Superstition in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Grade Level: 10
Date Created: November 21, 1996
Grade Received: 94%
Written by:
In the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, there is
a lot of superstition. Some examples of superstition in the novel are Huck
killing a spider which is bad luck, the hair-ball used to tell fortunes, and
the rattle-snake skin Huck touches that brings Huck and Jim good and bad luck.

Superstition plays an important role in the novel Huck Finn.

In Chapter one Huck sees a spider crawling up his shoulder, so he
flipped it off and it went into the flame of the candle. Before he could get it
out, it was already shriveled up. Huck didn’t need anyone to tell him that it
was an bad sign and would give him bad luck. Huck got scared and shook his
clothes off, and turned in his tracks three times. He then tied a lock of his
hair with a thread to keep the witches away. “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.”(Twain 5).

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In chapter four Huck sees Pap’s footprints in the snow. So Huck goes to
Jim to ask him why Pap is here. Jim gets 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?
But the hair-ball won’t answer. Jim says it needs money, so Huck gives Jim a
counterfeit quarter. Jim puts the quarter under the hair-ball. 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.”
(Twain 19). Huck goes home and goes up to his room that night and Pap is there.

In Chapter ten, Huck and Jim run into good luck and bad luck. The good
luck was Huck and Jim finds eight dollars in the pocket of an overcoat. After
dinner on Friday, they are lying in the grass, then Huck ran out of tobacco, so
he went to the craven to get some, and finds a rattlesnake. Huck kills it and
curled it up and put it on the foot of Jim’s blanket. Night came and Jim flung
himself on the blanket and the snake’s mate was there, and it bit Jim on the
heel. Jim tells Huck to chop off the snake’s head, then skin the body of the
snake and roast a peice of it. He took the rattles off and tied them to Jim
wrist. Jim said it would help him. Huck says “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.” (Twain 52).

As one can see Superstition plays an important role in the novel Huck
Finn. Huck killing the spider which is bad luck, the hair-ball that tells
fortunes, and the rattle-snake skin that Huck touched are examples that brought
bad luck to Huck and Jim in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Category: English