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CHARACTER ANALYSIS (continued)
Polly is Tomís generous guardian and aunt; Sid and Mary live with her as well. Concerned with religion and health, she is a middle-aged lady with a soft heart. Although Tom troubles and torments her, she is unable to take a very tough stand and punish him, for she loves him dearly and constantly remembers that he is her own dead sisterís son. Each time she lets Tom get away without punishment, she is troubled; her conscience pricks her that she is not doing her best in raising him to be a fine southern gentleman.
Aunt Polly is so used to Tomís mischief that even when he is not the culprit, she automatically assumes that it is the source of the trouble. Although she may later realize her mistake, she does not let Tom know, for she does not want him to think she has a soft side. When Tom disappears, she is inconsolable in her grief; she tells everyone that he is not a bad boy, only mischievous. Although time and again her trust in Tom is shaken, Aunt Polly never gives up hope on him.
Becky is the daughter of Judge Thatcher and Tomís classmate in school.
She is new to town, and Tom falls in love with her at first sight. Because
she is wealthy and beautiful, she is confident of her attraction to the
opposite sex. At first she teases and torments Tom as he tries to woo
her. When she spurns him and he goes away, she is miserable and tries
to win him back. When Tom ignores her, she reacts with pride and stubbornness.
Through much of the book, she and Tom go back and forth in a childish
way. When Tom saves her from the teacherís punishment, however, Beckyís
positive feelings towards him solidify. She thinks he is wonderful and
noble. Her admiration for Tom grows further when he saves them from certain
death in the cave. As a result of her experiences with Tom, Becky matures
in the book. She becomes less childish, selfish, and proud.
Joe is a criminal who is hired by Dr. Robinson to rob Hoss Williamsí grave. He gets into an argument with Robinson and kills him. He proves his total evil nature by planting the bloody knife on Muff Potter and accusing him of the murder. Muff is arrested and jailed, while Injun Joe goes free. When Tom bravely testifies that Injun Joe is the murderer, the Indian breaks through the window and runs away. He vows revenge on Tom.
Injun Joe goes into hiding. He then returns to St. Petersburg disguised as a deaf and dumb Spaniard. Tom discovers his identity in the haunted house, where Joe comes with his partner. The two men dig up a box of buried treasure, which Tom and Huck are determined to recover. Tom figures out the "Spaniard" is staying at the tavern in room number 2. He and Huck keep watch on the door to see if they can spy Injun Joe coming or going.
While Tom is on the picnic, Huck keeps watch on door 2. When he sees Injun Joe and his partner leave, Huck follows. He overhears them say they are going to harm the Widow Douglas, because her dead husband had treated Joe poorly. By wanting to hurt an innocent woman, he shows his truly despicable nature. Fortunately, Huck is able to save the widow from harm by summoning the Welshmen, who scare Joe away and into hiding.
When Tom is lost in the cave, he is the last person to see Injun Joe alive. The murderer is obviously hiding himself and his treasure in the cave. When the children escape, Judge Thatcher bars and locks the entrance to the cave, not knowing that Joe is inside. When Tom learns the cave has been locked, he tells the townspeople about Joe. Upon arriving at the cave, the search party finds his body at the entrance. He had obviously tried to dig or cut his way out with his knife. Tom, who hates the evil Indian, regrets that he has had to suffer starvation. But the despicable Joe gets his just rewards.