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What are two symbols in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain?

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mhmharper | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM via web

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What are two symbols in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain?

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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:22 PM (Answer #1)

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The most salient symbol in the novel is the boat. Huck and Jim are repeatedly delivered from trouble by the lucky presence of a boat. This is true of their canoe (the first of which Huck stole from Pap Finn) and of their raft (which is damaged in a storm then repaired). 

The raft becomes a new world for Huck and Jim, where they can be themselves and make up their own rules by which to live.

The boat is a symbol of freedom and rescue, of solace and of story. It is worth noting that the boat goes everywhere than Huck and Jim go and is almost like a companion on their journey, literally moving them through the story. 

The other force that moves them is the river. The Mississippi River is a symbolic presence in the novel as well.

The Mississippi River itself serves as a kind of no-man's land in the text, a place outside of society that is governed by different rules.

On the river, Jim is a free man, in actual fact if not in legal terms. The power of the river forces Jim and Huck to change plans repeatedly and to adjust to the whim and will of nature. This takes them outside of their familiar geography and into many adventures. 



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