What is an example of multilevel symbolism, imagery, or irony in Huck Finn?There are plenty of symbols, imagery, and irony in this novel, but it's hard to decode that from "multilevel sym,img,...

What is an example of multilevel symbolism, imagery, or irony in Huck Finn?

There are plenty of symbols, imagery, and irony in this novel, but it's hard to decode that from "multilevel sym,img, iny." For example Jim symbolizes the representation base of slaves, and the river symbolizes the journey of life for those two main characters. But what are good examples for multilevel symbolism, imagery, or irony?

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mariteach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My goodness, the river is so much more than just "the journey of life"!

For example, look at what life on the river is like for Huck and Jim vs what life is like on shore.  The river symbolises freedom, lack of burdens, commonalities. (It is on the river that Huck and Jim become and remain equals; on shore Jim is repeatedly reduced to chattel.)

The river is also illustrates how freedom and nature and the ideal life is polluted by shore/civilization - think of the floating house with the dead body, think of the steamboat: when elements of shore life are washed into the river, the river is polluted by the evils of "civilization."

The river represents escape, even when the "escape" doesn't happen (They miss Cairo in the fog!).

And in the end, even the river is not free enough of civilization, so Huck announces that he is going to "light out for the territories ahead of the rest" because Aunt Sally wants to adopt him and civilize him and he can't stand it. "I been there before" he explains.  So the river represents the sad fact that ultimately there is no escape from the corruptions of civilization... the "rest" will be out there in the territories soon enough.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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