Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Jim Intelligent?

Before someone can answer the question, “Is Jim Intelligent?” one needs to determine what their definition of intelligence is. Recently, in psychology class, we had a unit on the different theories behind intelligence and what most individuals believe being “smart,” is defined as. Most psychologists believe in different facets to intellect. According to Robert Sternberg, the three forms of intelligence are analytic, creative, and practical.

Analytic intelligence is defined as “problem-solving” intelligence. Jim demonstrates analytic intelligence when, as Reena pointed out, reasoning his escape from Miss Watson’s house. Jim is presented with a problem of when and how to escape, and he successfully solves his problem by analyzing his situation (“I knowed ole missus en de widder wuz goin' to start to de camp-meet'n' right arter breakfas' en be gone all day.”) and coming up with a winning solution (Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river road, en went 'bout two mile er more…”) (Twain 44).

Creative intelligence is defined as the ability to deal with new situations by drawing on old knowledge. Jim uses creative intelligence when persuading the Grangerford servants not to steal his raft. Jim says, “En I ast ‘m if dey gwyne to grab a young white genlman’s propaty” (Twain 112). Jim knows about the fear black slaves have of punishment by white men and of their power of them, and Jim uses this to his advantage.

Practical intelligence is better known as “street smarts,” and the way you are able to adapt to your environment. Jim demonstrates this best when quickly learning how to cover his tracks, travel safely during night, catch (or steal) food, live on the river, and disguise himself when necessary. Although Jim may not possess obvious intelligence in educational areas and “book smarts,” Jim’s instinctual knowledge proves his high aptitude.

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