Daniel Quarles, a Metaphor for Jim


John Quarles Farm in Florida, Missouri

Mark Twain´s old friend Daniel Quarles had a lasting impression on Mark Twain, the writer and Samuel Clemens, the human rights activist. Daniel Quarles was a middle age slave belonging to Mark Twain´s uncle, John Quarles. Young Mark Twain, at that time known as Clemens, got to know and admire Daniel Quarles during his voyages to his uncle John Quarle´s farm in Missouri. Daniel Quarles was an amazing story teller who fascinated all family members, especially Clemens. His stories were mostly about his travels with Uncle John Quarles as a slave. On these voyages Daniel Quarles and his wife Hanna, who was also a slave of Uncle Quarles, experienced many things, such as the endless walking to Missouri, which they told Clemens and his cousins. Mark Twain still in his adulthood admired the stories, he heard from Daniel Quarles and Hanna. The characteristics Mark Twain admired in Daniel Quarles were his “sympathies (which) were wide and warm and whose heart was honest and simple and knew no guile”(Autobiography 6). Daniel Quarles was a good friend and advisor, who he claims shaped his “strong like for the (Negro) race”. Throughout the book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” we, the reader, figure out theses democratic sympathies which are unusual for that time and region. Daniel Quarles affected Mark Twain in so many ways that Daniel Quarles became the inspiration for the character Jim in Mark Twain´s book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Uncle Dan´l in The Gilded Age. In “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Jim is an African American slave who was owned by Mrs. Watson. He runs away to Ohio after he hears that Mrs. Watson is planning on sealing him in Ohio. Later on, he meets Huck who also ran away from Mrs. Watson. They both pair up to experience and survive many adventures. All in all, Daniel Quarles was an important and influential character in Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens lives.

This entry was posted in Ken Burns Twain Biography 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Daniel Quarles, a Metaphor for Jim

  1. sashaderby says:

    I really like where you went with this blog and how you brought in Twain friend, Daniel Quarles. I was a little confused on how you tied this into meeting Huck. Finally, I think you can go a little bit more into detail about what specific fascinating stories he tells.

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