Essay, Research Paper: Adventures Of Huck Finn

Literature: Mark Twain

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In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Jim and Huck use and believe in many
superstitions. There are many examples from the book that show this in the
characters. Most of the superstitions are very ridiculous, but some actually
make a little sense. In the first example, Huck seen a spider was crawling on
his shoulder and he flipped it off and it landed in a lit candle. It shriveled
up and died. Huck said it would fetch him some awful bad luck. He got up and
turned around three times and crossed his breast every time. Then he tied up a
little lock of his hair with a thread to keep witches away. He says that the
ritual he did was for losing a found horseshoe and did not know if it would
work. These superstitions and remedies seem pretty far-fetched and it is hard to
say where they originated, but I would have to say they originated down South. I
think it originated down south because I am from up North and I have never heard
any one speak of those superstitions. Huck believes in these probably because he
grew up with them and they were always taught to him and he is so ignorant he
does not know better. One morning Huck turned over the saltcellar at breakfast.
He went to throw the salt- cellar over his left shoulder to cancel the bad luck,
but Miss Watson stopped him. All day he wondered when something would fall on
him and what it would be. This all implies that Huck thinks something is going
to fall on him, because of his accident. I have heard about bad luck from
spilling salt so I think this Superstition started in the North or maybe it was
just popular and spread quickly. I do not believe there is hardly any fact at
all to this. Huck believes in this probably because of the way he grew up. Jim
said when young chickens flew a yard or two at a time and lighting it was a sign
that it was going to rain. He thought if birds did it, it would be the same.
Also Jim said if you caught one of them you would die. He thought this because
his dad caught one and got sick and his grandmother said he was going to die.
His father did die. These superstitions do have a little credibility. I think
they originated because some birds do fly in patterns when it is going to rain
or storm. The part about his father dying might have a little credibility, but
it is kind of stretching it. Maybe his dad caught the bird and ate it without
cooking it all the way, or maybe the bird was infected and killed Jim's dad. Jim
probably believed in the bird story about his dad's death because he experienced
it first hand. Jim also said you should not count the things you are going to
cook for dinner, because that would bring bad luck. The same if you shook the
table the table-cloth after sundown. He said if a man who owned a beehive died,
the bees must be told before sun-up of the next morning or the bees will die.
These superstitions are all nonsense and having nothing to do with anything. I
think Jim believes this because he does not know any better. He experienced some
Superstitions first hand and that is probably why he believes in them. The
previous superstitions probably originated out of stories told wrong,
exaggerated, or people kept jazzing up stories to make them interesting, until
they turned into nothing, but nonsense. Jim says if you have hairy arms and a
hairy chest then you are going to be rich. This originated probably from a few
rich men who were hairy. They probably told people they were rich because of
their hair and since they had the money to endorse their ideas people believed
them. Money can buy many things, it can also make normal people understand and
believe things they usually would not of. Jim probably believed this because
maybe his former master or masters were rich and were hairy. He was also hairy
and had money at one time. At the end of the book he became free and Tom gave
him $40, which supported Jim's theory. Huck grabbed a rattlesnake skin, which
was the worst luck Jim and Huck ever encountered. This superstition has good
size of fact to it to. It probably originated because people like Huck picked up
their skins and kept them in their bags or played tricks on the friends, like
Jim. The mates probably came and defended their mate, by attacking the victim
who had the rattle-sake skin. The superstition probably got stretched a little
out of proportion, but I think a good deal of it is real. Huck and Jim probably
believe in the bad luck caused from touching the snakes skin because they
experienced it too. When Huck played that trick on Jim, I am sure Huck became a
believer of the bad luck. Jim also said he would rather look at a new moon over
his left shoulder a thousand times instead of touching a snake skin again. This
superstition might have originated from people looking over their shoulder and
then they probably stumbled and fell or ran into something. Huck and Jim
probably believe in this because it makes a good deal of sense to.

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