Fathers are an important aspect of every person’s life and have a great influence their children. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a novel by Mark Twain, Huck in a way has two fathers. While Pap Finn is Huck’s real father, Jim also becomes a father figure to Huck because Jim is Pap’s foil. He becomes what Pap is unable to be by protecting him and teaching him right from wrong. While Pap Finn and Jim both become fathers to Huck, they influence Huck in many different ways. Pap lets Huck get away with bad habits and Huck had even stopped cursing, but now he “took to it again because pap hadn’t no objections” (34).
When Pap first finds out Huck goes to school, he says, “you drop that school you hear? I’ll learn people to bring up a boy to put on airs over his own father and let on to be better’n what he is” (29). Pap thwarts Huck from getting ahead in life, just because he can’t read or write himself. Pap also wastes much of his life and money on alcohol. When Pap hears that Huck has six thousand dollars, he immediately finds Huck to get it from him. When Pap threatens to beat Huck, he “borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, and pap took it and got drunk” (31).
He also teaches Huck things like stealing, and says to “take a chicken when you have a chance” and that it isn’t “no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back, sometime” (76). Jim however is very genuine and honest. When Huck and Jim separate from each other in the fog, Jim becomes terrified, but when he finds Huck next to him safe he is very happy and grateful. However when Huck starts to play a trick on him saying he was there the whole time he says “trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes?
em ashamed” (98). Huck then feels very guilty and apologizes. Jim teaches him right from wrong, and Huck knows now not to hurt people’s feelings. Jim, unlike Pap, values his family as well. Jim is always “thinking about his wife and his children? and he was low and homesick”, which teaches Huck that black people and white people aren’t very different, and that Jim “cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n” (167). Huck also has a choice of giving Jim up to his rightful owner or helping him escape slavery.
Huck finally decides that he’ll “go to hell” if that is what it takes to save Jim. Because of what he has learned from Jim he disregards what society has taught him and follows his gut to save Jim (227). Because Pap and Jim are so unlike, they teach Huck many different things and have a great impact on him. Pap and Jim treat Huck very differently as well. Pap constantly abuses Huck, and beats him for no reason, and “by-and-by pap got too handy with his hick’ry” and Huck had welts all over (34).
Even when Pap finds a picture that Huck got for doing well in school he tears it up and says, “I’ll give you something better-I’ll give you a cowhide” (29). Jim however protects Huck. When Huck and Jim are floating along the river, they come across a house. Huck’s father was dead in the house, but Jim finds Pap first and covers him up and tells Huck to “come in? but doan’ look at his face-it’s too gashly”, without telling Huck who the dead man was (60). Jim wanted to protect Huck from seeing his father dead, despite how Pap treated Huck.
Jim is also very grateful of Huck. Jim reminds Huck many times that he is “de on’y white genlman dat kep’ his promise”, and that Huck is his best and only friend (102). Pap Finn and Jim both affect Huck differently because of the way they treat him. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, both Pap and Jim can be seen as Huck’s fathers. Because they are so different, they have very different influences on Huck by teaching him different things and by the way they treat him.