In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain uses irony, satire, and symbols such as water and land to show the way society treats racism, slavery, government, middle class, religious observation and family structure. He uses the land to represent the society in Huck's life and water as being the only place where Huck finds freedom. Both land and water show why Huck went through a series of trouble every time he was dealing with society and prefered to be on his way to freedom. For example, Tom represented society when he did not take Jim's freedom seriously. This shows that Tom's closed mildness did not let him perceive what Jim had done for him by saving his life although Jim had been injured.
This leads to his aunt's refusal to set Jim free. This is one of the conflicts that made Huck want to forget about everything and just leave without telling anybody. Another reason why Huck was trying to run away from his society was because he was tired of putting up with his dad and the old Widow Douglas. Huck used to be scared of his dad all the time because he would always mistreat him. He did not wanted to be with the Widow Douglas because although he admitted that she was nice and sweet, he did not like the fact that she was extremely religious and that she wanted to civilize him. That is why Huck ran away and once he was on the raft, he began to experience freedom.
Later on Jim joined Huck and they both begin on their journey. These examples show how both places land and water differ from each other. The land and the water were representing the society in which Huck was being mistreated and how the river was the only place where he finds freedom. For example, Huck felt that he did not fit within his society. Everybody mistreated him and he was a scapegoat for his father's problems.
By doing this Twain satirizes the family structure. Another example of how Twain uses the land and the water is by explaining the effect it has in Huck's life. Huck confronts many conflicts but then he is no longer able to do that and he decides to run away. Once he is on the raft, he begins to have a different perspective and he does not want to go back because he finally feels free to do whatever he wants. One of the freedoms he likes is that when he used to live with the widow, he was not allowed to smoke but since he was alone now, nobody would tell him what to do.
After Jim joined him, they both realized that they had escaped from a society that was racist and full of evil. This is how society and freedom were being represented by land and water. Twain made a huge contrast by using irony and other symbols to mock what the society would consider to be done correctly. He crit ized with mockery almost everything and that made people mad and created a huge scandal within Twain's society. For example, he satirized racism, slavery, religious observation and family structure. Many people would question themselves as to why Twain had chosen and dared to satirize slavery especially during that period of time when slavery was strictly enforced.
Family structure was seen from a different point of view from his society compared to how Twain had criticized it. Twain had to go through a rough period of time just like Huck did because both of their societies rejected them. Neither of them felt like they fitted within their communities. This is how Twain used contrast to crit ize the way the community was contributing to the meaning of his work. In Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn he used two contrasting places such as water and land to represent the opposed forces which were society and freedom as the central meaning of his work.