How are Tom and Huck alike and different, and what is special about each boy?
Here is how the boys compare:
They are both approximately the same age and grew up in the same area in MO. They are best friends and both have a strong liking for adventure. On one adventure, they found treasure, and now each of them has $6000 apiece! Very wealthy young men!
Here is how they contrast:
Tom is a reader; in fact, all of his hare-brained schemes he concots throughout the book are based off of things that he reads in novels. Tom is more concerned with adventure than how the adventures may affect those involved (the trick he plays on Jim with his hat and the 5 cents for the candles). Tom is also from a loving, stable family.
Huck, on the other hand, is barely literate because he has had no family to enforce his going to school. He'd rather be wild and free than be forced to follow any rules. Huck is very concerned about those around him and grows emotionally attached to several of the characters in the book. Huck is very logical and rational--a real 'cut-to-the-chase' kind of guy--no fluff, no extra stuff, just do what you have to do to get it done!
Huck is very influenced by Tom--he stops to help the shipwrecked steamboat because Tom would've done it, when he fakes his death he says he wishes Tom were there to put on the flair and extra touches, and he follows through w/ Tom's ridiculous and insane 'escape' plan!
Tom represents Romanticism (the literary era that is much mocked and satirized throughout the book) and Huck represents Realism (the literary era in which Twain is writing--Romanticism came first).