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Huckleberry Finn Symbol Analysis
Transcript of Huckleberry Finn Symbol Analysis
By:Cemberli Grant & Nicole DiDomenico
What is a symbol?
A symbol is a literary device that contains multiple meanings. It represents something more than the literal meaning.
The Mississippi River
Jim is a symbol of the oppression of the south and the rebellion of the slaves. He also serves as an example of what the enslaved African American community was like. Twain uses Jim to elucidate to both Huck and to the world what slavery and the enslaved were actually like.
Pap is one of the only characters with no redeeming qualities. He symbolizes a path that could potentially be Huck's, given that Huck was raised by him. Pap represents the ignorance of society and its reluctance to accept change.
The Duke and the King
The duke and the king are examples of Twain's satire and mocking of Royalty. They also serve to show the gullibility of the Midwestern/Southern people and provide a perspective of how manipulative people without morals can be. In the novel, the men play a key role in Huck's growing conscience because they provide him with outlook of a life he decides he wants no part in.
Twain's use of diction and language in the novel is solely to accurately capture the way the southerners spoke. Jim, Huck and Pap give the best perspective on this. The purpose of writing the story in this way was to capture authenticity in a way that had never been done before.
"And I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their'n. It don't seem natural but I reckon it's so" (Twain 32. 226).
"...They said he was a p'fesser in a college and could talk all kinds of languages,and knowed everything...Thinks I,what is the country a-coming to?"(Twain 6. 29)
"...both of them took on about that dead tanner like they’d lost the twelve disciples. Well, if ever I struck anything like it, I’m a n-----. It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race."(Twain 34,235)
" I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly—Tom’s Aunt Polly, she is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before. "(Twain 1.1 )
The Mississippi River is a symbol Huck's journey into adulthood as a whole as well as their freedom. It has its twists and turns, but it helps build his conscience and ability to make decisions on his own. The river flowing represents Huck moving forward in life as well as he and Jim's freedom that they wouldn't have in society.
"I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out in the middle of the Mississippi," (Twain, 172).
The Raft represents Huck and Jim's separation from society and freedom. While on the raft Huck is able to separate societies opinions and create his own. The raft floats freely without a connection to society where Huck can see Jim as an equal.
"We said there warn't no home like the raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't.You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft," (Twain, 173).
“You better a blame’ sight give YOURSELF a good cussing, for you’re the one that’s entitled to it most. You hain’t done a thing from the start that had any sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with that imaginary blue-arrow mark."(Twain 30. 209)
“WORK? Why, cert’nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. But it’s too blame’ simple; there ain’t nothing TO it. What’s the good of a plan that ain’t no more trouble than that? It’s as mild as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn’t make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory.”(Twain 34. 235)
Tom stands for the romantic qualities of the story. He exaggerates his stories to unrealistic circumstances making it easy to see that he is fabricating his experiences. Also, he always wants to be the center of the attention between his friends.
"Now, we will start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood," (Twain, 11).
Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Random House, 1996. Print.
Article 1: Hagg, Melissa. "Examining the River in Terms of Symbolism in "The Adventured of Hucklberry Finn"" MelissaHagg. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar.
Article 2: Perels, Karen. "Symbolism in Huckleberry Finn." Bright Hub Education, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2015.