- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
- Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)
- Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn also appear in at least three unfinished Twain works, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians (a sequel to Huckleberry Finn), Schoolhouse Hill (a version of The Mysterious Stranger) and Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy (a sequel to Tom Sawyer, Detective). While all three uncompleted works had been posthumously published, only Tom Sawyer's Conspiracy displays a complete plot and nearly complete story. Twain abandoned the other two works after finishing only a few chapters.
Thomas "Tom" Sawyer, based on the young Samuel Clemens, is a cunning and playful boy of about 12 years of age, and the protagonist of the story. His best friends include Joe Harper and Huckleberry Finn. He has a half-brother, Sid Sawyer, a cousin, Mary, and an Aunt Polly, the sister of his dead mother. He lives with them in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. Also, he has another aunt, Sally Phelps, who lives considerably farther down the Mississippi River, in the town of Pikesville. Tom loves to go on adventures and wants to become an Indian pirate. He fell in love with his classmate Becky Thatcher and was once "engaged" to Amy Lawrence. Tom is imaginative and obsessed with stories. Despite his mischief, Tom is good-hearted and has an active moral code as well.
Sally and Silas Phelps
Tom and Sid's other aunt, Sally Phelps, lives considerably farther down the Mississippi River, in the town of Pikesville. She is married to Silas Phelps.
Mary's mother and Tom and Sid's aunt, the sister of their dead mother. Tom and Sid live with Aunt Polly and her daughter Mary. She does at first seem a bit controlling and abusive, but in spite of the relentless discipline and spiritual guidance she dispenses, she comes off as a caring, noble character. When Tom points out that nobody seems to care about Huck's being alive after they were both presumed dead, Aunt Polly generously gives her love to Huck as well, saying, "And so they shall. I'm glad to see him, poor motherless thing!" and the "loving attentions Aunt Polly lavished upon him were the one thing capable of making him more uncomfortable than he was before". In fact, the last impression we get of Aunt Polly is of a similar nature: "There was something about Aunt Polly's manner when she kissed Tom, that swept away his low spirits and made him lighthearted and happy again". She is a very bright woman and she cares about Tom, Sid, Mary and Huck. She always falls for Tom's pranks but is always able to laugh at herself when she realizes.
Aunt Polly's daughter, and Tom and Sid's cousin. She is gentle and good-natured and has great patience with Tom despite his tricks. It is unsaid whether or not she is older than the siblings, but due to her mature personality we are led to believe so.
Tom's whiny half-brother, who also lives with Aunt Polly and Mary. He behaves well but enjoys getting Tom into trouble and tattles on Tom. He appears to be around nine years old and lies; he also seems to annoy Tom frequently.
Huckleberry "Huck" Finn is the protagonist and narrator of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer Abroad, and Tom Sawyer, Detective. Huck is one of Tom's best friends. After The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Huck describes his own adventure in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, including how he escapes from his drunken, abusive father, and how he met Jim, the runaway slave.
Huck's abusive, drunken father. He had vanished prior to the beginning of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but shows up at the beginning of that story and forcibly takes his son to live with him. He also tries to sue Judge Thatcher to get the six thousand dollars Huck had given the Judge for safekeeping, and confiscates whatever money Huck has in his pocket, using it to get drunk. He is infuriated that his son would try to amount to more than he did and live in better conditions. He demands that Huck quit school, threatening him with whipping. Soon after Huck escapes, Pap Finn leaves to search for him and doesn't return. At the end of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim reveals to Huck that the corpse they found in the abandoned house early in the book was actually that of Huck's father. Pap Finn's backstory is explored in Finn: A Novel (2007), by Jon Clinch.
Joseph "Joe" Harper one of Tom's best friends. He joins Tom and Huck as a pirate when they run away from home to Jacksons Island. He makes a few other small appearances in the novel, including playing Robin Hood in the woods and getting caught not paying attention in class with Tom, but he gradually disappears as the plot of the novel ensues. His mother is Sereny Harper and his sisters are Susan and Faith Harper. He is the first to get homesick while on the island with Tom and Huck.
Injun Joe is the primary antagonist in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. One night, Injun Joe, Dr. Robinson and Muff Potter are in the graveyard to steal a body from a grave for Dr. Robinson, but once Injun Joe and Muff Potter have exhumed the body, they demanded additional money from Dr. Robinson. Injun Joe reminds the doctor of an incident which he says he has not forgotten and then kills him. Injun Joe blames Muff Potter for the murder, but Tom and Huckleberry Finn witnesses the murder, and at Muff Potter's trial, Tom Sawyer testifies that Injun Joe was the killer. Injun Joe runs from the courtroom, leaving Tom in fear of retribution. Eventually, Injun Joe is found dead behind a newly sealed cave entrance, having starved to death.
The Ragged Man
He is an accomplice to Injun Joe while they both try to hide robbery loot and discover coins from John Murrell. About the time of Injun Joe's accidental death in the cave, the body of the "ragged man" is found near the town's water landing-after apparently drowning. His name was Emmett in Disney's 1995 film Tom and Huck.
Jim flees slavery with Huck, who was escaping his drunken father, but he may have chosen to accompany Huck out of mere boredom. Jim hopes to reach the free states and buy his family's freedom. He is polite and good-natured, and accompanies Huck throughout the story. At the end of the book, Tom reveals that his owner had died since they left home, and she had freed Jim in her will. Of Jim, Russell Baker wrote:
- "The people whom Huck and Jim encounter on the Mississippi are drunkards, murderers, bullies, swindlers, lynchers, thieves, liars, mows, frauds, child abusers, numbskulls, hypocrites, windbags and traders in human flesh. All are white. The one man of honor in this phantasmagoria is 'Nigger Jim,' as Twain called him to emphasize the irony of a society in which the only true gentleman was held beneath contempt."
The "King" and the "Duke"
Two con men whom Huck meets in his adventures down the Mississippi and the main antagonists of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They join Huck and Jim on the raft to escape an angry mob that was chasing them out of a town. The younger one initially claims to be the true heir of the Duke of Bridgewater, and the older one the lost son of Louis XVI and the rightful king of France. Thus, Huck refers to them as "the king" and "the duke" throughout the narration of the book. During their time in the story, they collaborate to stage many shenanigans, including pretending to be the brothers of a deceased man so they can steal the money left to them in the will. They are later separated from Huck and Jim, tarred and feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.
Amy is Becky Thatcher's rival for most of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and dislikes Becky. Amy is Tom's first love, but is swept from his thoughts the moment he sees Becky. After a little slip-up from Tom, he returns to Amy to make Becky jealous.
Muff Potter is a drunk friendly fisherman who loves children and is a close friend of Tom and Huck. He often mends the children's kites and helps them fish. Muff Potter is falsely accused of murdering Dr. Robinson at the beginning of the story. In fact, Injun Joe killed the Doctor and managed to convince Muff that he had committed the murder himself.
The doctor who wanted the grave dug up. He was subsequently murdered by Injun Joe, who framed Muff Potter for the crime.
A different character of the same name in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was the only man who recognized that the King and Duke were phonies when they tried to pretend to be British. He warned the townspeople, but they ignored him.
Ben (Benjamin) Rogers
Benjamin "Ben" Rogers is another child, Tom's age. In chapter 2, Tom convinces Ben to whitewash the fence for him. He gives Tom an apple to do so. Tom wants Ben to be in his crew of robbers.
Becky is Judge Thatcher's daughter, known for being Tom Sawyer's love interest. Her long blonde hair is always worn in braids. She wins Tom's love from the first moment he sees her. When she first encounters Tom, she gives him a purple pansy to show her love. She soon becomes engaged to him by swearing to love only him and sealing their engagement with a kiss. When he mentions that he used to be with Amy Lawrence, Becky believes he still loves Amy and gets angry at him. Tom wins her back by telling a lie and takes the whipping for the breaking of their teacher's anatomy book, which she accidentally rips. In Huckleberry Finn she is also referred to as "Bessie". Becky was based on Laura Hawkins, an actual friend of Samuel Clemens.
Although Judge Thatcher plays a minor role in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he plays a substantial role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Judge Thatcher shares responsibility for Huckleberry Finn with the Widow Douglas, and it is to Judge Thatcher that Huckleberry Finn signs over his fortune in order to keep it from his father.
The hated schoolmaster at Tom's school, who has taken the job after failing to become a doctor. He is easily angered and is described as "short-tempered."
- Clinch, Jon (February 18, 2007). "Huck Finn's Tormented Father". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- Hentoff, Nat (November 29, 1999). "Expelling 'Huck Finn'". Insight. Jewish World Review. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- "Sparknotes: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". SparkNotes LLC. 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- "Laura Hawkins". Mark Twain Project Online. The Regents of the University of California. 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Full text in easy-to-read HTML format
- Tom Sawyer Abroad - Full text
- Tom Sawyer, Detective - Full text
- Information about Huck Finn