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An Analysis of the Topic of the Symbol of the Mississippi River for Huck and Jim in the Novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Word Count: 324
Symbols Symbols are objects characters figures or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts The Mississippi River - For Huck and Jim the Mississippi River is the ultimate symbol of freedom Alone on their raft they dont have to answer to anyone and the river carries them toward freedom for Jim toward the free states for Huck away from his abusive father and the restrictive sivilizing of St Petersburg The fluid fast-moving river reflects the characters at this point free from society Huck and Jim are in flux willing to change their attitudes about one another with little prompting As rivers must be however the Mississippi is sandwiched between two banks upon which lie the towns and villages that represent that which Huck and Jim are trying to escape Even early on the real world intrudes on the paradise of the raft the river floods bringing Huck and Jim into contact with criminals wrecks and stolen goods Most importantly a thick fog causes them to miss the mouth of the Ohio River which was to be their route to freedom In other words the river becomes something other than the inherently benevolent place Huck had thought it was As they move further south and the Duke and Dauphin invade the raft Huck and Jim must spend more time ashore Though it continues to offer a refuge from all of the trouble that the quartet encounters the river merely effects the exchange of one bad situation for another Each escape exists in the larger context of a continual drift southward toward the deep South and entrenched slavery In this transition from idyllic retreat to source of peril the river comes to mirror the complicated state of the South As their journey progresses the river which once seemed an Eden a source of freedom becomes merely a short-term means of escape that nonetheless pushes Huck and Jim ever further
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