The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Character Profiles

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  1. Huck

    Huckleberry Finn is the main character and narrator of the story. Without a mother and with an often absent (and drunk) father, he is basically an orphan who lives with Miss Watson and the Widow Douglas. Leaving the conservative clutches of the home, Huck chooses to flee society and enter the natural world, where he feels most at home. When he and Jim cross paths in the wilderness, the two decide to travel together, and both use a raft to escape the bondage of the land.
  2. Tom

    Tom appears in the beginning and end of the novel. Like Huck, he enjoys the outdoors. Unlike Huck, however, he comes from an honorable, civilized family, and due to the monotony of such a stable living arrangement, he must invent adventures to keep his mind occupied. Tom is just as clever as Huck, and the two are best friends.
  3. Jim

    Jim is the escaped slave of Ms. Watson who encounters Huck in the wilderness and agrees to travel with him down the Mississippi. Though Jim is often ignorant and child-like, the profound feelings he expresses for his family and his overall persona prove to Huck (and the reader) that he is just as entitled to liberty as any white person. Jim, however, is trained by society, and though he believes he deserves freedom, also considers himself inferior to whites.
  4. Ms. Watson/Widow Douglas

    These sisters are Huck's caretakers. They largely come to represent the romantic attitudes of the nineteenth century American South. Their hypocritical religious values are also exposed, particularly in the beginning of the story, when they interact most with Huck.
  5. Judge Thatcher

    Judge Thatcher is the genuinely fair and impartial local judge who is entrusted with Huck's six thousand dollars. He plays a minor role in the book but he is generally heralded as the typical good-guy.
  6. Pap

    Huck's father is the ruthless, corrupt and often drunk figure who darts in and out of his son's life. He is opposed to Huck's educational pursuits and is basically the stereotypical Southern racist. He almost kills Huck on at least one occasion, causing the boy to flee into the wilderness. Shortly thereafter, Jim finds the man's dead body on an abandoned houseboat.
  7. Shepherdsons and Grangerfords

    These feuding families are encountered by Huck midway through the book. Twain uses them in his general indictment of American society, especially in regards to the hypocrisy of religion (the families attend church together but have no qualms about shedding each other's blood afterwards).
  8. King and Duke

    These comical, though genuinely ruthless villains force Huck and Jim to accompany them on their own travels down the Mississippi. Time and time again, they dupe the local townspeople into some scheme, always involving shady moneymaking activities. In the end, however, these two characters meet justice when they are tarred and feathered for their scheming.
  9. Wilks family

    This unfortunate family nearly becomes the victim of one of the king and duke's grandest schemes. Expecting the arrival of Peter Wilks' two English brothers, the family is easily convinced that the king and the duke really are these long-lost kinsfolk. Luckily Huck helps Mary Jane and the others realize their mistake, and the two con men don't manage to escape with the money.
  10. Aunt Sally and Silas Phelps

    The Phelps family appears near the end of the novel. They are Tom's relatives, and interact with Huck, Tom and Jim in the grand finale of the novel. Comically, Aunt Sally is the definite head of the household, with Silas meekly carrying out her orders.