The young protagonist of the novel. Living with his aunt St. Petersburg, Missouri, Tom has a penchant for adventure and "showing off." Constantly getting into mischief, he plays hooky from school and would rather go swimming than tend to his Sunday school lessons. Blessed with an active imagination, Tom dreams to be a noble robber such as Robin Hood or a pirate. Hungry for attention, Tom is obsessed with appearing noble and obtaining the envy of his peers. However, Tom is extremely clever and possesses an incredible insight on human nature. Throughout the novel, Tom must learn to listen to his conscience and become accountable for his actions.
The town's social pariah. Son of an abusive and drunkard father who left town, Huck has failed to have been raised with any parental guidance or authority figures. Because he can smoke a pipe and never has to attend church or school, he is the envy of every schoolboy and the nightmare of every mother in town. Huck and Tom often have adventures and both believe in various superstitions. Although disregarded by the "sociables," Huck possesses a kind spirit and consideration for others.
Tom's somewhat elderly aunt and guardian. Religious, simple-mannered, and kind-hearted, Aunt Polly is respected among the citizens of St. Petersburg. Responsible for Tom's discipline and upbringing, Aunt Polly is constantly torn between expressing her exasperation and showing her lover for Tom. Every time he causes trouble, another hair on her head turns gray; she often wishes Tom would behave properly like his brother, Sid.
Tom's younger half-brother. Always trying to tattle on Tom, Sid keeps a close on eye his brother's wrongdoings. A goody-two-shoes, he is a punctual and studious pupil.
Tom's older cousin who resides with Aunt Polly. Mary is depicted as a sweet and good-hearted young lady who sees the good qualities in Tom's character. Religious and pious, Mary was an exceptional student the opposite of Tom.
The daughter of Judge Thatcher. Becky is Tom's age and has recently moved into town. Prim and proper, Becky is the opposite of Tom: she has never been in trouble and is used to obeying her mother's words. With blonde hair and dressy frocks, she quickly wins Tom's affection and attention.
Becky's father. A proud and well-respected man of justice, whose family has recently moved into town.
Becky's mother, wife of the Judge.
The antagonist of the novel. Guilty of several murders, Injun Joe possess a violent temperament 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 and is pursued by the village authorities.
The town drunk who is framed for the murder of Dr. Robinson. Although his kind nature and drunken state make him harmless, Potter is persecuted by the entire town that believes that he is a murderer.
Mr. Jones/Old Welshman
The old Welshman who lives with his two strong sons in the vicinity of Widow Douglas's house. With Huck's help, the Welshman is able to come to the widow's aide.
A rich, upper-class widow. With a kind spirit and a devotion to the Christian faith, the widow Douglas is known for her open hospitality and good nature. She also appears as a major character in Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The young doctor, guilty of grave robbing, whose murder instigates the chaotic happenings in St. Petersburg.
Tom's bosom friend. One of Tom's "gang" of pirates, Joe accompanies Tom on some of his adventures.
Tom Sawyer's former girlfriend, whom he occasionally flirts with and was previously "engaged" to.
A well-dressed boy whom Tom thinks is snobby. Alfred also vies for Becky Thatcher's attention.
The schoolmaster. Hated by all the children, Mr. Dobbins is depicted as a stern and pathetic man who uses lashings as a method of discipline.
The Sunday School Superintendent who issues Bibles to the top students.
The long-winded minister.
A young boy who is Tom's friend.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Clemens used his own childhood and boyhood friends as sources for his characters. He modeled his characters and their adventures on things he experienced growing up.... the townspeople, the celebrations, the superstitions, as well as some...
Huck is planning on entering a cemetery at midnight to perform a witch's ritual to cure warts. Tom and Huck discuss the merits of various superstitions and strange chants before they agree to meet later that night to go to the cemetery together.