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Symbolism – The Mississippi River. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain . The Mighty Mississippi. T he river is Huck and Jim's transportation, taking them from captivity (slavery; child abuse) to (hopefully) freedom in the state of Ohio. T he river ends up

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symbolism the mississippi river

Symbolism – The Mississippi River

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

the mighty mississippi
The Mighty Mississippi
  • The river is Huck and Jim's transportation, taking them from captivity (slavery; child abuse) to (hopefully) freedom in the state of Ohio.
  • The river ends up

symbolizing freedom

in its own right.

ol man river
Ol’ Man River
  • Before hitting the rapids, Huck feels confined—both by society (which, figuratively, kept Huck imprisoned by its restrictive rules) and by Pap

(who, literally, kept Huck locked up).

And the river is the only route they

can take if they want to be free both

in that present moment and in their

respective futures. 

  • to Huck, the river represents a life

beyond the rules of society. 

the big muddy
The Big Muddy
  • For Huck and Jim, the Mississippi River is the ultimate symbol of freedom. Alone on their raft, they do not have to answer to anyone. 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 raft and the river
The Raft and the River
  • Floating down the middle of the river might be the only place this black man and white boy can speak together as equals; it provides a space for Huck

and Jim to get to

know each other

man-to-man rather

than master-to-


proud mary
Proud Mary
  • Despite their freedom, however, they soon find that they are not completely free from the evils and influences of the towns on the river’s banks. 
  • 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


  • a thick fog causes them to miss

the mouth of the Ohio River,

which was to be their route to