The Awakening

Nature's Role in American Literature College

The role of nature in American literature operates on three levels. Firstly, nature in American literature provides a refuge for characters from the austere conformity required by American society, allowing them to be themselves without fear of retribution. Secondly, in its most basic form, it becomes a symbolic representation of good and evil, of which the characters must confront. Finally, it progresses the plot of each selection it is a part of, as well as guides the development of the protagonists’ moral compass. Each of these assertions can be evidenced in the works of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Ann Chopin’s “The Awakening”, and Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”.

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provides a comical but accurate critique of the inanity of American Society. The two main characters, Huck and Jim, constantly find themselves in danger and distress anytime they come in contact with man’s realm. However, when they are alone in nature, they are free to be themselves and they feel content and peaceful. This can be evidenced in Huck’s words to Jim as he states “We said there warn't no home like a raft. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty...

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