Twain uses the Mississippi River to show adventure. From the beginning of the book, it is clear that Huck loves adventure. Huck agrees to join Tom Sawyer’s robber gang. “Now, we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.”(13) When Huck and Jim are on the Mississippi River, Huck is eager to do something adventurous so he tries to dress up like a girl and go into town. “I reckoned I would slip over the river and find out what was going on…couldn’t I put on some of them old things and dress up like a girl?”(60) Jim seems skeptical about adventures, but Huck is always pushing him to do something fun. For example, Huck pressures Jim into trying to catch the gang of murderers. Huck says,
Quick Jim, it ain’t no time for fooling around and moaning; there’s a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don’t hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these fellows can’t get away from the wreck there’s one of ‘em going to be in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put all of ‘em in a bad fix-for the Sheriff’ll get ‘em”(75)
The river is a good place to find adventure, it is always moving to someplace new. Adventures are only possible with freedom, if Jim were to still be stuck with his father, he would not be having as much fun.
Mark Twain uses the Mississippi River to represent comfort because both Jim and Huck feel relaxed on the river. When floating on the raft, Jim and Huck realize that it is the best place to be. “We said there warn’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.”(90) The comfort Jim and Huck feel while floating along the Mississippi is an important signs what it is like to be free.
“We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed-only a little kind of low chuckle. We had mighty good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all-that night, nor the next, nor the next.” (80)
Huck is happiest when he is outdoors with Jim “We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up too early in the morning or didn't go to bed early enough in the evening. Take it all round, we lived pretty high.” (71) It is obvious that Jim and Huck are much more comfortable living on a raft, than living as a slave, or with an abusive father. Freedom from their troubles allows the characters to not have as many worries and to feel at ease.
Twain uses the Mississippi River to show an escape from society. On the river, the boys do not have to answer to anyone. They are free to do what they wish. Jim set out on the Mississippi because he believed that it was the only way to escape slavery and reunite with his family. He tells Huck about how he was going to be sold. “…I hear ole missus tell de wider she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans…” (50) Jim feels that it was right to run away and float to Cairo, because there he could be free. Whenever Huck goes to shore he eventually seeks the refuge of the raft and the river. The problems of society become clear to Huck when he goes ashore, while watching the gun fight between the Grangerfords and Shepardsons he becomes ill with the violence between these two families, "I wished I hadn’t ever come ashore that night, to see such things." (94) Huck does not want to go back to society. He is happy on the raft with Jim. “But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” (219) The river offers escape from society from Jim and Huck. The excitement they feel from being away and being close to freedom expresses why freedom is so valued.
The author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn uses the Mississippi River to show the value of freedom. The Mississippi river shows freedom because it flows where it wants and has no restrictions. Freedom makes many things possible, and without it, Jim and Huck would not have been able to have adventures, feel comfortable, or escape the real world. Twain uses the Mississippi River to show adventure, comfort, and an escape from society.