The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

What theme does this quotation represent? Why does it represent this theme?

"One morning I happened to turn over the salt cellar at breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I could, to throw over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck."

Chapter 4 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The above quotation represents the theme of superstition.


Superstition appears throughout the novel. Generally, both Huck and Jim are very rational characters, yet when they encounter anything slightly superstitious, irrationality takes over. The power superstition holds over the two demonstrates that Huck and Jim are child-like despite their apparent maturity. In addition, superstition foreshadows the plot at several key junctions. For instance, when Huck spills salt, Pap returns, and when Huck touches a snakeskin with his bare hands, a rattlesnake bites Jim.