Huck Finn

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Superstition and Religion in
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, superstition is used throughout the story. Mark Twain uses superstition to show the difference between an organized religion, such as Christianity, and believing in superstition. As Huckleberry Finn and Jim escape to freedom from civilized living and slavery, religion and superstition have a strong effect on them. As they go back and forth between the two faiths, the reader gets an idea of the system of beliefs that people followed living along the Mississippi River. Belief in the supernatural and superstition are the marks of many characters in the storyline. It is Jim and Huck’s shared belief in superstitions that originally draws them together. Jim and Huck explain things using superstition that they cannot otherwise explain. It is possible that the novel parodies religion by comparing it to superstition, since some characters take advantage of both belief systems to influence and mislead. Most often, superstitions are used as an attempt to explain why bad things happen. When a character has something good happen, most likely religion takes credit for that positive outcome. When someone is punished, or something terrible happens, it is a lot more comforting to put the blame on superstition. Religion, as defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, is defined as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices” and “the service and worship of God or the supernatural: commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance” or “a cause, principal or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith”. Superstition, as defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, is defined as “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or false conception of causation” and “an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural,...
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