Socialism And The South In Mark Twain´S Huckleberry Finn

2237 words - 9 pages

In the 1850’s, life in the south was difficult for people of all kinds of people. Whites were expected to be the leaders of society, and were supposed to be educated and proper. Blacks were often enslaved, and they faced racism and discrimination wherever they went. Both groups often wanted to break free from the grip of the southern culture, but it was difficult to escape from social conventions and live by one’s morals. Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave Jim have to face all of these problems, but these dilemmas are never directly explained in text. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, symbolism is used to show the struggles between freedom, morals, and social conventions through the river, the land, and the raft. The river represents freedom and how difficult it is to attain. Land shows the world as a place where society judges what is normal and makes the people blind to morals. Likewise, the raft is a symbol of following one’s heart rather than obeying society. While all of these symbols have meaning, the river must be focused on the most, as it is the main setting of the story and represents the most important theme.
The Mississippi River is a symbol of freedom from racism and society, but it also shows how difficult freedom can be to achieve. When Huck escapes Pap, he takes a canoe down the river toward Jackson Island. He makes it there, but a ferry is searching for him, with everyone he knows on board. He has become free from Pap's brutal lifestyle, but people are still looking for him. This shows that the river offers emancipation for Huck, but it will take work for him to escape completely. While traveling down the river, Huck and Jim are aiming to get to Cairo, Illinois--the mouth of the Ohio river and their route to freedom. However, in chapter 15, they encounter a very heavy fog that makes them unable to see their surroundings. In their blindness, they pass Cairo and must continue to travel south. Even though Huck and Jim have escaped from the control of Pap and Miss Watson, respectively, they are not completely free. They can still obtain their independence, but they must travel further into slave territory. This shows that the river allows them to be free from some things, but it won’t let them completely escape. In chapter 19, Huck is searching for food, but while in the water, he notices something strange. “Just as I was passing a place where a kind of cow-path crossed the crick, here comes a couple of men tearing up the path as tight as they could foot it. I thought I was a goner, for whenever anybody was after anybody I judged it was me--or maybe Jim. I was about to dig out from there in a hurry, but they was pretty close to me then, and sung out and begged me to save their lives--said they hadn’t been doing nothing, and was being chased for it--said there was men and dogs a-coming. They wanted to jump right in, but I says--
Don’t you do it. I don’t hear the dogs and horses yet; you’ve got time to crowd through the...

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