New England Headlands and Huckleberry Finn

Childe Hassam’s calming painting, New England Headlands, depicts a sense of escape. This soothing mood is also prevalent in Mark Twain’s iconic American novel, Huckleberry Finn. Hassam’s painting transports the viewer to an New England Headlandsescape from reality and society. In the novel, when Huck’s abusive father kidnaps him, one would think that Huck would be in a state of trauma, but actually he is able to find moments of serenity. This painting illustrates Huck’s mood during those moments, “It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, smoking and fishing, and no books nor study.” Huck is able to forget about the negativity in his life and focus of the peaceful moments, just like this image transports the reader to a peaceful place. The gentle waves and quaint cottages are reminiscent of vacationing and relaxation. Both the painting and the scene from Huckleberry Finn share an overarching mood of peaceful escape.

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