Why Huck Finn is Superstitious

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Why Huck Finn is Superstitious

"Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of me" (1204).

"Pap always said it warn't no harm to borrow things, if you was meaning to pay them back, sometime; but the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it" (1241).

Why is Huck Finn so superstitious? Has Huck's father had a large influence on Huck?

Huck Finn is very superstitious. While he doesn't "take much stock" in prayer, the Bible, heaven, or hell, he strongly believes in signs of bad luck. I think that Huck Finn is so superstitious because every time he has some bad luck, he considers it proof that his superstitions are real. These incidents of misfortune happen randomly, interspersed with good luck, but Huck is convinced that his superstitions foretell the bad luck. The superstitions seem to always come true, so Huck puts his faith in them. He doesn't have the same faith in religion or prayer, because he sees no evidence that they affect him. He doesn't believe in anything based on faith alone.

When Miss Watson tells Huck that if he prays every day he'll get whatever he asks for, Huck informs the reader, "I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't any good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn't make it work" (1208). Huck concludes, ". . . I couldn't see any advantage about it [prayer] . . . so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it any more, but just let it go" (1208-09). This shows that Huck does not "take stock" in anything that doesn't immediately affect him. However, when Huck accidentally flicks a spider into a candle, which is supposedly a sign of extreme bad luck, he is afraid and tries to ward off the bad luck. Also, when Huck dumps the salt-cellar over at breakfast and Miss Watson prevents him from throwing some over his shoulder, he believes that this means he will have great misfortune.

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