What does the destruction of the “naturally” created raft by the “industrially” created steamboat symbolize in Huck Finn?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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You have just about answered this question yourself by the way you ask it.  This incident symbolizes the way in which industry and technology are taking over the world in Twain's time.

During the time that Twain was writing, the US was becoming much more industrial and technologically advanced.  This development was changing society in a major way and was in the process of killing off a fair amount of the rural society that Huck lives in.

I think that there is one other thing going on here.  In this book, society is the problem and Huck's own natural values are really better than society's values.  By having this accident happen, Twain may also be pointing out how society's values are trying to crush Huck's natural values.

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