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The Mississippi River (Huckleberry Finn) Essay, Research Paper

Throughout the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Mississippi River plays a highly significant role. The American landmark represents freedom, in many cases, to the runaway slave Jim. A cornerstone of Huck s maturity during the novel was the Mississippi River. This body of water reveals all that is wrong and ignorant in American society. The ignorance ranges anywhere from slavery to something as petty as a couple of small town swindlers. The Mississippi River was as routine as slavery and cotton plantations in this country s infancy;however, the significance of the Mississippi River cannot be measured, but it can be revealed.

The majority of Americans take freedom for granted, and the only way to be appreciative is to have that freedom taken away. For Jim, a runaway slave, freedom was the ultimate attainment. He would risk life and limb for even the slightest chance to be free. For this particular slave, the Mississippi River offers a chance, even if only temporary, to be a free man. Jim develops a fondness of being a free man, only to have it ripped away once again. He vows to buy his family back when he gains his permanent freedom. The Mississippi River allows Jim to experience the feel of freedom.

In the beginning of the novel, Huck Finn is a very unruly, uncivilized boy that heeds more to Tom Sawyer, a dreamer/adventurer, than to the polite, civilized manner of Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. Pap was an influential adult in Huck s life. Pap controlled Huck not with security, but with fear. A short time after Huck escapes from Pap s cabin, Huck realizes that the correct action would be to turn Jim into the authorities. Instead, Huck follows his heart, and many pleas by Jim, and concludes that he wants his best friend to be free. Huck s maturity is in full form when he derives many scandles to save he and Jim from almost certain capture. This is almost parallel in time frame to Huck s growing fondness of Jim. Huck now sees Jim as his best friend, not a nigger or a slave.

The ignorance of American society during the early- to- mid nineteenth century is astounding. In the modern United States, the thought of slavery is almost extinct. Simple, everyday tasks for many were turned into highly scientific

experiments for others. The thought of shooting cannons to find a dead body is

preposterous thinking. Also, to think that a man is lessened by his skin color, then imprisoned for that fact exemplifies the ignorance of American society. If the

American ways of the past were in any way correct, than modern day Americans views are basicly ridiculous.

The great Mississippi River was one of the most significant landmarks of any time period. Every man, woman, and child was familiar with this particular river. This waterway was the basis for virtually everyone s style of living. People ate from the river, transported on the river, and ran businesses on the river. Far more significant was the mentality of the river. Many lived and died on the Mississippi River. Huck Finn loved, lived, and matured on it.

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