The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Why don't the townspeople hang Jim?

Chapter 38/39

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Everyone wants to hang Jim as an example of what happens to runaway slaves (even though Jim was free to begin with). The doctor stops them and tells his story that Jim stepped out of hiding to help "sid" with his leg. Jim sacrificed his freedom for a white boy. Everyone is so grateful that they decide not to kill Jim. Unfortunately they lock him back in the shed.