Mark Twain creatively invents many settings throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; each setting effects the characters in different ways. One of the many motifs throughout the novel is the idea of freedom versus slavery. Through various incidents, lifestyles, and character developments taking place on land and water, Mark Twain is able to create two opposing worlds; i.e. one of freedom verses one of enslavement. Twain determines the characters' situations in life in accordance with each location and surroundings. Huck and Jim are constantly moving between these two worlds. For the most part, both are presented with the luxuries of freedom and serenity while on the river, which ends up changing both of their characters for the better. However, it is almost guaranteed that once on land, both encounter enslavement in one form or another, which unfortunately changes their actions in a negative way. Ultimately, Twain employs the literary element, the setting, to convey one of his underlying themes that different places influence different moralities against slavery.
Mark Twain formulates a clear distinction between the land and the river by consistently placing similar events in the same places. Twain commonly chooses the shore to be the location of the harsh and more violent scenes; whereas, it is on the river that both Huck and Jim are able to enjoy the peaceful moments. On the raft they often, "watch the stars that fell, and see them streak down" or "maybe...hear a fiddle or a song."(p.107) The most disagreeable thing that tended to happen on the river was an occasional storm or fog that rolled in over night. The shore, on the other hand, had quite different connotations throughout the book. Huck and Jim, almost without fail, are faced with some sort of trouble whenever they leave the safety of their raft.