The importance of nature in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
In his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses nature not only as
ally, but as a deterrent in Huck Finn's search for independence and Jim's search for freedom. The
most prominent force of nature in the novel was the Mississippi River. The river was not only
their escape route, but perhaps it became their biggest enemy because it was always unpredictable.
Nature is the strongest factor in the novel because in a completely different geographical setting
the story would have had not only a different outcome, but Huck and Jim might never have found
friendship and freedom. Twain changes his tone when describing the Mississippi River from wry
and sarcastic to flowing and daydreaming. This change in tone illustrates his own appreciation for
the beauty and significance that nature holds for him.
Twain uses personification to show the beauty of nature in contrast to the immaturity and
obnoxious mentality of society. Huck would sometimes wake up to "see a steamboat coughing
along upstream" that "now and then would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her
chimbleys" which acts like a child without manners. (Twain, 81) In almost every chapter Twain
uses colorful descriptions of nature to help the reader to imagine the setting of the scene. Twain
would not have used so many examples and vivid descriptions of nature if he didn't want nature to
In the novel, Huck's main goal is to get away from a terrible, abusive drunk of a father.
Without the access of the Mississippi, Huck might not have ever escaped his father, and his father
could have easily killed Huck. For Jim, who's goal was not only freedom, but to see his family
again, the river was a free way to reach the free states. With Huck's fortune he could have bought
a train ticket or paid another way to get to Cairo, but it was
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