Tom Sawyer Character Analysis

An analysis of the characters in Tom Sawyer.

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

                                                By: Mark Twain

Characters: Tom Sawyer-The novel’s main character. Tom is a mischievous boy with a great imagination who spends most of the time getting him trouble. Tom has a good heart and respects other people’s feeling. He starts to become more and more mature as the story progresses.

                  Aunt Polly- She is Tom’s aunt and guardian. Aunt Polly is a nice lady but she can be mean and strict at times. Overall Aunt Polly just wants to be loved by the most important people in her life at the moment, Sid and Tom.

                   Becky Thatcher- Becky Thatcher is a beautiful young girl who goes to the same school as Tom. Tom begins to start having feelings about Becky and then ask to marry him. Everything goes smoothly until she finds out that Tom married this girl named Amy beforehand. They both have a close relationship to one another.

                   Joe Harper- Joe is one of Tom’s best friends. They both have a great imagination and enjoy going on different adventures with each other. As the story progresses, Huck starts to get jealous thinking that Tom chooses Joe over him.

                   Huck Fin- Huck is Tom’s best friend and fellow adventurer. Abandoned by his drunken father, he lives on his own and by his own rules. Huck is very laidback and independent. Most adults disapprove of him and other children envy him for his freedom.

                  Sid- Tom’s younger half-brother. Always trying to tattle on Tom, Sid keeps a close on eye his brother’s wrongdoings. He makes everyone think that he is a goody two shoes but he actually acts very wrongly at times.

                  Mary- Tom’s older cousin who lives with Aunt Polly and helps take care of the boys. A sweet and open-minded young woman, she tries to see the good in Tom’s behavior and keep peace in the house.

                 Injun Joe-The antagonist of the novel. Guilty of several murders, Injun Joe has a violent temper and is set on seeking revenge on those who have treated him harshly in the past. He attempts to frame Muff Potter for one of his own crimes too.

                Muff Potter-A friend of Injun Joe. Potter is kind and grateful toward Tom and Huck, who bring him presents after he is wrongly jailed for a murder. During Potter’s trail Tom decides to speak the truth about who was the one who actually murdered Dr.Robinson.

Setting: This book takes place in a poor little shabby village on St.Petersburg during the time period of 1836 through 1846.

Theme(s): Friendship- Tom’s friends look up to him because he is so imaginative and adventurous. Tom has a great relationship with Huck. He admires Huck for his freedom from adults, and he knows that his friendship with Huck makes him appear daring and dangerous. Tom also cares about Huck. When the boys return from their pirating adventure to attend their own funerals everyone else is with their families but Huck is standing there with no one to welcome him home. Tom tells Aunt Polly that “it ain’t fair. Somebody’s got to be glad to see Huck.”


                   Imagination-Tom Sawyer’s imagination rules his life and changes his world. He always tries to make a game out of life, such as looking for buried treasure or organizing his friends into pirates. Tom and his friends also play Robin Hood by reciting dialogue that they memorized from the book.         


Timeline: Beginning- Aunt Polly punishes Tom for playing hookey by making him whitewash their entire fence. Tom shows his smarts by tricking other boys to whitewash it for him.

                  Sunday School- Tom goes to Sunday school and steals other people’s tickets so he can get a bible. Later he meets the love of his life, Becky Thatcher. They decided to get engaged by after Becky found out that Tom was engaged to someone else named Amy before, she got angry got ran away.

                  The Night- Tom follows Huck Fin to the graveyard at night to try a cure for warts. At the graveyard they start to see other people there too. The both of them decided to hide in the bushes. They end up witnessing the murder of Dr. Robinson by Injun Joe. Scared, Tom and Huck run away.         

            Running Away Pirates-Tom, Huck, and Tom’s friend Joe Harper run away to an island to become pirates. The town starts to sound the river for their bodies. Tom sneaks back home one night to see how his family is reacting. After Tom realizes that his family is extremely sad, he decides to show up at his own funeral to surprise them.

                  Treasure Hunting-Tom and Huck go hunting for buried treasure in a haunted house. After roaming around the house realize that other people are there too. Peering through holes in the floor, they see Injun Joe enter the house disguised as a deaf and mute Spaniard. He and his partner plan to bury some stolen treasure of their own.

                 Tom and Becky Escape- Tom and Becky go on a picnic to McDougal’s Cave. They end up getting lost in the cave. Tom and Becky start to run out of food and struggle to survive. Looking for a way out of the cave, Tom happens to see Injun Joe who is using the cave as a hideout. Tom ends up finding a way out of the cave. The town celebrates, and Judge Thatcher locks up the cave. Injun Joe, who is trapped inside, starves to death.

                  The End- Tom takes Huck to the cave and they find the box of gold. The both of them happily take the box and are now the richest people in town. Huck ends up getting adopted by Widow Douglas. At the end of the story, Huck tries to escape from Widow Douglas but Tom makes a deal with him saying that if he stays he gets to join his robber band.

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