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Man vs. Nature
Transcript of Man vs. Nature
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
What is Man vs. Nature?
Man vs Nature is the conflict between a character and the forces of nature.
Can be internal and or external
Forces of nature can include weather such as a storm, or animals within the characters surroundings e.g., a hunter and a lion
The Mississippi River
The Mississippi River acts as a driving force in this novel, especially considering that a substantial portion of the plot is dependent on the existence of it. The Mississippi river acts as a pathway to freedom. However, it also acts as an obstacle that Huck and Jim have to overcome in order to reach that freedom. The many life-threatening situations - such as the boat drifting away with the rapids, the fogs covering up Huck and Jim’s vision, and as a result missing the mouth of the Mississippi - are all results of the monstrous nature of the river. Huck and Jim stay safe and alive by staying as close as possible to the raft, but that doesn’t always work. More than once they got separated from the raft, and at one point the raft even breaks (however that’s not exactly a result of the force of nature). Huck and Jim both know that the road to freedom available is the river, so they forcibly learn to adapt to the harsh conditions found in the river.
One Foggy Night
In chapter 9 Huck and Jim are approaching the Ohio River. One night it was very foggy and Huck got separated from Jim, and the raft. Huck tries to paddle back but the fog was too thick to see through and so he lost all sense of direction. Eventually Huck meets up with Jim again. Jim was asleep during that time and when he woke up Huck told him that it was just a dream that they had been separated. Jim noticed that the raft had some debris and tree branches stuck and knew that they did in fact get separated and became a little mad at Huck for his trickery. This is a good and bad conflict. It is good because Huck was faced with the question of whether to abandon Jim or not, and he chose to go back to his friend. It is bad because they missed Cairo in the fog.
Jim Predicts a Storm
“And, besides, he said them little birds had said it was going to rain, and did I want the things to get wet?” As we read further in the chapter, we can see that his superstitions became reality, “Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it begun to rain…” – Jim
A rainstorm (natural force) played a big role in the development of Huck’s and Jim’s adventure. If there was no storm, we could say that the journey would have had a different ending. However, the rainstorm had a bad and good impact on Huck’s and Jim’s adventure to freedom.
The good: the rainstorm created a massive flood which prevented the people or “slave hunters” from searching for Jim, giving them more time to plan out their route along through the Mississippi River. Because of the storm Huck and Jim were able to catch part of a raft which they would use the rest of their journey.
The bad: the rainstorm stalled their refuge to freedom and it cause them to miss the Ohio River (freedom) if they had arrived there earlier.
Nature takes a toll on Huck and Jim throughout their adventures along the Mississippi River. They have to battle the forces of the Mississippi and a foggy night causes them to miss Cairo and the Ohio River (freedom). Man vs. Nature is prevalent in this novel and serves as a conflict for Huck and Jim. In the end they either overcome these conflicts or find a way to get around them and become free. In this novel it is fair to say that Man won but Nature did not lose.