When Moses was in Dixie Land…

The use of Biblical parallelism and Puritan Typology in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The paper traces the parallels between Huckleberry’s journey to rescue the slave Jim and the biblical story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt both physically and spiritually from a puritan typology perspective.
“In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain challenges the hypocrisy of the United States of America, the nation which claims to be founded on the principle of equality; the nation that came into being with the declaration that people are “endowed by their Creator” with the “inalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (The Norton Anthology 294), which is at the same time a nation which supports and enforces the institution of slavery. Huckleberry Finn may be regarded as a social critique of a self-styled devout, white America. Twain is especially critical of early settlers of the American colonies such as the Puritans. These people regarded themselves a second ‘chosen people,’ who made ‘the Exodus’ from the bondage and oppression of Europe to arrive at the land of opportunity; a people who saw their everyday life in relation to Biblical events. Yet while these Puritans had achieved their own redemption from oppression, they neglect the central message of the original Exodus that “If a stranger sojourn with thee in the land, ye shall not be extortionate to him. But the stranger that sojourneth with you shall be as a native amongst you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt (Leviticus 19: 33-34).” They have even gone so far as to become oppressors – slave owners – themselves. As a result of their abuses, Twain infers, the Exodus of the Puritans has become tarnished and invalidated. America itself is in need of self-reexamination, transformation and renewal of its covenant of freedom.”