Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
February 5, 2003
Mark Twain\'s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is written from the view point of the boy Huckleberry Finn., who tells about the adventures he is having on the Mississippi River with a runaway slave, whose name is Jim. It becomes apparent early in the book that there are a couple of people who play major roles in Huck\'s life. One is Jim and the other is Tom Sawyer, the person Huck wishes he could be like. Throughout the story references occur that illustrate Huck’s desire to be more like his friend Tom.
Tom Sawyer is a leader to Huck from the very beginning of the book, when Huck is living with the Widow Douglas. She is raising Huck because his father is a drunk and is not in the area. Huck is doing fine living with the Widow Douglas for a while, but he soon becomes aggravated with her way of life. Huck does not like having to stay clean all the time and having to wear neat clothes. He also doesn\'t appreciate her attempting to civilize and cultivate him, so he puts on his old rags and leaves. Tom Sawyer is the one who is able to convince Huck to come back to the widow and "be respectable" (p. 1). Huck wants to be a part of Tom\'s gang, so he agrees to go back. It takes a certain type of person to make Huck willing to go home because it is a lifestyle he really doesn\'t like. Tom is the one who has that kind of control and influence in Huck’s life.
Another reason that Huck looks up to Tom as a role model is that Huck feels Tom is more intelligent than himself. Huck is amazed by how brilliant Tom is. "What a head for just a boy to have! If I had Tom Sawyer\'s head I wouldn\'t trade it off to be a duke, nor mate of a steamboat, nor clown in a circus, nor nothing I can think of" (p. 236). It isn\'t simply that Tom is smarter. It is that Tom often makes Huck feel he isn\'t as smart. One example is when the two boys are trying to free Jim. Huck doesn\'t understand why they have to do things the hard way. That is when Tom says, "Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as you I\'d keep still" (p. 243). Tom also says, "Why, hain\'t you ever read any books at all?" (p. 242). It is true that Tom has more schooling than Huck, and this also plays a role into Huck\'s belief that Tom is smarter. Even when Tom\'s ideas seem silly to Huck, he still believes that Tom is correct. Huck feels that he just doesn\'t have enough knowledge to understand Tom\'s “intellectual” ideas. Huck also looks up to Tom because he has a better family background than himself. Tom\'s family isn\'t aristocratic, but compared to Huck\'s family it is, and it\'s "worth as much in a man as it is in a horse" (p. 108). Huck\'s only family is his drunk father who never has any money. Huck\'s father even agreed that some people were born "better" than others. Huck sometimes wishes that he came from a better family, like Tom\'s.
Huck desires Tom\'s companionship on the adventures throughout the book. The first time Huck wishes Tom is there is when Huck fakes his own death. When Huck is finishing up his own "murder", he says, "I did wish Tom Sawyer was there." (p. 35). Another time is when Huck and Jim see the steamboat that has wrecked. Jim does not want to explore the boat, but Huck on the other hand finds it to be an adventure. Huck says that there is no way to go by the wreck because "do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing? Not for pie, he wouldn\'t. He\'d call it an adventure . . ." (p. 69). Huck continues by saying, "I wish Tom Sawyer was here." (p. 70).
Tom is always able to glorify things that aren\'t so great and make them exciting. Tom knows just how to add color to their "adventures" to make them better. This was a
View Full Essay