Tom Sawyer's Degradation of Jim?

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EL266

First, I must congratulate myself for avoiding making some reference to that one Foster chapter on Shakespeare as the title "If its not Shakespeare, the bible, Chaucer, or Sophecles....It's Cervantes" would be a touch unwieldy, and launch me further down a slippery slope that would eventually leave me with "If its not Shakespeare, the bible, Chaucer, Sophecles, Cervantes, Dickenson, Poe, Clemens, Joyce, Hardy, Clavell, Hesse, Marlowe, Milton, Thoreau, Orwell, Voltaire, Kerouac, King, Hawthorne, Faulkner, Roseau, Hemmingway, Carver, Kesey, Seuss, Grisham, Lucas, Star Trek, The Simpsons or South Park....it's definately Christopher Moore."

Alright, Tom is definately a little Don Quixotian in the escape plans he comes up with, but I didn't really see it as "degradation" as much as delusion. Don Quixote surely had no special malice toward windmills, but rather required them to play a part in his fantasies. In the same way, Tom Sawyer's torment of Jim isn't due to his race, or status as a slave, but due to Tom's need for adventure. The only way in which this scenerio is affected by Jim's race or status is that he is sort of stuck humoring the boys, as he needs them to escape. Tom is just as willing to torment Huck and himself by climbing up lightening rods, rather than using the stairs, and attempting to dig (with case-knives initially) rather than just steal the key. Based on the fact that Tom only gives up on his "heroic" endeavors once experience (and blistered hands) show them to be impractical (and he rationalizes that he can stretch the truth about them later). Because he doesn't experience the torments he unleashes on Jim during his fantasy, he doesn't realize that they should probably likewise be discarded for fiction. 

For this reason, I feel there isn't really the big change in Huck suggested by the introduction. He has tended to just drift along, and go with the flow (to use some terrible puns) throughout the story, so it would seem uncharacteristic for him to avoid playing the perfect Sancho Panza to Tom's Don Quixote.    

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