How does Huck's journey in the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn add meaning to the book as a whole?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Mark Twain the Mississippi River held much sentimental meaning; in addition, this river is truly one of great significance as it is a main artery in the United States, transporting goods from the top of the country down to the Gulf of Mexico. In Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck and Tom's journey down the Mississippi separates them from the land and society. As a result, whether Jim is a slave matters not on the raft; he and Huck are equals. Their friendship grows and Huck recognizes Jim's humanity and genuineness of emotion. Further, Huck expresses his contentment as they float downriver, Moreover, his feeling for the natural beauty of the river lends the novel an almost mythological aspect.

It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed, only a little kind of a low chuckle. ...
Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights....The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and it was like the whole world lit up.

There are no conflicts with society while Huck and Jim are on the raft. They are simply friends and equals. This situation suggests that it is society that causes the many conflicts in which Huck and Jim both become engrossed when on land.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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