Huck Finn Essay

Submitted By Vieraan1
Words: 1547
Pages: 7

The Great Mississippi so Much More Than a River In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain depicts the Mississippi river as an escape from conformity. This is essential because it also represents freedom, which creates the façade of easy living for Huck and Jim while on the river. The water way is free of oppression and makes all who travel on it equal, forgetting class or race. The Mississippi river reveals all that is wrong and unjust in American civilization. The river does this in such a way of blindfolding its riders to imagine, it is a place of tranquility, meanwhile the shorelines that parallel this waterway are tainted by depravity. These unjust situations are an array of difficulties, from slavery to corruption and brainwashing od conformity in regards to race The significance of the river cannot be pin pointed specifically, however it can be revealed through the experiences of its riders. In the beginning, Twain begins to craft his notions of freedom, by describing the spirit of the river life. For Twain , life on the river is characterized in part by a slower movement of time. Time for Twain, is understood in terms of constant, steady, and faithful movement. Huck explains, “Two or three days and nights went by”(Twain 1356). Usually, two or three days when running away seems like an eternity but for Huck, “they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely”(p. 1356). He is relaxed on the river and shows this by his ability to lose track of time and watch it slip by. Freedom therefore is understood in terms of one’s ability to lose themselves in the steady rhythm of life. Rather than the mastery of slavery or the oppression of economics, Twain’s understanding of freedom, is shaped by a faith that time carries individuals and communities towards some better place. This is not to suggest that time leads people into happy endings, but rather, meaningful ones. Huck and Jim are ironically headed towards the hostile south, but in the end, the meaning of the journey is what satisfies the yearnings for freedom. As the book continues, Twain furthers his notion of freedom through the mundaneness of river life. That is to say, Twain doesn’t describe any sort of extravagance or illusions of grandeur in the river life. Huck describes his daily routine in the following: “Soon as night was most gone, we stopped navigating and tied up-nearly always in the dead water under a tow-head; and then cut young cottonwoods and willows and hid the raft with them. Then we set out the lines. Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up and cool off”(p. 1357). This also supports the conception that on the main land the twosome would be spotted, hence covering the raft. Conversely, when Huck and Jim cool off by taking a dip in the river they spend little to no energy in trying to disguise themselves, as they had the raft on the shorelines. In a capitalist age where freedom is often obscured by the excesses of liberty, Twain captures the essence of freedom in the characters simple existence and satisfaction in the river life. Rather than seeking the luxury of warm plantation homes, they are experiencing the simple joy of mundane living, the happiness that flow from being free to be. Further, it seems that Twain’s notion of freedom in the motif of river affords some subversion and stealth. It would seem as though there would be a little bit more tension in a situation where a runaway is hiding out whole days at a time, but the river plays such a role as if when he is in the river he cannot be spotted. This is also evident when he lays down in the raft he becomes “invisible” to the world. Freedom for Twain is thus mediated through the protection and ability to subversively or stealthily enter contexts of sociocultural hostility. If Huck and Jim were to travel via roadway toward the south they would encounter many more difficulties, compared to the river, where it written as a means of escape for those who need to…