Superstition in Huck Finn

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Superstitious Times

Some say that superstition is an impractical way of looking at life but the characters in Mark Twain's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn beg to differ. Examples of superstition are abundant throughout the novel. Allowing characters in a novel to have superstitions makes their lives more realistic and the reading more enjoyable. Huck and Jim's superstitions cause them grief, help them get through, and sometimes get them into trouble in their lengthy runaway journey. Although both of these characters tend to be quite rational, they quickly become irrational when anything remotely superstitious happens to them. Superstition plays a dual role: it shows that Huck and Jim are child-like in spite of their otherwise extremely mature characters. Second, it serves to foreshadow the plot at several key junctions. For example, spilling salt leads to Pa returning for Huck, and later Jim gets bitten by a rattlesnake after Huck touches a snakeskin with his hands. Superstitions let the reader feel more connected with the characters in the novel and give the characters more of a human persona that makes the novel incredibly pleasurable. "Critics argue that superstition is not based on reason, but instead springs from religious feelings that are misdirected or unenlightened, which leads in some cases to rigor in religious opinions or practice, and in other cases to belief in extraordinary events or in charms, omens, and prognostications. Many superstitions can be prompted by misunderstandings of causality or statistics" (Haun). Superstitions take the place of reason, where no other explanation is possible. The explanation that is ultimately accepted is one that's based on one's own experiences and travels. In the first chapter, Huck sees a spider crawling up his shoulder, so he flicks it off into the flame of a candle. Before he could get it out, it was already shriveled up. Huck needed no one to tell him that it was a bad sign and would give him bad...
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