Critics suggest that there is a somewhat dysfunctional relationship between young males and their "supposed" positive role models. I somewhat agree with this statement; however I do see some exceptions. For example, a positive role model to Huckleberry Finn is Jim, a runaway nigger servant he befriends. Also, the Widow Douglas, who adopts Huck in an attempt to reform him, tries to be a positive role model. However, Huck's own father, Pap, is a perfect example of why the statement is sometimes correct. There is not always a dysfunctional relationship between young males and their "supposed" positive role models, hence Jim and the Widow Douglas; unfortunately there is always the exception, that being Pap, Huck's father.
Jim is a remarkable man of intelligence and compassion. Huck and Jim have a wonderful relationship. Jim becomes a surrogate father, as well as a friend, to Huck, taking care of him without being intrusive or smothering. The significant age difference between Jim and Huckleberry does not change the fact that their relationship is more like "father and son" than friends. Jim seems to become an "unexpected" mentor to Huck. The stereotype for their situation would be "a young male with nigger servant, waiting on his every need," but really they have mutual respect for one another. The reality is, Jim and Huckleberry care for each other very much.
The Widow Douglas adopted Huck at the beginning of the book. She is a kind but stifling woman who lives with her self-righteous sister, Miss Watson. She is Huck's "mother" in this book. The Widow Douglas, meanwhile, is somewhat gentler in her beliefs and has more patience with the mischievous Huck. When Huck acts in a manner contrary to societal expectations, it is the Widow Douglas whom he fears disappointing. She tries to give Huck a new life of cleanliness, manners, church, and school. However, Huck's yearn for adventure and his wild hearted spirit resists all of the Widow's efforts.