Huck Finn 6 Essay, Research Paper
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, superstition plays a key role to the story. During that time period, superstitions were almost held sacred to an extent, even though they had been made up to scare little children from doing bad things. Superstition plays a key role in three parts of the story; the spider scene in chapter one, the hairball incident in chapter four, and the snake scene in chapter ten.
Superstition first brings itself into play in chapter one. This scene sets the tone of bad luck for the rest of the story. Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle, (13). This is the beginning of bad luck for Huck, he has violated one of the gravest of old wives tales. Killing a spider in that time period meant bad luck was coming very soon. You do that when you’ve lost a horseshoe that you’ve found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I hadn’t ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep of bad luck when you’d killed a spider. Huck was scared of the impending bad luck from the death of the spider, so he did everthing in his superstitious power to stop it. Then there is another scene superstition plays a key role in.
In chapter four, Huck sees Pap’s footprints in the snow. Huck then goes to Jim to ask him why Pap is here. Jim retrieves a hair-ball that is the size of a fist that he took from an ox’s stomach. Jim asks the hair-ball, Why is Pap here? The hair-ball doesn t answer. Jim says that the hair-ball needs money, so Huck gives Jim a counterfeit quarter. Jim puts the quarter under the hair-ball and the hair-ball talks to Jim and Jim tells Huck that it says. “Yo’ole father doan’ know yit what he’s a-gwyne to do. Sometimes he spec he’ll go ‘way, en den ag’in he spec he’ll stay. De bes’ way is tores’ easy en let de ole man take his own way. Dey’s two angles hoverin’
roun’ ’bout him. One uv’em is white en shiny, en t’other one is black. De white one gits him to go right a little while, den de black one sil in en gust it all up. A body can’t tell yit which one
gwyne to fetch him at de las’. But you is all right. You gwyne to have considable trouble in yo’ life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well ag’in. Dey’s two gals flyin’ ’bout yo’ in yo’ life. One uv ‘em’s light en t’other one is dark. One is rich en t’other is po’. You’s gwyne to marry de po’ one fust en de rich one by en by. You wants to keep ‘way fum de water as much as you kin, en don’t run no resk, ‘kase it’s down in de bills dat you’s gwyne to git hung.” Huck returns home and goes up to his room that night and Pap is there.
In chapter ten, Huck and Jim run into good luck and some misfortune. The good luck was Huck and Jim find eight dollars in the pocket of an overcoat, but after dinner on Friday, they are lying in the grass, and Huck ran out of tobacco, so he went to the craven to get some, and he found a rattlesnake. Huck then kills it and curled it up and put it on the foot of Jim’s blanket. That night Jim flung himself on the blanket and the snake’s would-be mate was there, and due to territorial behavior, it bit Jim on the heel. So, in accordance to superstition, Jim tells Huck to chop off the snake’s head, then skin the body of the snake and roast a piece of it. Huck took the rattles off and tied them to Jim s wrist because he (Jim) said it would help him. Huck began to feel guilty and said, “I made up my mind I wouldn’t ever take a-holt of a snake-skin again with my hands, now that I see what had come of it.”