Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Tom Sawyer, the mischievous ringleader of countless boyish adventures, who almost drives his long-suffering aunt to distraction with his pranks. When not fighting with other village urchins, the indolent boy plans numerous romantic and impractical escapades, many of which cost him hours of conscience-stricken torment. If he is not planning misdemeanors on the high seas, he is looking for buried treasure. Although unthinking, he is not really a bad boy; he is capable of generosity and occasionally surprises even himself with magnanimous acts.
Aunt Polly, Tom’s warm, tenderhearted aunt. Sometimes this simple scripture-quoting old soul does not understand her mischievous charge. She uses Tom’s brother Sid as an example of a model youth. Her frequent admonitions, emphasized by repeated thumps on the head with a thimble, fail to have a lasting effect on Tom. Believing herself endowed with subtle guile, she often tries to trap the boy into admitting his pranks. Rarely, however, is she successful. Tom usually manages to outwit her if Sid does not call her attention to certain inexactnesses in Tom’s excuses.
Huckleberry Finn, one of Tom’s best friends and a social pariah to the village mothers, but not to their sons. In the self-sufficient outcast, the boys see everything they want to be. They long for his freedom to do as he pleases. Sometimes, to their regret, the other boys try to emulate their individualistic hero. Carefully, they mark the way he smokes strong tobacco in smelly...
(The entire section is 654 words.)
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