The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Superstition


Superstistion, a word that is often used to explain bad luck, misfortune,
the super natural, and the world that is not known. In the novel The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, superstion playe an important role that
resurfaces several times throughout the book. A belief that a hair ball can tell
the future, a loaf of bread containing quicksilver can point out a dead carcass,
and touching a snake skin with bare hands will give you the worst bad luck, are
all examples of some of the superstitons found in the book.
"Miss Watson\'s nigger, Jim, had a hairball as big as your fist, which had
been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, and he used to do magic with it.
He said there was a spirit inside of it and it knowed everything." This quote,
taken from chapter four of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is a great
example of how superstitius the people of the time were. The hairball\'s
signifigance to the novel is seen in both the characters of Jim and Huck. Jim is
an uneducated slave who does not have much knowledge. He is very ignorant and is
easy to beleive things things. Not only does his beleif that this hairball has
magic spirits, he is also fooled by Huck many times during the novel. You would
think because of him being an uneducated slave, and Huck being the white boy who
has had some schooling, that their beleifs in this superstitous hairball would
differ. This is not true as seen when Huck is the one that comes to Jim for the
powers of the Hairball. Huck wanted to know what his father, Pap, was going to
do. Huck had found out earlier that Pap was back in Town. Both Huck and Jim are
very superstisoius as most of the people were then. There was not a lot of the
modern technologies that we have today to prove many superstitions false. The
hairball really does not tell Huck anything that he really already did not know.
It only told him that his father did not know what to do. It only told him
general things such as, you are going to get hurt ,but then you will get better.
This episode with the hairball shows that even though Huck has some sort of an
education, he and Jim may be more similar than either one would admit.
Another superstition that most all of the people then beleived had to do
with a loaf of bread and some quicksilver. I only had a bite to eat. Well, then
I happened to think how they always put quicksilver in loaves of bread and float
them off, beacuse they always go right to the drownded carcass. Luckkily for
this superstition a loaf of bread happened to float right by him, and he had
breakfast. Since the bread did in dead float to him, mabey the old belief had
some truth in it. After all, he was really supposed to be dead and the bread did
seek him out. This episode furth illustrated the point that most all of the
people were superstitous. The whole town beleived the loaves would find the body.
Again, they had no way of knowing why it would work or why it would not. If you
put enough loaves of bread out there, one of them is bound to find a cracass
somewhere. Huck finding the bread really helped move the novel along. If he had
not been able to get the bread to eat, he might have left the shore in seek of
food. If this had happened there would never have been a seen where he sees all
of town on the steambote seearching for his dead body. A final point to this
episode it the widow and here parying. During most of the book, Huck did not
beleive praying did much of anyhting at all. After all, he had prayed for many
things in the past and never got them. This time he though maybe there actually
was something to the praying of the widow. I says, now I reckon the widow

Category: English