The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Why is Jim adressed like a sick Arab?

Chapter 23/24

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To avoid tying Jim up in ropes during the day (since he has been pretending to be a runaway slave), the Duke figures out a better solution. He paints Jim in blue and makes him wear a costume. Then, he writes a sign that reads, "Sick Arab - but harmless when not out of his head." Jim is happy that he can now move around.