In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn how is the sociological concept of symbolic interaction used?use of sociological concepts within The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The sociological concept of symbolic interaction, first discussed by George Blumer, himself a student of the ideas first advanced by George Herbert Mead, basically states: 

  1. "Human beings act toward things on the basis of the meanings they ascribe to those things"
  2. "The meaning of such things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with others and the society."
  3. "These meanings are handled in, and modified through, an interpretive process used by the person in dealing with the things he/she encounters."

The concept is used widely in Huckleberry Finn because the selves present in the book are often dependent on society's perception. You have the slave, the runaway orphan, and the kid from a 'good' family. Each of these characters, and all the others, operate from their position within society and use these social interactions to both define themselves and others. Virtually the entire relationship between Jim and Huck is based on symbolic interaction as the two forge a relationship first bound by the meaning they have ascribed to each other's position in the world.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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