The novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, is a story of complex and evolving relationships. The central relationship of the story is that of a runaway slave, Jim, and a young and adventurous boy, Huck. In the beginning of the story, Jim's role is small and insignificant, yet by the last pages he is unquestionably one of the most important characters. The reader is able to watch Jim develop and grow as a person. At the beginning of the novel, Jim is portrayed as a simple-minded slave who is ignorant and superstitious. By the end of the story, however, Twain has revealed Jim's intelligence, sensitivity, and overwhelming goodness, and thus shows he is a dynamic and complex character. What is more, Twain is indicating that Jim, who as a black man would be considered inferior by all of white society, is in fact morally superior to virtually every other character in the story.
In the opening chapters of the novel the reader views Jim as a rather flat character. In these pages one hears almost exclusively about Jim's various superstitions. Huck tells a few stories involving Jim and these superstitions, such as "Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil gave to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it".",(6). This passage introduces the idea of Jim as a simple-minded individual. It portrays him as ignorant and naive, and shows he has a quirky belief in ridiculous and strange superstitions. At this point in the story, this is how Twain wants to portray Jim. Twain in fact is revealing how Jim is perceived (because of what he is expected to be) by white society.
By the middle section of the novel it becomes apparent that Jim has much greater knowledge and depth than is initially shown. Through his conversations and dealings with Huck, Jim is revealed to be caring, intelligent, and perceptive.