The narrator of the story, a boy aged around fourteen who suffered at the
hands of his alcoholic father in the fictitious town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. He has a series of adventures during which he makes studies on human nature and of the southern society. As the story
develops he slowly lays aside the values, which have been instilled in him, and adopts a more moral attitude to those around him, particularly to the slave Jim whom he helps to set free.
Jim is a house slave of Miss Watson and when he overhears her negotiating
his sale to a plantation down the river, he decides to escape.
Jim is upset at having to leaving his wife and two children, but his aim is to earn enough money in the Free states to buy their freedom. He is perhaps the novel’s most complex character showing a great deal of common sense and intelligence during the course of his adventures with Huck. The reader becomes very sympathetic towards Jim and suffers along with him the pains inflicted by the white dominant society around him. He becomes a father figure to Huck and helps him to mature morally.
The Duke and the Dauphin
We never find out these two rascals correct identities, but they turn out to
be evil and selfish, illustrated by the fact they callously separate a slave family and sell Jim for $40.00. The Duke claims to be the Duke of Bridgewater from England and the Dauphin claims to be the long
lost son of Louise XVI.
It is clear that Huckleberry Finn is the sequel to the Adventures of Tom
Sawyer, which was narrated by Tom himself.
He is a foil to Huck and the two together at the beginning of the book make an excellent partnership. Tom loves to take part in make-believe adventures reliving chapters he has read from European Romantic novels. Twain hates this type of literature and uses this novel to criticize such works.
Huckleberry’s drunken father, who has a ghastly appearance due mainly to the
abuse he has inflicted on himself over all his adult life, appears at the beginning of the novel. He is illiterate and wishes his son to be the same, being angry when he finds out that Huck has been attending
He only uses his son in order to obtain money so that he can feed his drinking habit. He ends up kidnapping Huck who has to fake his own murder to make his escape and for which Pap is almost lynched. Jim eventually finds Pap dead on an abandoned houseboat.
Widow Douglas and Miss Watson
These two sisters live in a large house in St. Petersburg.
They take it upon themselves to civilize Huckleberry Finn. They feel this is their duty. Widow Douglas adopted Huck at the end of the last novel. Both sisters have strong hypocritical religious views and their only redeeming feature is the fact that they care what happens to Huckleberry Finn. Miss Watson obviously feels guilty at the way she treated her slave Jim and frees him in her Will.