One of the most celebrated passages in the writings of Mark Twain describes the episode where Huckleberry Finn, in helping the runaway slave Jim to freedom, is suddenly seized with guilt and almost demoralized by the enormity of his behavior. “It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest,” he says,” it stayed with me, and scorched me more and more… I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I was dead.” And when Jim reveals his plan to earn money to buy his wife and children, plans which include getting “an Ab’litionist to go and steal them” if their master wouldn’t sell them, Huck is horrified. “It most froze me to hear such talk,” Huck says. “Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flatfooted and saying he would steal his children—children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know: a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm.”
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $35 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.