Down the River: "Siddhartha" and "Huckleberry Finn" Essay

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As we read Huckleberry Finn, I was also rereading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and I couldn’t help but compare Siddhartha’s journey down the river to Huckleberry Finn’s journey down the river. Both their stories are parallels to each other and many connections can be made through their travels. To both characters, the element of the river served as a protection from the outside world. When both characters are taken by the rivers embrace, they are able to leave the limitations and constrains of their society. Siddhartha and Huck seek independence, away from their homes and away from troubles of society. Siddhartha seeks an escape from his isolation and pampered lifestyle in order to understand more about the world and gain wisdom through …show more content…
He and Jim, his companion: the runaway slave, make the river their new home. “ It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars.” ( 86) Huck understands that escaping on the river was his only way to escape from his society of constrains and he never regrets it. However, unlike Siddhartha who searches for the path to enlightenment, Huck searches for an escape from his imprisonment on land and he uses the river as a carriage to freedom for both himself and Jim.
Now, Jim can be compared to neither Huck nor Siddhartha. He is his own sphere of mentality. He is a powerful figure for being able to take Huck into his care and become the fatherly figure. While Huck and Siddhartha may be considered the naïve ones of the bunch, for their lack of experience and knowledge of the outside world, Jim is a character who actually understands the consequences of what they are doing. He knows that the river is threatening. He knows that he and Huck must travel at night and that if they are caught they will never escape their society. These moments on the river are extremely emotional for Jim because it is the closest he has ever felt to being free. However, as free as he may feel he is still a “runaway slave” and there is nothing he can do to change that.This river is extremely important to Jim because it gives him hope. He see the river in a different light than Huck and he