In Chapter 15 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, several death images strike the reader at once. What is the significance of these images?
Example:“I hadn’t no more idea which way I was going than a dead man.” "You feel like you are laying dead still on the water"
There are several different effects of this imagery. On the one hand, it represents the danger Jim and Huck face when they lose each other. Without the support and guidance of a true friend, either of them is subject to the will of others (Jim as an escaped slave, Huck as an orphaned child) & the forces of nature. Jim is especially vulnerable without Huck, as anyone can claim him or return him to the Widow. Huck too could be captured or forced to work, much like what happens later with the duke & dauphin. Without one another and the security their reationship provides, Huck and Jim would be "dead" in society.
Also, this death imagery foreshadows the upcoming violence and bloodshed in future chapters. At the end of Chapter 16, Huck will find himself at the Grangerfords. Here, he will find a shrine to an already deceased daughter, as well as never-ending preparations for violence. Indeed, Buck, who serves as a mirror of Huck, along with several other members of the family will be killed before Huck can escape. So these references to death in Chapter 15 serve as a precursor to the abundant violence and danger Huck will face soon.