Someone once said, “Your real father isn’t the person who gave life to you; it’s the man who raised you, cared for you, and looked out for you no matter what. ” In Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one can presume that, Jim is a more suitable father figure in Huck’s life when compared to his actual father. Pap treats Huck like he’s his own slave, whereas Jim treats Huck with compassion and genuinely cares for him. Throughout the beginning of the story when Pap is present all he does is uses Huck for his money, labor, and even just someone to beat when he gets drunk.
On the other hand Jim takes Huck under his wing and does the best he can to help him grow in life while shielding him from danger whenever possible. The difference between the two is very evident and shows that Jim is really the one who steps up and takes the father role in Huck’s life. In the beginning of the novel there’s talk that Huck’s father, Pap, is back and as Huck is walking up to the house he notices boot prints near the house. In one of the heels he notices the all too familiar, two crossed nails, and instantly knows his father is there.
The first thing Huck does when he sees this is goes to the judge and gives him all his money. He does this knowing that the first thing that his father is going to be asking him for is all the money he has. When Huck shows up in his room later that night right after he shuts the door he turns around and sees his Pap sitting here. “I used to be scared of him all the time, he tanned me so much. I reckoned I was scared now too…”(Twain Pg. 18) First off one can see that Pap isn’t the best “dad” in the world if his own son used to be terrified of him because of the beatings he is used to receiving.
Then after sitting here just staring at each other Pap begins nagging him about his “nice clothes” and how Huck obviously thinks he’s better than his Pap. “You’ve put on considerable many frills since I been away. I’ll take you down a peg before I get done with you…You think you’re better’n your father, now, don’t you? ” (Pg. 19) With this it’s quite noticeable that instead of any decent father being happy or even proud that his son is making something of himself, Pap is considerably jealous of Huck and how well he is doing in his life without him.
After some time Pap snatched up Huck and took him to an old log cabin hidden in a well in a thick woods and locked him up in there with him. One night when Pap got drunk he thought that Huck was the Angel of Death and chased him around the house trying to kill him until he had no energy left and had to go to sleep and at that point Huck’s life was spared and he made the decision that it was time to get out of there. So as one can see, it’s obvious that Pap is not in any way able to be considered a father figure in Huck’s life.