Bad Luck and Untraditional Symbolism

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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Clemens

"There is ways to keep off some kinds of bad luck, but this wasn't one of them kind; so I never tried to do anything, but just poked along low-spirited and on the watch-out." (pg: 83)

In this quote, Huckleberry Finn is talking about his bad luck, considering his father's soon-to-be appearance. A quote like this is despairing... he is accepting the fact that there is nothing he can do to get rid of his abusive father, and must accept what the future is bringing. 

I found the imagery associated with Huck's father to be particularly interesting. There is a description of the man on page 85, describing his face as having no color - "a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body's flesh crawl." This quote is strange for this time, because being white was something ideal and to be coveted. It seems as though Twain is twisting the traditional viewpoint, boldly saying that the literate and educated mixed man was much better off than Huck's white father, who was about as low as they come. Huck's father seems to embody everything that is evil. I think that he is a microcosm (something small that represents something large) for the white society of his time. Huck's father is the dark side of the white race (that turned out to be ironic..)


Jessica Apitsch said:

I enjoyed your take on Twain's irony. I took interest in the passage describing his father, but did not write about it as I did not think about it on the level you did and how he was "the dark side of the white race". very nice! I did in fact blog about another passage where Twain's use of irony shines. He has Huck's father's boots leave tracks of a cross to keep the devil away. I kept thinking throughout the following passages, this man has so much hatred towards the world and his son, why in the world would he have a cross on the bottom of his boot? And then Twain, in the passage of the father's allusions, had the father refer to himself as "a devil". I took interest in the irony of the two passages that clash with each other, but also how his father chose to say "a devil" and not "the devil".

Jessica Pierce said:

Those are some interesting points. I thought of the cross on the boot soles as a sort of X initially, like "X marks the spot!" Kind of a warning sign for Huck to know what's coming. But I see that it probably has religious connotation as well.

Jennifer Prex said:

That is an interesting way to look at it. I agree that it is significant that the traditional viewpoint is twisted here, but I'll admit that I didn't pick up on that until I read your blog. Since this story is, in part, about a runaway slave, it makes sense that Mark Twain would want to show the darker side of the white race.

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