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Foreshadowing in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Foreshadowing Examples in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

Chapter X

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"Mind I tell you, it's a-comin'...."   (Chapter X)

As you read, keep track of all the bad luck these characters have and take note of which one of them suffers in each case. Here, Jim is the victim of the bad luck, which Huck brings down on them because of his foolishness and his love of playing tricks on people. It appears in this scene that Twain is setting Jim up to be a kind of punching bag and to take the brunt of the bad luck in the novel.

"because it was sent for a warning..."   (Chapter XV)

Twain uses Jim's interpretation of the "dream" as foreshadowing: the pair will meet a lot of quarrelsome folks, and they will get into a lot of trouble, but it remains to be seen whether or not they'll make it to the free states. At this point in the narrative, it's important for both the reader and Twain to know that what follows isn't just a random series of events taking place on a river and that this journey will eventually lead us somewhere. Where that is, we'll have to find out.

"Alas..."   (Chapter XVII)

Twain uses repetition to emphasize the affectation and melodrama of the girl's pictures, which all show young women who, for one reason or another, have been left behind by their loved ones and have since been reduced to weeping and waiting. Keep these pictures in mind as we learn more about the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons, as the image of a woman waiting for a lover will help to illuminate one of the central plot points of the feud.

"never hurt nobody, drunk nor sober...."   (Chapter XXI)

The townspeople are putting up with Boggs’s getting drunk and making empty threats to everyone in town, so they have largely stopped worrying about his actions. However, Sherburn is a wealthy and prominent figure in town. Boggs threatens the wrong man this time, and this line foreshadows an important turn of events for him.


This line prepares us for the lewd, low-brow comedy of the following chapter, in which the Duke and the King put on a show that amounts to nonsense. In the 1800s, women and children were shielded from such low-brow comedy as much as possible, even though by today's standards The Royal Nonesuch isn't particularly lewd or unusual. This poster is a tidy bit of foreshadowing that Twain uses to great effect.

"till he just fairly emptied that young fellow..."   (Chapter XXIV)

"Emptied" in this context refers to having successfully gotten all the information he needed out of the guy. Given what we already know, it's safe to assume that the King conducted this interrogation so that he can impersonate Peter's brother and to "empty" his coffers, so to speak. This is a clever bit of foreshadowing on Twain's part.

"where his money was hid..."   (Chapter XXIV)

Given the King's long history of conning people out of their money, the reader can assume that both the King and Huck will catch on this little detail in the story and that Huck will have to decide whether or not to help the King find the hidden money. This line is therefore an example of foreshadowing that prepares the reader for the events of the proceeding chapters.

"Goliar..."   (Chapter XXIX)

Huck means to compare Hines to “Goliath,” the biblical Philistine warrior-giant whose story is told in the Book of Samuel. Huck once again illustrates only a partial knowledge of the Bible, as he has only learned what the widow taught him. Keep in mind that Goliath is defeated by David in the biblical story, making Huck’s allusion to Goliath an important moment of foreshadowing.

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