Which characters in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are examples of ethnic or gender stereotypes? In what way are they stereotypes?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Rather than stereotypes, it is useful to view the characters in Tom Sawyer as types. The difference? Many of the characters in the novel can be summed up as stereotypical, but Twain brings them to so much life that they seem to live, rather than just being the shallow things...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Rather than stereotypes, it is useful to view the characters in Tom Sawyer as types. The difference? Many of the characters in the novel can be summed up as stereotypical, but Twain brings them to so much life that they seem to live, rather than just being the shallow things that stereotyped characters usually are. That said, Injun Joe is a stereotype of period prejudice. Mary, Aunt Polly's daughter, is mostly gender stereotypes. Becky Thatcher is more than just a stereotype, but her appearance is that of standard female beauty. Joe Harper is a standard period adventurer, and the Model Boy is explicitly held up as a type of proper behavior for boys.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team