“PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” This quote is from Mark Twain at the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and it shows Mark Twain’s humor, while also setting the tone for the book. This book was published in the 1880’s, which was around twenty years after the civil war, but it showed there were still signs of discrimination against the African Americans. The main themes of this story are racism and slavery, superstitions, and the issue of conforming to society to please others.
The theme of the story largely revolves around the ideas of racism and slavery and is conveyed through Huck’s relationship with Jim, who is a runaway slave. Huckleberry Finn was helping Jim run away because he found him on an island and believed Jim was a person just like everyone else, he was equal. Jim ran away from his owner, Miss Watson, because she was contemplating selling him for 800 dollars down the Mississippi River. Jim ran away to get money to buy his family out of slavery. Other people treated Jim as property and tried to turn him in for a reward. At the end of the story it turns out Jim had been freed because Miss Watson had died and gave him his freedom in her will. Tom Sawyer said "They hain't no RIGHT to shut him up! SHOVE!—and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! He ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth!" (Twain, chapter 42)
Racism and slavery were a very large part of the American culture in the 1800’s. Since it was part of the culture, not everyone that supported it was truly a bad person; it was just how they had been raised to think. The society revolved around the need for slaves to help the economy prosper and the country grow. Huck’s beliefs about slavery are similar to most people’s beliefs today because most people believe everyone should be treated equally. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”
Another important theme of Huckleberry Finn is superstitions. Superstitions are a large part of the story because when Huck and Jim are together they are usually calm and collected, but when they encounter something that is superstitious, they become irrational. There are several examples of this happening including when Huck flicks the spider off his shoulder into the candle and it burns, so he believes it is going to give him bad luck. Another example is when Huck spills salt at breakfast and went to throw some over his left...