Character List TOM SAWYER

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Character List
Tom Sawyer The main character of the novel. Everything revolves around him, and, except for a few
brief chapters, he is present in every chapter.
Aunt Polly Tom's aunt and legal guardian. She loves Tom dearly, but she does not know how to
control him.
Sidney Tom's half brother who plays the role of the obedient boy but who is, in reality, a sneak and a
tattletale.
Mary Tom's cousin. She likes Tom very much but wants to change him and resorts to bribing him to
be good.
Becky Thatcher The pretty new girl to whom Tom is attracted. When trapped in the cave, she proves
to be resolute and worthy of Tom's affections.
Huckleberry Finn (Huck) The son of the town drunk, Huck has been the outcast from society his
entire life. The adults look upon him as a disgrace and a bad influence; the youngsters look at him
with envy because he has complete freedom to do whatever he likes.
Widow Douglas The wealthiest person in the town, she is good, kindhearted, and generous.
Because of her nature, Injun Joe's planned revenge--mutilating her--becomes that much more
horrible. She is saved by the activities of Huck Finn and becomes his guardian.
Injun Joe He is the villain, the essence of evil in the novel.
Muff Potter The harmless old drunk who is framed for Dr. Robinson's murder (which was actually
committed by Injun Joe).
Joe Harper Tom's closest friend and second in command in Tom's adventures. He is not as clever as
Tom is, nor is he the leader that Tom is. On Jackson's Island, Joe is the first to want to return to the
security of home.
Judge Thatcher (and Mrs. Thatcher) Becky's parents who are highly esteemed members of the
community. The Judge uses his authority to seal up the opening to the cave to protect other
youngsters and, in doing so, inadvertently seals up Injun Joe.
Mr. Dobbins The schoolmaster. At the end of the school year, the entire school conspires to play a
trick on him.
Mr. Walters The Sunday school superintendent who is overly dedicated to his job.
The Reverend Mr. Sprague The pastor of the village church.
Alfred Temple A new boy from St. Louis. Becky uses him to make Tom jealous.
Willie Mufferson The "model boy" for all of the parents and a despicable creature to all the boys.
Amy Lawrence Tom's sweetheart--until he meets Becky Thatcher.
Dr. Robinson The young doctor who is murdered while trying to obtain a body for medical studies.
Mr. Jones (or the Welshman) He and his sons are instrumental in saving the Widow Douglas from
the vicious Injun Joe.
Character Sketch Of Tom Sawyer
Tom is a character of unflagging energy and a real zeal for trickery. He can con and schmoze his way
out of any situation. When the novel begins, Tom is a mischievous child who envies Huck Finn’s lazy
lifestyle and freedom. As Tom’s adventures proceed, however, critical moments show Tom moving
away from his childhood concerns and making mature, responsible decisions. These moments
include Tom’s testimony at Muff Potter’s trial, his saving of Becky from punishment, and his heroic
navigation out of the cave. By the end of the novel, Tom is coaxing Huck into staying at the Widow
Douglas’s, urging his friend to accept tight collars, Sunday school, and good table manners. He is no
longer a disobedient character undermining the adult order, but a defender of respectability and
responsibility. In the end, growing up for Tom means embracing social custom and sacrificing the
freedoms of childhood.
Yet Tom’s development isn’t totally coherent. The novel jumps back and forth among several
narrative strands: Tom’s general misbehavior, which climaxes in the Jackson’s Island adventure; his
courtship of Becky, which culminates in his acceptance of blame for the book that she rips; and his
struggle with Injun Joe, which ends with Tom and Huck’s discovery of the treasure. Because of the
picaresque, or episodic, nature of the plot, Tom’s character can seem inconsistent, as it varies
depending upon his situation. Tom is a paradoxical figure in some respects—for example, he has no
determinate age. Sometimes Tom shows the naïveté of a smaller child, with his interest in makebelieve and superstitions. On the other hand, Tom’s romantic interest in Becky and his fascination
with Huck’s smoking and drinking seem more the concerns of an adolescent.
Aunt Polly Character Analysis
Aunt Polly can be a big old pain in Tom's neck. She scolds Tom. Sometimes she even hits him with
her thimble (a punishment that seems extremely humane when compared to the schoolmaster's
wicked beatings). But who can blame her? Tom does get into a lot of trouble. He skips school
constantly. He goes missing for days, is presumed dead, and then reappears, happy as a clam, at his
own funeral. Ask yourself: do you think your mom would act so chill?
Truth is, Aunt Polly's pretty cool, considering what Tom puts her through. She can be a bit foolish
sometimes, what with her miracle cures, superstitions, and feeble attempts to ensnare Tom, but her
foibles are endearing. And she demonstrates her love for Tom so many times that you can't help but
love her too.
Becky Thatcher Character Analysis
Becky Thatcher is Tom's love interest. Tom is obsessed with her. Heck, he starts to "'show off' in all
sorts of absurd and foolish ways," from the moment he sees her (1.12). But their relationship is really
just one of those hot-and-cold schoolyard romances. One minute Becky is in love with Tom, the next
she's crying. When she and Tom get lost in the cave, she does little more than pout and cry and
collapse from fatigue.
She does occasionally show a bit of spunk, putting Tom down with a brilliant comeback or, in her
shining moment, pretending to read a picture book with Alfred Temple, the snobbiest kid in school, in
order to get back at Tom. But she never gets the chance to shine on her own. As such, she feels a bit
too much like an object sometimes; she less an equal of Tom's than an idol for him to worship.
Huckleberry Finn Character Analysis
Huck Finn means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Most of the adults in St.
Petersburg think he's a menace to society; he's "cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers in
town" (6.43). The kids, on the other hand, wish "they dared to be like him" (6.43). Huck is happy to
accompany Tom on almost any adventure, but here's the thing: Huck, despite his reputation, never
really has much of a say. He agrees to go to Jackson's Island and he helps look for treasure, but it
isn't until the very end of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – when he goes to the Welshman for help –
that Huck really comes out of his shell.
So who is the real Huck? He certainly doesn't seem to be the "idle, and lawless, and vulgar and bad"
kid the townspeople make him out to be. No, we get a closer look at Huck just after he and Tom have
found Injun Joe dead drunk on the floor of the haunted room. After running away to a safe place, the
boys say good night to each other:
[Tom:] "That's all right. Now, where you going to sleep?"
[Huck:] "In Ben Rogers's hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap's nigger man, Uncle Jake. I tote
water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants me to, and any time I ask him he gives me a little something
to eat if he can spare it. That's a mighty good nigger, Tom. He likes me, becuz I don't ever act as if I
was above him. Sometime I've set right down and eat with him. But you needn't tell that. A body's got
to do things when he's awful hungry he wouldn't want to do as a steady thing." (28.31-2)
In this one moment, Huck reveals himself to be modest, vulnerable, and caring. He appreciates the
help that he is given by Ben Rogers and Uncle Jake, and he does his best to repay the favor by
helping to tote water when he can. He is embarrassed to admit that he associates so closely with a
slave, but only because there is a social stigma attached. His response to Tom is so bashful and so
guileless, it totally dispels the "bad boy" aura that surrounds him.
Huck character also develops a bit over the course of the book. He's torn up about the Muff Potter
situation, and he's certainly tolerant of his fellow men; he simply has trouble taking action. With Tom's
help, he learns to overcome his shyness and act on his virtuous impulses.
Muff Potter Character Analysis
Though Twain tells us that Huck's father is the "town drunkard," Muff Potter certainly gives Mr. Finn a
run for his money. Indeed, Muff's drunkenness leads him to take up a life of crime with Injun Joe, and
nearly get hanged in the process. In his sorry state, he barely knows what's going on. When Injun Joe
lies and says Muff has stabbed Dr. Robinson to death, Muff doesn't put up a fight. Instead, he blames
his supposed actions – and his inability to remember them – on his drunkenness, and asks Injun Joe
not to rat him out. But Injun Joe does just that.
Muff is certainly the most pitiful character in Tom Sawyer, and his plight gives Tom and Huck the
opportunity to demonstrate their kindness and compassion. They visit him in jail, bring him gifts, and,
eventually save his life. All Muff can do is thank them and warn them to avoid drinking alcohol. In the
end, that's enough. Twain invests him with enough pathos – a fancy Greek word for pitifulness that
we literary types like to use – that Muff Potter sticks with you long after the plot has left him behind.
Joe Harper Character Analysis
Joe Harper is Tom's best friend and partner in crime. Their friendship is really quite simple. The boys
enjoys doing the same things: playing hooky, pretending to be Robin Hood, and just generally having
fun. Joe's role diminishes as the novel goes on, however, and by the time Tom gets to treasurehunting Joe has pretty much fallen off the radar. The question is: why?
For one thing, Joe has no part in Tom and Huck's trip to the graveyard; he does not see Injun Joe
murder Dr. Robinson. It's this traumatic event that brings Tom and Huck together and sets the rest of
the plot in motion. Joe simply isn't there for it. The later parts of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have
so much to do with Injun Joe that it just doesn't make much sense for Twain to add Joe Harper to the
mix. Not to mention, trying to talk about two Joes, one a scary man and the other an innocent boy, at
once gets confusing.
Putting these technical questions aside, here's another consideration: Joe doesn't really have as
much freedom as Tom and Huck. Huck, of course, has no obligations to anyone and Tom, well, he's
Tom…he does what he wants. Joe, however, has the most traditional family structure; he has a
mother and a sister and, one guesses, a father. He also seems to be a bit shyer than Tom and Huck.
When discussing possible career alternatives, Joe's first choice is being a hermit. Kind of a weird
choice for a kid, no? Well, that's the way it is.
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