Essay On Huck Finn Superstition

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Summary: In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, superstition plays an important role that resurfaces several times throughout the book. The power that superstition holds over Huck and Jim, two otherwise rational characters, demonstrates their childlike nature despite their apparent maturity. In addition, superstition foreshadows the plot at several key junctions, and in the end, superstition is shown to be believable through Huck and Jim's adventure.


Superstition is a word that is often used to explain bad luck, misfortune, the super natural, and the world that is not known. In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, superstition played an important role that resurfaces several times throughout the book. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an ongoing adventure with Huck Finn and his journey to his personal freedom. Superstition is first introduced in Chapter One with a spider crawling on Huck Finn and others all through the novel. Generally, both Huck and Jim are very rational characters, yet when they encounter anything slightly superstitious, irrationality takes over. The power superstition holds over the two demonstrates that Huck and Jim are child-like despite their apparent maturity. In addition, superstition foreshadows the plot at several key junctions. For instance, when Huck spills salt, Pap returns, and when Huck touches a snakeskin with his...

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This section contains 1,263 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)

View a FREE sample

Folk Beliefs in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Folklore holds an important place in American literature of the 1880's and 1890's. In these decades a strong movement among folklorists to record the beliefs and lore of former slaves was accompanied by a literary counterpart. Writers like Joel Chandler Harris and Charles Chesnutt created a body of work which incoporated these beliefs and tales.

Although The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is not a story based on a folk tale in the way that, for example, Harris' Uncle Remus stories are, folklore does play an important role in the narrative and in our understanding of Huck.

Huck's folk beliefs act in several ways. From his point of view, they are the catalyst for his adventures. Huck killing the spider and later spilling the salt cellar bring about the event - Pap's return - which leads to his running away and all that follows.

In addition to the role they play in the plot, folk beliefs in Huck Finn provide us with essential information about Huck and his relationship with Jim. For Huck, who does not have the support of a family or home and the traditional values these can provide, his folk beliefs become the solid foundation he lacks. They also are a connection with the only true family Huck has: Jim. Like the raft, these folk beliefs are a common ground shared by the boy and the slave and become both an equalizing and a binding force.

What follows is a brief examination of folk beliefs in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Because they provide examples of similar beliefs, texts of stories by writers Joel Chandler Harris, Charles Chesnutt, and folklorist Mary Alicia Owen are also included in this site. For further reading on this subject, please see the list of sources.


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