Witches, Magic, and More
In the novel Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, superstition plays a huge role in the book; the two main characters, Jim and Huck, believe in some superstitions religiously. They use the element of superstition to explain anything and everything that reasonable logic cannot.
Periodically throughout the novel, Huck and Jim do several things to prevent bad luck; while today one might see this behavior as childish, or crazy, Huck and Jim believed in these superstitions religiously. “One morning I happened to turn over the salt- cellar at breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw it over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck” (24). Huck does this just to prevent any bad luck, he had not done anything un- lucky yet, he just wanted to prevent any possible bad luck. When and Jim and Huck are hiding on the island after they run away, Jim explains to Huck several things to avoid doing that could bring about bad luck: “And Jim said you mustn’t count the things you are going to cook for dinner, because that would bring bad luck. The same if you shook the table cloth after sundown” (52). Huck plays yet another trick on Jim in the novel, by placing a rattlesnake skin under Jim’s feet when he falls asleep to scare him when he woke up, the snake turned out to be alive, and woke up to bite Jim, so, just to make sure that nothing bad comes from it Jim instructed Huck to do these things:
“Jim told me to chop off the snake’s head and throw it away, and then skin the body and roast a piece of it. I done it, and he eat it and said it would help cure him. He made me take off the rattles and tie them around his wrist too. He said that would help. […] Jim said it was bad luck to take a-holt of a snakeskin like that […] I wouldn’t ever take a-holt of a snake skin again now that I know what had come of it” (59-60).
Huck is skeptical of these superstitions, but trusts that Jim knows best, and in the end Huck learned to never play...