The Mississippi River, on and around which so much of the action of Huckleberry Finn takes place, is a muscular, sublime, and dangerous body of water and a symbol for absolute freedom. It is literally the place where Huck feels most comfortable and at ease, and also the means by which Huck and Jim hope to access the free states. The river is physically fluid, flexible, and progressive, just as Huck and Jim are in their imaginatively free acts of empathy with other characters and in their pragmatic adaptability to any circumstances that come their way. However, in being absolutely free, the river is also unpredictable and dangerous, best exemplified during the storms that again and again threaten the lives of Huck and Jim. When he is alone, free from any immediately external influence, Huck begins to feel very lonesome and as destructive as the river itself, or, rather, self-destructive. The river, then, embodies the blessing and dangers of freedom, which must be carefully navigated if one is to live a good, happy life.
The Mississippi River Quotes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Mississippi River. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published in 1994.).
Chapter 13 Quotes
I begun to think how dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix. I says to myself, there ain’t no telling but I might come to be a murderer myself, yet, and then how would I like it?
Related Characters: Huckleberry Finn (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Mississippi River
Page Number and Citation:
The Mississippi River Symbol Timeline in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Mississippi River appears in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...canon, which, Huck figures, is being done to make his own carcass come to the river’s surface. Hungry, Huck remembers that people looking for carcasses in the river put quicksilver in... (full context)
...answers their questions with ease. As they’re talking, Huck hears a steamboat coughing down the river. The real Tom could be aboard, Huck thinks, and he could accidentally blow Huck’s cover,... (full context)