Biblical Allusions In American Literature: The Flood

the floodThere are many motif elements present in The Flood. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the motif of water and its cleansing, rebirth, and test-of-self factors are very present. In the bible God explains to Noah that he will make it rain for forty days and forty nights until every living creature on the face of the earth is destroyed. God commands Noah to make an ark out of gopher wood and to bring his wife, his sons and their wives, and two of every sort of animal, one female and one male. As Noah conforms to the word of God, he and his family survive on the arc as the rains consume the world around him. The rains do not cease for 600 years. Had Noah not followed the word of God, he, along with his sons and their wives, would have been destroyed with the beings of the earth. The water cleansed the world of all good and evil beings through the flood, and allowed for the rebirth of humanity and life through Noah and those on the arc. The test was apparent in Noah’s conformity of God’s message.

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the same factors of the water motif are present. In relation to The Flood, Huck and Jim’s raft is their arc, and the Mississippi River is the floodwater. Once Huck and Jim are off land and in the water, is exactly when the biblical allusion begins. Huck and Jim float the Mississippi while the world around them is metaphorically cleansed. This cleansing factor is especially present when Jim and Huck float by Pap’s cabin. Pap is dead inside, and his home is destroyed, therefore the world was then cleansed of the “evil” that was Pap, though the water. The test came in Huck’s decision to let Jim be free or not. The evil in the world told Huck to turn Jim in, but Huck’s better judgment said to let Jim go free. Perhaps the recent cleansing of the world around them (through them being on the river, a.k.a. the flood) is what allows Huck to listen to his conscience, therefore passing the test. And by passing this test set forth by the water, Huck’s rebirth of mindset, and Jim’s rebirth into freedom takes place, all of which began with the waters. The water motif is present in The Flood, as well as Huckleberry Finn. 

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