New Cruelty

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Clemens - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Ch36-43)

"They hain't no right to shut him up! Shove!--and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! He ain't  no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth!" (pg:316)

 

This is Tom's quote, admitting that he has known all along that Jim is set free. After reading this line, I saw Tom as malicious and manipulating--he purposely put all the characters through hell just for an 'adventure.' The whole thing was a sham. What kind of children are these? Tom, especially. He will risk anything and everything to pursue the venture. I hate to say it, but Tom deserved getting shot in the leg. He even wears the bullet as a trophy now! He also offers Jim money compensation for his troubles. The sad part is that no one chastises Tom or tries to set him straight; he's already thinking of his next adventure with the 'injuns.'

 

Basically, this quote shows a new side of Tom: his true cruelty. He treats Jim almost no better than slaveholders do--he is just a plaything to him. By now, it seems as though Tom is beyond any type of reformation. He obviously does not have the morale or level of compassion of Huck. I liked that Huck decided to move on and reject becoming 'sivilized,' considering the actions of those people who claim to be civilized. It shows his growth as a character, emphasized by the use of Tom as a foil for him. 

3 Comments

I think our hate for Tom is necessary to really understand our love for Huck, and even Jim!
If Tom were not so cruel, we would not love the simplicity of Huck and how honest and sincere he is. Huck wanted to steal the keys and free Jim - simple. Tom obviously wanted nothing to do with that, which leads to the reader becoming frustrated with Tom and wishing he would just stop and listen.

You're absolutely right though, "it shows his growth as a character."

Jennifer Prex said:

I agree that Tom was definitely cruel in the way he treated Jim. I think that Jim wasn't his only "plaything." His family and all of the townspeople that came to deal with the situation were all manipulated for his adventure as well. The worst of them, however, was Jim, as Jim had more at stake than any of the others.

Jessica Pierce said:

It's just amazing that a young boy could manipulate so many people. Crazy!

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Jessica Pierce on New Cruelty: It's just amazing that a young
Jennifer Prex on New Cruelty: I agree that Tom was definitel
Heather Mourick on New Cruelty: I think our hate for Tom is ne
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