs to be done to preserve his safety.

By reading, Jim can momentarily mentally escape being in a place where they consider him to be a slave.

Pt 1, Chapter 12

That afternoon, the rediscover their original canoe and raft hung up in some brush down the beach and reclaim it. Later, Huck asks Jim what last name he would choose, and Jim chooses “Golightly”. When Huck calls him “Jim Golightly”, he corrects him saying that he’d choose “James Golightly”.

Jim steers them down the river, and drifts off to sleep briefly. Huck plays a prank on him, disconnecting the raft. Jim is in a panic until he spies Huck on the raft, and he pretends to sleep. When they’re reunited, Huck pretends that Jim dreamed the whole thing.

Afterwards, Huck asks if he’s stealing Miss Watson’s property by not bringing Jim back to her, since he’s technically her property.

Huck’s question highlights the absurdity of one human owning another human. Two people choosing to go somewhere together can be considered theft.

They reach the point where the Ohio and Mississippi meet, and Jim comments that the Ohio is “tellin’ dat ol’ Mississip ’bout freedom”, since he associates the Ohio with the free territories. He thinks about getting a job and purchasing his family back. Huck asks if they’d belong to him, and Jim says no and that they would be free.

Pt 1, Chapter 13

Jim awakes the next morning covered in a tarp. He hears Huck speaking to some men who are looking for Jim because he’s a runaway slave. The men want to search the raft that Jim is on, but Huck says that it’s his uncle who has smallpox. Huck says he’s just here fishing for catfish, and the men give Huck ten dollars before they leave. Afterwards, Jim says they need to get off the river if people are searching for him.

When they get back that night, their boat has been stolen. They try taking just the raft, but it falls apart since there’s so much traffic in the river jerking it around. Jim resurfaces to realize that he’s lost Huck.

Pt 1, Chapter 14

When he makes it onto shore, he sees he still has his books and papers with him and goes to try them out, but he’s still sick with worry about Huck. He falls asleep and wakes to find himself surrounded by four men who are, thankfully, black. They tell him that he’s in Illinois, a free state, though they let him know it’s not all that different here (“the white folks around here tell us we’re in Tennessee”).

The story is set around the 1830-1840’s. Illinois technically is a free state, but the state essentially created a loophole in 1803 which allowed people to have indentured servants that were basically slaves.

The men introduce themselves as Josiah, Old George, Young George and Pierre. Jim says he’s from Hannibal, Missouri. They tell him that there’s two white families around here — the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons — and that they’re always fighting with each other and killing each other.

Josiah was previously a slave and made three failed escape attempts. Jim admits that there’s people looking for him and that he’s on the run. He asks if it would be safe to hide in the woods, and the men respond that they might come looking for him with dogs in which case it’d be over for him. Jim says he should stay away from them to prevent them from getting in trouble, but he asks for a pencil, and Young George agrees to find him one.

Pt 1, Chapter 15

Two days pass, with Jim mostly foraging and reading. He considers looking for Huck, but doesn’t have a good plan to do so and is worried about being spotted by the overseers of the plantations nearby. Finally, Young George comes by with a pencil, as promised. He says that he stole it from his master, and when his master couldn’t find the pencil, Young George offered to help him look for it.

Young George asks him what he’s going to write, and when Jim says he doesn’t know, Young George suggests that he tell his story and to :use his ears”.

That night, he hears hounds barking in the distance, but he stays put since he doesn’t know where to go.

Pt 1, Chapter 16

Jim begins telling his story. The four men come by and bring him some food, though Jim is able to forage and offer them some in return as well. Jim tells them that he’s reluctant to leave because his family is still there, but Old George says that even if he had the money he couldn’t buy back his family as a runaway slave. He’s best moving north and making a life there.

That night, he begins to move out but hears some noise. He sees a group of men and Young George being whipped for stealing a pencil. Young George sees Jim and smiles at him faintly until he’s whipped again and he mouths “Run”, and Jim does.

Pt 1, Chapter 17

Jim continues traveling until he hears some voices, including the voice of Huck. There’s a ruckus involving the people that Huck are with — something about and shots are fired. When Jim goes to check he sees that everyone is dead. He tells Huck they need to get out of there, and pulls the boy away.

In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, when Jim and Huck are separated, Huck ends up being taken in by the Grangerfords who are in a feud with the neighboring Shepherdsons. However, the elopement of Sophia Grangerford with Harney Shepherdson leads to a deadly gun battle and deaths in both of the families.

Huck says that he managed to locate and repair the raft in the time that they were separated. As they get on the raft, Huck notes that Jim no longer talks like a slave, and Jim realizes he’s forgotten to adjust his speech. Jim switches back immediately, and they continue on, though Huck throws him a suspicious look.

Pt 1, Chapter 18

They continue down the river, and Huck fills Jim in on his time living with the Grangerfords. One morning, they find an old canoe near the mouth of a creek. Huck suggests testing it out by riding it up the creek, and Jim can tell that Huck just wants to play, so he tells him to go on without him.

While the books have gotten soaked and ruined, there’s still some parts left to use for scratch paper. When Jim looks at his pencil, he thinks of the high price that Young George paid for it, and he wonders if they killed him that night. He thinks to himself that he owes it to Young George “to write something important”.

When Jim falls asleep, he dreams of being visited by John Locke. Jim accuses John Locke for abandoning what he claimed was moral and right when he wrote the constitution for the Carolinas. John responds that they wanted a constitution to justify their behavior, so he gave them one because otherwise someone else would have.

The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina was adopted on March 1, 1669. The document was authored by John Locke.

Jim’s argument with Locke is interrupted by the sound of Huck’s voice, and the boy returns with two men. Jim is terrified, but then he sees the men are as well. They all hurry onto the boat. One man is old and weak, and the other is younger. When asked, Huck insists that Jim is is friend and not his slave.

The young man says that he’s in trouble since he was selling a toothpaste, but it turns out it takes the enamel off teeth. The older man says that he was running a pro-temperance meeting group, charging per person, but he got caught drinking from his stash, and they all demanded their money back. So he’s leaving town.

The two con-artists discuss possibly working together for a bit. Then, the younger one declares that he’s actually the Duke of Bridgewater. The older man then says that he’s actually the former Dauphin, Louie the Seventeenth, son of Louie the Sixteenth and Marie Antoinette.

Jim suspects that even Huck knows they’re lying, but Huck’s enjoying the adventure of it anyway.

Pt 1, Chapter 19

The men start asking them questions, and Jim denies being a runaway, saying that he’s clearly headed South instead of North. At Jim’s encouragement, Huck says that Jim is his slave. When asked where he’s going, Huck is delighted to make up a story, saying that they’re going to see his Uncle Ben at his farm in New Orleans. He says that his dad and young brother, Ike, was originally with them, but they got separated when their raft broke apart.

The two men take up a lot of space and eat their food, however, the men want real food. They talk about putting on a show to earn some money and buy some food. Huck is worried that people will try to take Jim if they go into town, but the Duke says he can just say that Jim is his. Huck pushes back, saying that he’s worried he’ll try to sell Jim if he’s going around saying that Jim is his, and the two men exchange a look.

Pt 1, Chapter 20

When they near a little town, Huck wants to stay in the raft with Jim, but the men laugh, knowing that they’ll disappear if they do. As they head into the town, they ask someone where all the people are, and the man says that they’re all at a revival that some preacher is holding.

They soon come across a group of around 300 white people listening to a large man dressed in white. Jim notices with fear that there’s not a single black person here. Someone named Jeanette Booth comes up and says that she suffers from uneven legs. The large man then “heals” her, and Jeanette extends out her left foot so both legs are even, and people clap and sing.

The Duke then goes up and addresses the crowd. He says that he’s reminded of the revival that saved him, since he used to be a pirate and he’s now a missionary. He asks the crowd for donations in his mission. The Duke jumps in and starts reciting Shakespeare, but lines he knows involves saying that he’s a jew, which concerns the crowd. The preacher then tries to reclaim his revival.

As the con-men work the crowd, suddenly the crowd turns on them, calling them liars and charlatans. They start calling for a hanging.

Pt 1, Chapter 21

Very soon after, Huck and Jim are rushing away from town, and the two con-men are as well behind them. Huck points out a RUNAWAY poster that looks like Jim on one of the storefronts. Huck comments that he thinks the con-men intended to try to turn Jim in for the reward money, and Jim agrees. They’re already pulling away with the boat when the con-men reach the riverbank, asking them to come back. Jim knows he’ll be turned in if they do, so he says they need to keep going. Huck wonders what’ll happen to them.

Back on the river, Jim tells Huck that he knew his mother. He says she was nice, and she loved Huck. Huck asks if she was pretty, but Jim says he doesn’t know and that it’s a “scary thing for a slave to think such things”.

As a slave, it’s possible for him to be punished or killed for even commenting on a white woman’s attractiveness, so it’s better and safer for Jim to not even think about those things.

Across the way, they see a steamboat on fire and people trying to get off.

Pt 1, Chapter 22

Because a young boy with a slave can’t travel during the day without attracting attention, Huck and Jim can only travel at night, which slows them down. The Duke and the King continue to pursue Huck and Jim and manage to catch up with them. Jim and Huck come out one night to find them sitting in their raft. They say they got away from the mob back in the little town by hiding in a shop. The Duke announces that they’re going into the “slave-selling business”.

The Duke goes for Jim, and Huck tries to stop him but is swatted away. The Duke then starts using his belt to whip Jim’s legs to teach him a lesson.

Pt 1, Chapter 23

Shortly after, they’re back on the boat with the Duke and the King. They soon reach a town that’s half in Missouri and half in Illinois. The Duke and the King stop at a tavern and tell Huck and Jim to wait nearby, threatening them if they don’t stay in that exact spot. When they’re alone, Huck wonders if they should run, but Jim says he can’t run as fast with his leg messed up, and he thinks there’s a good change they’ll catch them.

They try to ask someone for a shortcut to get the the river since maybe they could outrun them that way, but they don’t get a useful answer.

Pt 1, Chapter 24

Huck and Jim fall asleep and are awoken by the Duke and the King. They go to the blacksmith, an old black man named Easter, to purchase a shackle and put it on Jim’s bad leg while they sleep. When the Duke and the King leave, Easter unlocks Jim and tells him that he’ll lock him back up in the morning, so that he can sleep without the shackle at least.

Jim and Easter chat while Huck sleeps, but afterwards, Huck wakes up and comments to Jim that he speaks differently to Easter than he does to him. But Huck also says he understands why he does that.

Pt 1, Chapter 25

Huck and Jim wake up to an angry Duke, demanding to know why Jim isn’t in shackles. Duke is about to whip Easter, but Jim says no. King then goes to tie Jim up, and Duke whips Easter. Then, a large white man, Mr. Wiley, comes down and demands to know who has whipped his slave. He then says that Jim will be staying to work for him until Easter is better.

Duke and the King want to argue, but are intimidated by the man. They take Huck with them though and say they’ll be back.

Pt 1, Chapter 26

Wiley reassures Jim that if he works hard, he’ll treat him well. When he leaves, Easter reassures him that “if he didn’t own slaves I’d like to think that old Wiley was a decent fellow”. Easter then starts to teach Jim about blacksmithing. Meanwhile, he tells Jim that he hear there was a lynching up the river. He says that a slave got lynched for stealing a pencil.

Jim then asks Easter what he thinks Wiley would do if he tried to run. Easter says if he saw him, he’d definitely shoot him. As they work, Jim asks Easter if he remembers when he first arrived here (in “hell”, as in when he became a slave), and Easter responds that he remembers the ship and not really his home before then.

When they’re done with the horsehoe, Jim shows Easter the pencil that Young George died for. Afterwards, Wiley comes by and demands they sing while they work, and while Jim hates being asked to sing, he does it.

Soon, a group of about ten men show up, led by a man who identifies himself as Daniel Decatur Emmett. He explains that they are the Virginia Minstrels.

Pt 1, Chapter 27

Emmett explains that they are musicians who are playing at the town hall. As minstrels, they perform in blackface. They say that they’ve lost one of their singers, a tenor, and they came here because they heard Jim singing. They want to purchase Jim so he can sing with them. They offer Wiley $200, and Wiley accepts. Meanwhile, Jim thinks about how he’s stood there listening to this negotiation without being asked about his “opinion or desire”.

Once the deal is done, Jim is surprised when Emmett reaches out to offer him a hand to shake. Jim then walks out with the rest of the minstrels.

Pt 1, Chapter 28

They take Jim to their camp just outside town, and they offer him some coffee, which Jim had never tasted before. Cassidy, the trombone player, introduces himself. Then, Emmett explains that they’re all against slavery and Jim’s just here to sing. Jim asks if they’re abolitionists, but Emmett says no, they’re not interested in freeing him, they just want to work. They teach him some songs and give him clothes to wear to match the rest of them. Jim is overwhelmed by their treatment of him.

Pt 1, Chapter 29

Norman, who plays the drums, helps Jim to put on makeup. He explains that Jim is in blackface but needs to appear to be white underneath or they won’t let him into the auditorium.

He also tells him he can drop the slave talk with him. Norman, who is white-passing, knows that language as well, since he was also once a slave though the others don’t know it. He’s not sure how they’ll treat Jim since they’ve never had a black man in the group before. He tells him that the tenor that left them got “caught up with some man’s daughter in the last town”.

Pt 1, Chapter 30

Jim does his first performance, and the experience is surreal. As a minstrel, he’s in a show meant to be mocking “darkies” with white people clapping along. A woman named Polly comes up to him after the show and tries to talk to him, but Jim is petrified. Her father comes over and comments how his hair seems genuinely like a black person’s hair, and Emmett comes over to interrupt them, saying it’s an expensive wig.

Afterwards, Emmett laughs about the interaction. Norman reminds him that if Jim were caught there’d likely be repercussions for all of them. Jim wants to run, thinking of how precarious the situation would be of anyone realized the truth. He has complicated feelings about Emmett who claims he’s not a slave, but Jim wonders how Emmett would react if he tried to run. He thinks to himself that “a man who refused to own slaves but was not opposed to others owning slaves was still a slaver, to my thinking.”

Pt 1, Chapter 31

That night, Jim sleeps in a tent with Norman and Big Mike. He’s sleeping when he awakes to feel someone touching him, and it’s Polly’s father. He wants to know why Jim sleeps with his wig on and in makeup. Emmett shows up and asks why he’s here, and the man responds that he had to touch that wig again.

Emmett suggests that he may call the police, but the man says his nephew is a lawman. Emmett then starts accusing the man of being a pervert, suggesting that he came here to touch Jim inappropriately. The man runs off and immediately, Emmett tells them to pack up their stuff since they need to go. He knows the man will likely be back soon.

Emmett then apologies to Jim, which confuses him. As they walk, Jim asks Emmett if he’s free to go if he’s not a slave, and Emmett says that he paid $200 for him, so after it’s paid off, then yes. Then Jim asks if he’s be paid to sing, and Emmett offers him $1 per performance. When Jim asks if that’s the normal rate for a tenor, Emmett replies that it is for a black tenor. Jim then asks if Emmett thinks there’s a distinction between chattel slavery and bonded slavery, and Emmett looks upset.

Chattel slavery is where slaves are considered property. Bonded slavery is where people are slaves due to indebtedness.

Pt 1, Chapter 32

They walk until they finally arrive at a small encampment. After exploring a bit, Emmett suggests that Jim stay out of this performance, since it’s clear he thinks the people here are “rowdy” and likely to kill Jim if they suspect he’s black. Instead, Jim cleans and does slave work while the others get ready to perform.

When the others leave for the performance, Jim takes some bread, shoes and Emmett’s notebook and he flees.

Part II

Pt 2, Chapter 1

Jim wakes when he hears Norman looking for him. Norman says he couldn’t stay with them because passing for white was exhausting. Also, after Emmett realized Jim had left, he was screaming things that sounded like “every slaver I ever met” about finding and hanging Jim and whatnot.

When Norman wakes, Jim suggests that to make money, Norman should pretend to be his white owner and sell him, and then Jim will escape. They’ll keep doing it until they have enough money to buy back Norman’s wife and Jim’s family. Norman estimates his wife alone would cost at least a thousand dollars.

They reach a little town with a sign that reads Bluebird Hole. It occurs to Jim that Norman could easily sell Jim, take the money and disappear, since whites “had no monopoly on duplicity, dishonesty or perfidy”. But Jim shakes off the thought.

Pt 2, Chapter 2

The town constable, Frank McHart, comes to greet them. Norman talks easily with the man and offers to sell Jim to him. The constable recommends talking to Old Man Henderson at the sawmill. Jim is discomforted by the ease with which Norman acts white and offers him up for sale.

Pt 2, Chapter 3

Norman buys a potato from a woman and is about to eat it when Jim stops him, saying that it’ll make him sick if he doesn’t cook it first. They build a fire and eat.

The next day at the sawmill, Norman talks to Henderson and introduces Jim as his slave, February. They cut a deal for Henderson to purchase Jim for $350.

Pt 2, Chapter 4

One of the other slaves, Luke, warns Jim that Henderson is a bully and will beat him. Luke also says that Henderson won’t let them take the time to properly sharpen their tools and “dull tools are much more dangerous than sharp ones”, and Jim appreciates the metaphor in Luke’s statement.

Jim is paired off to work with another slave, Sammy. It’s hard miserable work, and at the end of the day Henderson whips him just to keeps him in place, resulting in deep wounds. When he awakes, Sammy tells him that Henderson will do this for the first couple days, but then he’ll let up. Sammy reveals that she’s a 15-year-old girl. He asks if Henderson knows she’s a girl and when she doesn’t answer, he knows the answer is yes.

That night, Jim invites Sammy to flee with him. He goes to the spot where he and Norman had cooked the potato, but Norman isn’t there. He leaves Sammy there momentarily. Jim knows they need to make haste, but he looks around for Norman. When he heads back, he hears screaming.

Pt 2, Chapter 5

Jim runs back to find Sammy petrified of Norman. Jim quickly makes introductions, and the three depart just as they hear dogs barking. They run until midday and finally Norman and Sammy try to tend to Jim’s wounds.

Pt 2, Chapter 6

After a bit of sleep, they all keep moving. They then work on making a raft. Sammy tells Jim how Henderson has raped her since she was little, and Jim tells her that’s not going to happen again. Jim drifts off to sleep and awakes when Norman yells that Henderson is coming. They push the unfinished raft onto the river, getting on the logs. Jim tries to tie them up in the water, and looks back to see Henderson with his pistol.

Norman is bewildered that they would be shooting at them, saying that you can’t work a dead slave. But Jim simply tells him that “they hate us”. They drift down the river a little, but there’s no way to make it to the other side with the raft in this shape. Jim tries to hold them all together. Sammy is limp. When they pull her out of the river, they realize she was shot, and she’s dead.

Norman suggests it would have been better to leave her there, alive. But Jim says that “She was dead when I found her” and “She’s just now died again, but this time she died free.” They bury Sammy. Afterwards, Jim tells Norman that “I’ll never be a slave again”.

Pt 2, Chapter 7

Norman and Jim talk about what to do next and decide to just head North. At dusk, they find a skiff and get into it. Then, they see a riverboat and Jim says he wants to try to latch onto it and climb aboard. It’s a dangerous move and the skiff is destroyed, but Norman and Jim make it onto the riverboat.

Pt 2, Chapter 8

They’re hiding in the engine room when a black man, Brock, who works the furnace comes checking on the noise. Jim admits that they’re hiding out here. Norman and Jim are both disheveled and dirty, but Norman’s white-passing presence is still enough to get Brock to leave them alone. Jim thinks to himself that “even though Norman looked like the poorest and worst-off white man, he still commanded fear and respect.” However, they needed to clean him up if he was going to be able to get around among the white people. Brock keeps insisting that they Jim shouldn’t be down here, but Norman overrides him. They find the steamer trunks and get Norman some clothes so he can go upstairs.

Brock insists there’s something funny about Jim and his “master” Norman, but Jim ignores him. Brock explains that he stays in the engine room all the time and they bring him trays of food. Brock keeps talking about about his “massa” (master), Massa Corey.

Norman eventually comes back down the tells Jim that Emmett is up there, and he thinks the trombonist may have seen him. He also says that the boat is packed with people because there’s a war and people are fleeing to the North. The southern states are trying to leave the Union. Jim says that he thinks something is very wrong here and that he’s not sure Brock’s master is still alive, since it’s just him keeping the boat going. The engine makes strange noises.

Pt 2, Chapter 9

Jim says that he thinks Brock is crazy, and the engine room starts to shake. Then a rivet pops off and even Brock looks scared.

Soon, there’s people everywhere in the freezing water. Huck is there too. Jim sees Norman struggling with a plank, and Huck is treading water. He needs to pick one to go to as they both call out to him.

Part III

Pt 3, Chapter 1

Jim drags Huck’s body onto shore. He doesn’t know where Norman is. Huck tells Jim about the war going on. He says that the King and the Duke brought him on the boat and that he tried to get away from them a few times. Huck asks about the other man who had been calling out to him, and Jim says it was a friend of his, Norman. Huck says he saw Norman go down and that he might be dead.

Huck asks Jim why he saved him, and Jim finally stops talking in “slave” speech. He says it’s because Huck is his son. Jim grew up with Huck’s mother, and Huck is his son. Later, Huck asks him more about it. Huck asks if he’s a “n*gger”, and Jim says he can be what he wants to be, but no one knows who his father is so he’s not a slave. Jim also tells him that the dead man in that house they found was his “pap”.

Huck asks whether Jim has always talked normally and whether he’s lied to him his whole life, and Jim responds that “I suppose I have”. When Jim wakes, he thinks about Norman, reflecting sadly on his death.

When they set back out on the road, Jim tells Huck that he plans to go North to earn money so he can buy back his family, but Huck is free to do whatever he wants. He tells Huck to be white and keep his parentage a secret. Huck insists that Jim’s family will be free when the North wins the war, but Jim is skeptical.

Huck wants to go with Jim, but Jim tell him he can’t. Huck gets angry, but Jim recognizes that that feelings that Huck has for him are at the root of his anger. Huck calls Jim a liar and says that he “ain’t no n*gger”.

Pt 3, Chapter 2

Without a white person with him, Jim is relegated again to hiding. He knows he’ll have to stay in the woods to travel north. Jim goes back to the beach to see if Norman is there, but flees when Daniel Emmett points him out and accuses him of being a thief. The others on the beach are too tired to care, and Jim flees while Huck follows him.

Jim tells Huck again that he needs to go home, but Huck says that he needs him, a white-passing person even if he is a boy, and Jim knows he’s right.

Pt 3, Chapter 3

Jim and Huck try to catch a fish without a troutline by dogging for a catfish. In doing so, Jim ends up twisting in the Mississippi, and he imagines John Locke again. They discuss slavery, and John describes it as a state of war, which ends when the victor says it’s over. Jim then asks whether he has the “the right to fight back” and perhaps kill his enemy. He also asks if his enemies are “those who would kill me”.

Jim points out that in war that it’s generally assumed that people are permitted to fight back and kill their enemy. To the extent that being oppressed means that there is a constant state of war, a state of being conquered, it’s worth considering to what extent the oppressed has a right to fight back.

It’s something to consider both in terms of slavery, in war in general, but also when it comes to oppression in general.

Jim then asks if an enemy is someone who would kill him. If you consider the current state of things even in present day where your race can get you killed, it’s a question worth considering whether and to what extent someone has the right to fight back against others who would kill them.

Jim and Huck eventually get the large, 50-lb catfish under control. Huck is delighted about their catch. Jim thinks about how he’s given Huck a piece of knowledge about himself (that he’s his father) that Huck could’ve lived without, but Jim knew he needed to give Huck a choice.

Pt 3, Chapter 4

The huge catfish is too much for the two of them. They proceed down the along the river, though with less urgency because the people back there are too concerned with their own survival to be chasing them. Jim suggests they move inland and so they begin traveling during the day. They soon come across a pack of soldiers, and Huck wonders what it would be like to fight in a war.

Jim tells Huck they they’re going to take him home, and Jim is going to take his family and flee north. He says Huck can’t come with him because Huck is safe with Miss Watson and there’s no need for him to be on the run with them as runaway slaves. Huck argues that he should be with him if he’s his father, but Jim says that a father’s job is to keep him safe.

With them headed north, there was no point to trying to find a boat since they’d be fighting against the current. Instead, they continue on foot.

Pt 3, Chapter 5

Eventually, they reach Hannibal, Missouri again. Jim tells Huck to go on back to Miss Watson, but Huck stays with him. Jim goes back to his house, but other slaves — Doris, Katie and Cotton — are living there. Doris tells him that Sadie and Lizzie were sold. Jim cries, and Huck holds him.

Doris said they were sold together, and Jim pleads for Huck’s help. He tells Huck to go find out who they were sold to and where they went, and he suggests looking for a bill of sale. Huck considers that maybe Tom can help him.

Cotton and Doris warn that they’ll kill Jim if they find him. Jim then tells Huck to make up a story about how he survived and to tell them that Jim is dead. Cotton and Doris then let him into their house so he can sleep.

Pt 3, Chapter 6

Jim dreams about a meeting with Cunégonde, who tells him that his hope to find his family is a ruse. And she says that even if he’s not a slave after the war, he still won’t be free.

In Voltaire’s 1759 novel Candide, Cunégonde symbolizes the futility of human desire. She is the love interest of the main character, and he spends the novel determined to find and marry her. But by the end of the novel after all that she’s been through, she has lost her beauty and her temperament, and he only reluctantly agrees to marry her.

Jim likely dreams of Cunégonde because he feeling despairing. It’s a representation of his fears that he may not actually be able to find his family and be reunited happily with them.

Jim is awoken and told to hide when the overseer, Tom Hopkins, is headed toward the house. Other than Jim, only Katie is there, and Hopkins rapes her. Jim is unable to intervene, knowing that killing the overseer would only cause more grief for this family. Afterwards, Jim comes out of hiding and doesn’t say anything.

Afterwards, Jim decides to go back to hiding on Jackson Island for the sake of the safety of everyone involved. He knows that Huck will go check their cave if he’s unable to locate him. Returning to the cave, Jim feels for his pencil and thinks about how it survived.

The pencil represents a lot of things for Jim, it’s a representation of his dignity as a person in that it reminds him of his ability to write and give his life meaning. It’s a representation of something he taught himself, despite the station that the world has put him in. It also represents the survival of an important piece of himself despite all the difficulties that he’s been through. It represents him fighting for something despite the world telling him that he shouldn’t and can’t have it.

At many points in the novel, Jim reaches for the pencil and finds satisfaction and reassurance that it’s still there.

Pt 3, Chapter 7

For the next four days, Jim waits to hear back from Huck about the fate of his family. Then, one day, Hopkins ends up on the beach on the island, alone and drunk. Jim thinks about the rape, but also about him lynching a young slave who had looked at a white woman, with the rope left in the tree for years as a warning. Jim remembers Hopkins and his friends using the boy’s body for shooting practice.

Jim approaches him and takes the pistol lying next to him, comes up behind him and puts his arm around his neck. As he squeezes, he tells Hopkins to think about the women that he raped. Jim kills Hopkins, thinking about how he truly does not care that the man is dead. He then smashes a hole in the canoe, dumps him in the boat, sets it adrift and watches it go under.

Pt 3, Chapter 8

The the next days, Jim thinks with apathy about having killed Hopkins.

Finally, Huck shows up. Huck says that he told them he didn’t see Jim since he just couldn’t kill him off. He says he told them about the King and the Duke. Jim asks about his family, and Huck says they said something about the Graham farm, but he doesn’t know where it is. The overseer knows where Sadie and Lizzie went, but the overseer disappeared. Husk says that Judge Thatcher thinks the overseer got drunk and drowned while riding in a boat.

Internally, Jim chastises himself for letting his anger overwhelm him instead of thinking to question Hopkins.

Huck also warns Jim of what they’ll do to him if they find him. Jim then tells Huck to hurry back before people come looking for him.

Pt 3, Chapter 9

In the dead of night, Jim leaves Jackson Island. He sneaks into Judge Thatcher’s house to look for information on the whereabouts of his family, but doesn’t find anything. He’s interrupted by Judge Thatcher who catches him, but Jim points the pistol at him. He talks to him in plain English, which confuses Thatcher. Jim asks where his family was sent to. Thatcher responds that his family is in Edina, Missouri.

Jim then tells him to mark it on a map, but Edina is not on the map. Judge Thatcher explains that it’s a new settlement.

Jim then tells Thatcher to get in a canoe and start rowing. Thatcher tells Jim that he’s disappointed in him because he’s fed, sheltered and clothed him all this time. Jim responds that Thatcher is his slave now. As he rows, Jim tells him that he won’t feed into his fantasy of being a “good, kind master”, even if he’s gentle with a whip and offers some compassion when he rapes women.

With the sun rising, Jim knows they need to get out of sight. They get out of the boat, and Jim ties Thatcher to a tree. Jim leaves him there and takes with him a satchel. Thatcher asks what’s in it, and Jim says they’re books.

Pt 3, Chapter 10

From there, Jim goes by foot. He eventually comes to the edge of a cornfield and asks a black man working there about the Graham farm. The man says that Graham is a breeder, who breeds slaves and sells them. He points him in the direction of Edina.

Jim falls asleep and is awoken by two people, including the man he’d talked to before. They introduce themselves as April and Holly, and they offer him some food. April warns him that the Graham farm is a terrible place.

When he arrives, Jim finds the slave quarters, which is a ring of shacks. Four shackled men — Morris, Harvey, Llewelyn, Buck — confirm that he’s at the Graham farm. They say they think a woman arrived with a girl about two weeks ago. Jim takes a knife and undoes their shackles. He tells them that he’s going to take his family and run north. He says that they’re welcome to “die with me trying to find freedom or you can stay here and be dead anyway”.

Pt 3, Chapter 11

As they approach the women’s quarters, Jim formulates a plan. He distracts the overseer by lighting the cornfield on fire. The women start coming out of the huts, including Sadie and Lizzie, who are incredulous to see him. Jim instructs everyone to grab whatever food they can and says they’re all running north.

When a white man comes to confront Jim, Jim takes his pistol and shoots first. Then Jim carries Lizzie and they run.

Pt 3, Chapter 12

Some of them are caught and some of them are killed. Sadie, Lizzie and Jim make it to a town in Iowa. Morris and Buck make it there with them as well. The local sheriff asks if any of them are the runaway slave “Jim”, but Jim responds that his name is “James”.

By the end of the novel, James has fully shaken off his slave identity of Jim and reclaimed his identity as James.

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Bookshelf -- A literary set collection game