In the story Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, the river symbolizes freedom. Huck goes on the river to get free from becoming civilized and to get away from his pap and Jim uses the river to get freed from slavery. Also the king and the duke use it to escape from angry towns. Any time they are in trouble when they get on the river they are no longer in trouble.
Huck gets a raft to go down the river to get away from his pap and so he is no longer living in civilization. He didn’t like sleeping in a bed and reading books, Huck says,
I didn’t see how I’d ever got to like it so well at the widow’s, where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and go to bed and get up regular, and forever bothering over a book and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the time (1368).
Then when Huck thought his dad was going to kill him he knew he had to leave there too. So he got a canoe and raft and went down the river. When he was on the river he was safe and getting free from his pap and no longer feared getting hurt by him.
Jim is afraid of being sold by Widow Douglas so he runs away and is trying to get freed from slavery. He also goes down the river with Huck and uses it as his path to freedom. Whenever he is on the river he is safe. When Jim is being chased he can always get away on the river. He is also not treated like a slave on the raft and doesn’t have to fear being sold.
The King and the Duke get in trouble many times by scamming different towns to get money by lying and pretending to be people they really aren’t. Every time they get away by going on the river and are free on it. When they finally get caught they are on land, away from the freedom of the river.
The river always is a freedom for Huck, Jim, the king, and the duke. When they are on land they always get into some trouble and can always get away from that trouble when they get on the river. Water is thought of, as symbolizing clensing, because you can wash yourself clean with it. The river clenses the four while they are on it and makes it like they have done nothing wrong, or are free from sin.