Huck Finn Essay

Submitted By nwer
Words: 1300
Pages: 6

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is recognized as Mark Twain’s paramount novel, as well as one of the finest American stories. Twain, formerly known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, grew up along the Mississippi River in Missouri around Civil War time. Before becoming an author, Twain originally was a steamboat pilot and navigated through the Mississippi. The escapades he encountered while piloting became inspiration for the stories he wrote later in life. During Twain’s era, America was in disagreement about the morality of slavery. Some Americans, mainly Southerners, believed in slavery wholeheartedly while Northerners believed it isn’t proper to own another human being. In the novel, the main character Huckleberry “Huck” Finn was a fourteen-year-old boy who grew up in Missouri with his careless alcoholic father, Pap. Huck became fed up with Pap’s poor decorum, so Huck faked his own death and escaped down the Mississippi River. On his voyage, he stumbled upon the runaway slave Jim who he knew from his hometown. The pair quickly became friends and experienced many remarkable adventures together, such as when two conmen joined their journey and created various problems for them. Ultimately, Huck and Jim’s goal was to get Jim to escape to the free state of Ohio and become a free man. Symbolism and the coming-of-age of young Huck Finn mark two important themes in the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Superstition plays a role in the characters’ lives, but wields a negative impact as it forces them to believe they cannot change their fate. To begin with, our earliest superstition in the novel occurs the first night Huck is at the widow’s house, “Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle…I didn’t need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck…” (3). In this situation, Huck’s superstitious mindset causes him to automatically believe an unlucky event is bound to occur. Just prior to this, Huck was already feeling as if he was all alone in the world due to embarking upon a new life. This superstition made him feel additional fear about his new life with the widow and negatively affected Huck’s outlook on his future. The concern of expecting bad luck, though impractical, will haunt Huck until he experiences an event that signifies good luck. Secondly, Huck decides to consult Miss Watson’s slave, Jim, in order to acquire answers to why Pap was back in town, “…Jim had a hair-ball as big as your fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit inside of it and it knowed everything” (17). It’s ridiculous that Huck would actually take advice from a hairball. Being that superstitious alters one’s brain impelling them to believe everything they hear. That state of mind is dangerous. It’s dangerous because if Huck was told a bad fortune, he would become absolutely petrified with fear of the future! He would continue to worry about his ruined fate because he believes he cannot change it. Huck would possess endless negative feelings all caused by an inanimate object claimed to have supernatural abilities. Finally, Huck is asking Jim why they were ironically experiencing good luck even though Huck handled a snakeskin, an extremely unlucky object. Jim responds to Huck, “‘Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don’t you git too peart. It’s a-comin’. Mind I tell you, it’s a-comin’’” (52). Those are the words of an extraordinarily superstitious individual. It’s unfortunate that Jim has a complaisant attitude and accepts he is unable to control what’s in store for him. Jim’s skewed outlook on life caused him to continually assume something terrible was yet to occur. He believed fate cannot be changed after executing a deed that according to old wives tales causes unfortunate luck. That negativity affected each of Huck and Jim’s lives because they never strived to attempt