"Tom was a glittering hero once more—the pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging."
- Narrator, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer is an approximately 12-13 year old boy that stars as the titular protagonist of the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. His true blood relatives deceased from unknown circumstances, he is cared for by his Aunt Polly, along with Sid and their family feline.

He is well-known friends with the social outcast Huckleberry Finn and the neighborhood child Joe Harper. Although never told to anyone but the female herself, Tom also has an infatuation with classmate Rebecca Thatcher.

While his main role is seen in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he also has a small role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in which he is applied as foil[1] for Huck and his thinking.


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

In the novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, it opens up to Aunt Polly, scouring the house in desperate search of Tom, before she discovers him in the closet with hands smothered in jam. Knowing he'd receive a whipping, Tom cried out " Look behind you!" to which Polly left her back turned, and gave time for Tom to jump their fence and escape her grasp.

Tom Sawyer is a boy about 12 to 13 and his best friends include Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom's infatuation with classmate Rebecca "Becky" Thatcher is apparent. He lives with his half brother Sid, his cousin Mary, and his stern Aunt Polly in the (fictional) town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. In addition, he has another aunt, Sally Phelps, who lives considerably farther down the Mississippi River, in the town of Pikesville. Tom is the son of Aunt Polly's dead sister.

In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom is only a minor character, and is used as a foil for Huck, particularly in the later chapters of the novel after Huck makes his way to the Phelps plantation. Tom's immaturity, imagination, and obsession with stories put Huck's planned rescue of the runaway slave Jim in great jeopardy — and ultimately make it totally unnecessary, since he knows that Jim's owner has died and freed him in her will. Throughout the novel, Huck's intellectual and emotional development is a central theme, and by re-introducing a character from the beginning (Tom), Mark Twain is able to highlight this evolution in Huck's character.

  1. Foil (Literature): A character who contrasts with a character - usually the protagonist — to highlight particular qualities of the other character. Excerpt from Wikipedia, available under the Creative Commons Public License.
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