The Symbolic Meaning of the River in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain uses the Mississippi River as a symbolic figure throughout the story. The river has much symbolic meaning, and is very significant to the story’s plot (Hagg 2). On the river, Huck and Jim witness life and death, tragedy and comedy, strife and peace (Wehrle 1). The river, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, symbolizes freedom and the journey of life.
For Huck and Jim, the Mississippi River is the ultimate symbol of freedom. Human beings long for freedom and an escape from everyday life (Williams 10). Huck and Jim were trying to escape and be free from the corrupt society in which they lived (Wehrle 1). The river provides a place for Huck and Jim to escape the harsh society around them (Hagg 1). The river also carried both of them toward freedom. For Jim it was taking him toward the free states, since he was a slave. For Huck it freed him from his angry and abusive father (Williams 10). It also took Huck away from St. Petersburg, the city in which he resided that he strongly disliked. Huck wants to live alone, and be able to survive by himself (Williams 11). He struggles to reach freedom by running away, and refusing to be civilized by those who attempt to fix his crude manners (Williams 11). The only place where Huck and Jim feel true freedom is on the river (Wehrle 2). The river supplies Huck with freedom, a home, and a sense of belonging (Hagg 1). The main characters in the book, Huck and Jim, are both looking for freedom. Jim wants freedom from slavery where as Huck is searching for freedom from society (Wehrle 1). The thing they both have in common in their quest for freedom is the way in which they got there, which is through the river.
The river in the novel also represents the journey of life for Huck and Jim. Life on the river was good at first, but soon it became tiresome for Huck. Huck liked being his own boss...