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Huckleberry Finn

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River of Life and Realism in Huck Finn

In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses the river to symbolize life and the adventures of Huck to show the realism in the novel. These two elements are shown throughout the book in many different ways. Sometimes one would have to really sit down and think about all the symbolism in this classic novel.
T. S. Eliot stated, “We come to understand the River by seeing it through the eyes of the Boy; but the Boy is also the spirit of the River'; (333). Throughout Huck’s adventure, as he and Jim are traveling down the river on a raft to Cairo, we see the admiration Huck has for the river. He sets it up to be respected as he would a very dangerous but sincere person. He knows everything of which the river is capable. The river has only to desire something to happen and it will. The different currents and movements are the various personalities of the river. No one can predict the next mood that it might take on. For this reason, Huck chooses to admire the powerful and dangerous body and respect it for its personality(338-46).
The only mode of transportation that Huck and Jim have to flow down the mighty Mississippi is a raft . The river controls the voyage of Huck and Jim. It will not let them land at Cairo, where Jim could have been free. It then separates them and leaves Huck at the Grangerford house for a while. Finally, it reunites the two friends and presses upon them the company of the king and duke (Eliot 332). It is their means of escape. “... ‘stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I’d go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good...'; (31). Huck can always depend on the river to take him anywhere he wants to go.
Every move Huck makes seems to get him into some kind of trouble. No matter what the problem, he always goes to that monstrous body of water to solve the mess that he is in. The two friends use the river to slide away from trouble. “...Jim goes again to the raft and lets her go a-sliding down the river';(Angell 131). An example of how Huck uses the river as a safeguard is when he tells Pap he fell in the river in order to escape a great amount of abuse (31). Also, the river repre...

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...ealism that was in the world when Twain wrote the book and that same realism is still around today. Even though some times people want to deny it for fear of reality.

Works Cited
Angell, Roger. “Huck, Continued.'; The New Yorker. New York: June 26, 1995:131.
Blair, Walter. “The Grangerfords.'; Mark Twain and Huck Finn. London: Union Press, 1962:199-203.
Blair, Walter. “So noble and so beautiful a book.'; Mark Twain and Huck Finn. London, England: Union Press, 1962:42,74-9.
Budd, Louis T. “Realism in Huck Finn.'; New essays on Adventures of Huck Finn. Cambridge University Press, 1985:36,102112.
Eliot, T. S. “An Introduction to Huckleberry Finn.'; Form and Symbol: The River and the Shore. New York: Chanticleer Press, 1950:332-33.
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.
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