Huck Finn The river represents freedom, the towheads represent something to grab on to to pull you in and save you when your done with the freedom of the river and you want a taste of civilization, and trees on shore represent places for marginalized members of society to hide (like Jim).

Scarlet Letter The forest is quite significant in the novel. The forest represents a free world and a dark world where no Puritan law exists. In the forest Hester feels free and lets down her hair. The sun doesn’t hit Hester until she takes off the letter and shows her passion. Once she puts it back on the sun goes away.


In Frederick Douglass retells his life the “overseers” throughout his story to depict the inhumane and horrible treatment of the enslaved blacks.

  1. Plummer drunkenly cudgels the slaves
    1. Often drunk and ruthless
    2. Stumbles around the plantation beating slaves as he willed
  2. Severe’s flogging
    1. flogged Frederick’s family on several occasions
    2. blood-stained backs of men, women, and children
  3. Gore mercilessly killing Demby
    1. Demby wades in the water after a severe flogging
    2. Gore, shoots him dead, when Demby stands still in the water
  4. Covey’s brutality
    1. intentionally causing harm and injury to slaves
    2. “slave-breaker”
    3. hides in waiting for the chance to torture a slave
  1. The overseers reveal the real-life conditions of black slaves, often underestimated by American citizens who remain neutral in the Abolitionist vs Pro-Slavery debate. Frederick Douglass’ purpose in his autobiography was to refute any misconceptions that undermine slavery’s severity. All three of Captain Anthony’s overseers and Farmer Covey are true stories and confirm the worst rumors among the Northern folk. In its success, this autobiography gained support for the American Civil War and the Abolitionist Movement.


In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter daylight is the equivalent of honesty and goodness. While the nighttime and darkness represents hidden secrets and evil.

Nathaniel Hawthorne adds visual imagery with light or shadows that have deeper, even moral meaning in the book The Scarlet Letter. The use of light and darkness in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is fundamental in the novel and alludes to the larger conflict between good and evil.

  1. Hester
    1. Hester’s secret lover Dimmesdale is dark throughout the novel and allows light into his soul only in the last few moments of his life.
    2. The sun shines on Hester in the dark forest only when she passionately lets down her hair. In the end Hawthorne shows you that the light had outshined the darkness when she turns into a good citizen rather than as a disgraced adulterer.
    3. In the forest she throws off the Scarlet letter and the forest literally begins to brighten up. The clouds spread apart and the sun begins to shine as if nature is supporting her in her decision to throw off the letter.
    4. By the end of the novel Hester had moved back to the tiny Puritan town and had wrapped herself in sadness and gloom by choice because she believes good and evil still live inside of her and she does not deserve to live in the sun.
  2. Dimmesdale
    1. Dimmesdale is so full of self imposed darkness the real world does not even need to bother punishing him, he punishes himself more.
    2. Darkness provides Dimmesdale a place where he can wallow in his guilt and remorse. 3Dimmesdale stands on the scaffold at night hiding his sin and concealing his confession from the Puritan society.
    3. Pearl asks Dimmesdale to stand together in the light of day at noon that he chooses to conceal his sin until later and chooses to stay in the dark of his lies.
    4. Hester and Dimmesdale meet in the dark forest and their guilt is reflected in the darkness of nature.
  3. Pearl
    1. Pearl is drawn to the light which shows her natural instincts tell the truth. While at the governor’s house Pearl notices the beautiful bright sunlight through the windows.
    2. The sunshine flickers only on Pearl in the deep, dark forest. Pearl reminds her mother that the sun will not shine on Hester.
  4. Light While sitting in the forest and talking about their love for one another the sun finally reaches them.
  5. Darkness On the scaffolding where he should have stood seven years ago with Hester a meteor lights up the sky and “they stood in the noon of that strange and solemn splendor as if it were the light that is to reveal all secrets “(154).
    1. Pearl asks Dimmesdale to stand together in the light of day at noon that he chooses to conceal his sin until later and chooses to stay in the dark of his lies.
    2. The forest is a place where they can hide from the rest of Puritan society and be honest with each other because it is dark and nobody can see them.


For an individual to develop and improve moral standards must have many experiences

Huckleberry Finn

  1. Saving Jim from the patrol by claiming smallpox infection
    1. first moral step towards thinking of others before himself
    2. “Huck! you’re the best friend old Jim’s got!”
  2. Stealing gold from King and Duke that rightfully belonged to girls
    1. friendship and loyalty obligation
  3. Dilemma concerning Jim’s safety
    1. Carried thru each stage of moral development
      1. self-concern and avoid punishment
      2. what is lawful
      3. he is my friend
    2. Huck did what his conscious told him to do and decided that he would just go to hell and help Jim


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

He is limited because he only knows the south once he moves north he is reeducated on things there
His whole life was about survival
He educated himself how to read
He made a plan
He worked after he was free to help other still enslaved He could have just gone off and lived his life.

5 & 6 Hester and Huckleberry Finn have many similarities and reveal a lot about American values and ideals. Hester and Huck both are free thinkers who make their own decisions even if the community at large doesn’t agree with their decisions they do it anyway because there’s is what their conscience is telling them to do.

Hester punishes herself for her send long after the community has decided her a does not stand for adultery but for able and forgiven her. At the end of the novel she moves back to the small Puritan town and lives in the same tiny house on the outskirts because she is still punishing herself for her decision and it is what she feels she deserves.

Huck decides to help Jim escape slavery even if it means he’s going to hell. He truly believes that this decision will and his chances of going to heaven but his conscience will not allow him to not help Jim so he makes a conscious decision to rip up the note he wrote to Ms. Watson telling her where Jim is an resolves to go to hell.

The Puritans left England to flee from religious intolerance, but when they settled in the colonies, they had no religious tolerance for people with different religious belief, Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter to critique the Puritan Faith

In Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain juxtaposes superstition with Christianity suggests the depth of his skepticism of religion in general.

The Puritans left England to flee from religious intolerance, but when they settled in the colonies, they had no religious tolerance for people with different religious belief, Hawthorne uses The Scarlet Letter to critique the Puritan Faith

In Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain compares Christianity with superstition

The Scarlet Letter

Dimmesdale maintains an illusion of purity as a minister in the public eye; he is perpetuating this image although he knows it to be a lie. He only allows his secret to be revealed in the dark of the night, where nobody is able to see the truth

Dimmesdale also portrays the hypocrisy of Puritan society by not initially taking his place on the scaffold.

Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, both “sinners” for their part in this drama, are valued and revered members of this repressive community, while Hester is an outcast because of her publicly acknowledged sin.

Everyday, Dimmesdale has to wake up and receive the adulation of his community for being basically a saint on earth.

Huckelberry Finn

Twain doubted the religious, as opposed to the moral, truth of Christianity.

His juxtaposition of superstition with Christianity suggests the depth of his skepticism.

  1. Widow Douglas later explains that prayer bestows spiritual gifts, such as acting selflessly to help others. Huck, who cannot see any advantage in such gifts, resolves to forget the matter. The two women often take Huck aside for religious discussions, in which Widow Douglas describes a wonderful God, while Miss Watson describes a terrible one. Huck concludes there are two Gods and decides he would like to belong to Widow Douglas’s
  2. When Miss Watson tells him about the “bad place”—hell—he blurts out that he would like to go there, for a change of scenery..
  3. Miss Watson tells him that there is no chance that Tom Sawyer will end up in heaven. Huck is glad “because I wanted him and me to be together.”
  4. Twain’s portrayal of slaveholding in this first chapter also raises questions about the hypocrisy and moral of society. Throughout the novel, Huck encounters seemingly good people who happen to own slaves.
  5. Miss Watson leads a prayer session with Huck and the household slaves. You can see the hypocrisy of being considered a good person yet owning another human.
  6. The novelty of practices like “grumbling” over food . Praying seemed as silly as other superstitions to Huck.
  7. Boot tracks in the snow near the house. Within one heel print is the shape of two nails crossed to ward off the devil. Hucks father still believed a “god” would help him even though he himself was evil.
  8. Grangerfords are in a feud with a . The two families attend church together and hold their rifles between their knees as the minister preaches about brotherly love.


The readings The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn both show formal education is not completely necessary to succeed.

  1. Frederick Douglass
    1. Drive to learn
    2. Help from white boys
    3. Key to freedom
  2. Huck Finn
    Twain views formal education as challenge to boys as it does not give them valuable life experience that they can find outside the classroom. The whole novel tells of how Huck struggles to become civilized and learn in a class room setting, however when he goes out on his own and travels with Jim up and down the Mississippi he learns very valuable life lessons that he could never learn in a classroom and is by far better off had he stayed. I guess what im trying to say is Twain believes that boys cannot learn what they need to know to be successful in life just by reading from textbooks, instead they need to go out and learn by trial and error in the real world. The whole novel seems as a metaphor for the idea that the best way to learn is to do or that street smarts are better than book smarts
    1. Jim used common sense to solve many problems
    2. Huck learned from his father how to live out in the woods
    3. “Street Smarts”