Comparison of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

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Comparison of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

This essay will compare and contrast the characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, as portrayed in Mark Twain’s novels. It will discuss the differences in their personalities, backgrounds, and moral compasses. The piece will analyze how each character embodies different aspects of childhood and societal expectations. It will also explore how their adventures and experiences reflect on themes of freedom, morality, and societal norms. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Huckleberry Finn.

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Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are two of the most memorable characters created by Mark Twain. In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are best friends who go on adventures basing them from plays and stories that Tom has read in adventure novels. Tom and Huck are similar in a few ways. They are both teenage boys around the same age who live in the same part of Missouri. They both love to fish and go on adventures.

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Neither of them lives with their parents. Tom lives with his aunt Polly and Huck lives with Widow Douglass and Miss Watson. Even though the boys are alike in ways like their age and hometown, their differences outweigh their similarities.

Difference Between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are different from each other in every way. Tom was raised in a family where he was forced to attend school as soon as he was of age to do so. Huck did not grow up in a family where they forced him to go to school. The only time he went to school was when Widow Douglas tries to “”civilize”” him after finding the money with Tom. Huck attended school for about a year or so where he learned to read and write before his father came along and took him away from Widow Douglas forcing him to stop attending school. Another way they are different from each other is the household they live in. Tom lives with his aunt Polly who tolerates his pranks and foolish ways. Huck on the other hand lives with Widow Douglas and Miss Watson who are constantly telling him what to do, how to do it, and how to act. A good example would be when Miss Watson made Huck learn how to spell and he started getting fidgety. Miss Watson would say “Don’t put your feet up there, Huckleberry””; and “”don’t scrunch up like that, Huckleberry””set up straight””. “Don’t gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry” why don’t you try to behave?” (pg.121) When they aren’t telling him what to do, they are nagging at him to quit smoking and cussing.

One of the main differences between Tom and Huck are the way they act. Tom is a simple-minded, selfish boy. He can be intelligent at times but, he only uses it when it can benefit himself. Tom lives for adventure, and he will do whatever it takes to have one, no matter who can get hurt or what the outcome is. Huck is the opposite of Tom. At the beginning of the story, Huck is much like Tom. He lies, cheats, and steals to make his way down the river. He goes on crazy adventures with Tom, and always gets in trouble. But unlike Tom, Huck has a good conscience. It is no doubt that Tom is a bad influence on Huck. When Huck fakes his death and runs into Jim, Huck starts to realize that he is helping a slave. But as time goes by, Huck realizes that Jim should be treated with respect just like everyone else.

How are Tom and Huckleberry Finn Similar?

When he was away from Tom, Huck started to see his moral values, and that is what meant a lot to Huck. He cared about getting Jim free and keeping him safe. Tom, on the other hand, didn’t care about Jim’s safety. A good example of this is at the end of the novel when Tom and Huck have to free Jim from the chains. Huck thought of a plan to keep Jim safe by lifting the bedstead and slip off the chains, but Tom did not agree with Huck’s plan. Tom wanted to saw Jim’s leg off. Tom said “”Whoever heard of getting a prisoner loose in such an old-maidy way as that? No; the way all the best authorities does, is to saw the bed leg in two, and leave it just as so, and swallow the sawdust, so it can’t be found, and out some dirt and grease around the saw place so the very keenest seneschal can see no sign of it being sawed and thinks the bed leg is perfectly sound. Then, the night you are ready, fetch the leg a kick, down she goes, slip off your chain, and there you are””. (269) All Huck wants to do is free Jim and get him to safety but Tom only cares about the adventure and himself.

As I have stated before, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are similar in some ways, but they are more different than anything like their families, lifestyle, and education. Huck grew up in a rough environment. His father was the town drunk who would disappear for months at a time. He wore raggedy clothes, tight shoes, and had to fend for himself when it came to food. He didn’t have an education and was often looked at as an outcast to society. But, Huck was also simple, had common sense, and a good conscience. Tom wears nice clothes, eats well, attends school and church. He knows how to read and write, and he has a family who loves him. But Tom loves causing trouble and playing pranks on people. Tom and Huck are two very different people, which is probably what makes them such good friends. Tom aspires to be Huck and Huck aspires to be Tom. They both love adventures but besides that Huck learns about respect and how to treat others while Tom doesn’t care about anyone but himself. As time goes on, I think Huck will try to teach Tom how to grow up, treat others, and learn to be more appreciative.

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Comparison of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. (2020, May 02). Retrieved from