Huck: Huckleberry Finn is the main character
and narrator of the story.ï¿½ 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.ï¿½ Leaving the conservative clutches of the
home, Huck chooses to flee society and enter the natural world, where he feels most at home.ï¿½ 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.
Tom appears in the beginning and end of the novel.ï¿½ Like Huck, he enjoys the outdoors.ï¿½ 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.ï¿½ Tom is just as clever as Huck, and
the two are best friends.
Jim: Jim is the escaped slave of Ms. Watson who encounters Huck in the wilderness and agrees to travel
with him down the Mississippi.ï¿½ 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.ï¿½ Jim, however, is trained by society, and though he believes he deserves
freedom, also considers himself inferior to whites.
Ms. Watson/Widow Douglas: These sisters are Huck's caretakers.ï¿½ They largely come to represent the romantic
attitudes of the nineteenth century American South.ï¿½ Their hypocritical religious values are also exposed,
particularly in the beginning of the story, when they interact most with Huck.
Judge Thatcher: Judge Thatcher is the genuinely fair
and impartial local judge who is entrusted with Huck's six thousand dollars.ï¿½ He plays a minor role
in the book but he is generally heralded as the typical good-guy.
Pap: Huck's father is the ruthless, corrupt and often drunk figure who darts in and out of his son's
life.ï¿½ He is opposed to Huck's educational pursuits and is basically the stereotypical Southern racist.ï¿½
He almost kills Huck on at least one occasion, causing the boy to flee into the wilderness.ï¿½ Shortly
thereafter, Jim finds the man's dead body on an abandoned houseboat.ï¿½
Shepherdsons and Grangerfords:
These feuding families are encountered by Huck midway through the book.ï¿½ 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).
King and Duke: These comical, though genuinely ruthless
villains force Huck and Jim to accompany them on their own travels down the Mississippi.ï¿½ Time and time
again, they dupe the local townspeople into some scheme, always involving shady moneymaking activities.ï¿½
In the end, however, these two characters meet justice when they are tarred and feathered for their
Wilks family: This unfortunate family nearly becomes
the victim of one of the king and duke's grandest schemes.ï¿½ 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.ï¿½ Luckily Huck helps Mary Jane and the others realize their mistake, and the two con men don't
manage to escape with the money.ï¿½
Aunt Sally and Silas Phelps:
The Phelps family appears near the end of the novel.ï¿½ They are Tom's relatives, and interact with Huck,
Tom and Jim in the grand finale of the novel.ï¿½ Comically, Aunt Sally is the definite head of the household,
with Silas meekly carrying out her orders.