A writer uses different characters to evolve a story and convey his idea through their personality. Without characters and their development, the story cannot progress. Some of the major characters in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novel have been discussed below.
Characters in The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn
Huckleberry “Huck” Finn
Huckleberry Finn is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is called Huck throughout the novel. He is good friends with Tom Sawyer. He is the thirteen-year-old. His father is a local drunk and abusive. He is taken care of by Widow Douglas as she tries to ‘civilize’ him. She tries to teach him and helps him to combat his lower-class background. Initially, he lacks much formal education and later agrees to go to school. Huck runs away from his abusive father with Jim, a runaway slave. He begins to respect and care for Jim and understands that he deserves freedom. Huck can be seen as a practical boy and doesn’t understand social views. He learns to adapt to almost any situation using deception. Though he is playful, he is compassionate. With these traits, Huck survives his father’s beatings and other difficulties.
Jim, a runaway slave, and Huck’s companion. He is kind, intelligent and wise. Although he seems superstitious, later Huck notices that Jim has immense knowledge of the world and nature. He is a legitimate slave of Miss Watson and tries to risk his life for freedom from his slavery. Jim eventually becomes Huck’s friend and mentor. Jim shows his kindness by caring and cooking for Huck after the death of his father. In a way, he also takes responsibility as a father during the time with Huck. Jim displays positivity and loyalty as the friendship between him and Huck grows.
Unlike Huck’s background, Tom Sawyer is raised in a good family. He is financially secure and lives a comfortable life. Tom Sawyer’s imagination is highly influenced by society and from his reading of the adventures and romances. He is very stubborn and insists on sticking to the rules and ethical framework of what he read. At times, Huck seems skeptic as he questions authority and thinks out of the box solutions to the problems. Tom shows humor and always desires adventures. Due to his passion for adventure, he makes Jim’s rescue difficult. He plans Jim’s escape for freedom, even though he officially freed by Miss Watson’s last Will.
Pap is Huck’s father with raw emotions of greed, jealousy, and alcohol addiction. He turns his violence toward his son and also intends to use Huck’s fortune for his addiction. However, when he sees Huck defiant, he turns violent. Pap does not undergo any transformation except in the intensity of his violence. Huck becomes indifferent to him due to his abusive behavior and feels comfortable without him. Although his act of locking up Huck seems a technique to stop him, it fails. Huck successfully escapes and sets on the adventures. His presence shows what Huck hates the most, the uncivilized behavior. Huck detests his father’s violence. He also hates social hypocrisy and does not stay satisfied, a habit he seems to have inherited from his father.
Duke and Dauphin
Duke and Dauphin are con men who take the raft by fraud from Huck and Jim. They pretend not to be familiar with each other to impress Jim and Huck. However, Huck figures out the truth despite Jim’s ignorance. Their final fraud comes to light when they sell Jim to Sally and Silas. Their greed for money shows the true face of the corrupt society.
Widow Douglas is Huckleberry Finn’s guardian. She is quite patient and gentle in her demeanor. Therefore, she makes a positive impact on his life. Huck is also kind toward her though he rejects this influence of civilized culture. In fact, he does not want to stick to rules that she wants to instill in him, but Huck eventually is obedient to her rules.
Judith is a minor character yet an important one. She invites Huck when he is dressed as a girl to find out about the town. He enters her house when she talks to him and serves him a snack before leaving. She also testifies that he is a boy through her experience, which impresses Huck.
Colonel Sherburn is an interesting as well as intriguing character. He is a cold-blooded murderer who kills Boggs on a highly flimsy ground. Huck sees this cold-blooded murder and feels afraid. When a mob attacks the colonel, he faces the crowd with defiance and scorns at it saying they are all cowards. It seems that he is an expert in mob psychology.
Sally and Silas Phelps
Sally and Silas are Tom Sawyer’s guardians and relatives. Although they are very reliable and elderly characters, they shamelessly support slavery. Although Tom tricks them into making Jim’s escape possible, they become highly furious over it. Aunt Sally, by the end, invites Huck to be with her to become a civilized person though he politely declines it.
The Grangerfords is a family which meets Huck when he leaves the raft on the river. They treat him very well and give him food and clothes. However, it is interesting that the family is at war with another family. During the struggle, a girl, Miss Sophia, elopes with Harney from their rival family, which leads to a bloody and tragic battle.