Symbols and Symbolism in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn – Symbolism of The River

Rivers flow freely, and smoothly, and people usually go to the river to escape from society and civilization. They feel free with the nature surrounding them, which allows them to rest, and relax in peace. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Twain uses symbolic importance of the Mississippi River. Throughout the story, the Mississippi River plays an important symbolic figure, and significance to the story's plot. For Huck and Jim, the river is a place for freedom and adventure. Mark Twain uses the Mississippi River to symbolize freedom, adventure, and comfort.

For Jim he has nothing else to lose. He runs away from Widow Douglas's house because he finds out that she is going to sell him off to a plantation in the South. ."..I hear ole missus tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans..." If Jim was sold to Orleans, he would be farther away from the free states, and it would be harder for him to get back with his family. Therefore, Jim escapes to the Mississippi River. He is a runaway slave and there is a $300 reward out for him. His goal is to reach Cairo, and Huck is going to help him get there. "Dah's Cairo!."..When he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children..." For Jim, the river represents freedom and poverty. Huck agrees to help Jim by following along on his journey to Cairo. Jim depends on the Mississippi River and believes it will lead him to his finding of his family. Thus, the Mississippi River symbolizes freedom.

Huck follows along with Jim down the Mississippi for an adventure. "I reckoned I would slip over the river and find out what was going on...couldn't I put on some of them old things and dress up like a girl?" Huck and Jim has been on the river for couple of days and Huck wants to know what's going around town. He dresses up like a girl and goes to a house near the Illinois shore, but the woman in the house suspects him to be a boy and he gets caught.
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