The characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were very similar, yet were also the antithesis of each other. One major similarity between the two was their desire to escape their dreary lives. Tom and Huck were constantly breaking their house rules by going out at all sorts of strange times, like at midnight, to seek fun. The way they accomplished their escapes from town-life, however, were very different. As Huck had no sort of family, he was free to leave whenever he chose, save for Pap, who kidnapped him.
Even then, Huck was able to leave without people making a big fuss about it. Huck left by faking his death and as a result escaped town life for a free, vagabond life. Tom, on the other hand, was not able to leave whenever he chose, and therefore had to use his imagination to escape the doldrums of town life. As a result, ideas like the Tom Sawyer gang formed. Tom’s imagination separated him from Huck, Tom was very imaginative and able to dream up schemes such as the one to “rescue” Jim whereas Huck was more pragmatic, and arrived at simpler solutions.
One example was how to free Jim; Huck’s solution for freeing Jim involved just stealing the keys and freeing him, while Tom preferred to create additional problems such as adding snakes and spiders, to make the rescue a fun adventure. Even though Tom’s imagination was livelier than Huck’s, both the characters were quick-witted. Huck showed his quick wits when he fooled the slave hunters into not searching his raft. Huck insinuated that his family had smallpox, knowing that the men would not get near a raft with infected people on board.
Due to his quick wit, Jim escaped capture at the hands of the slave hunters. Tom also had quick wits, and he showed them when his solution to Tom Sawyer already being at the Phelps’ was to pretend to be Sid Sawyer. In addition to being quick-witted, but Tom and Huck were extremely superstitious. Tom’s superstition was that he believed in ghosts. When Huck met him on the way from the ferryboat landing to the Phelps’ farm, Tom thought that he was seeing a ghost.
Huck also had many superstitions, such as a loaf of bread filled with mercury will find dead bodies, killing a spider was bad luck, and that if you spilt salt, you had to throw some over your right shoulder. A major difference between the two that highlighted their maturity levels was their reasons for freeing Jim from the Phelps’. Huck wanted to free Jim because Jim was his friend, and Huck also knew how much Jim wanted to see his family. Tom on the other hand, knew that Jim was a free man, yet agreed to free him because he sought adventure.
Because of this desire, Tom created many dangerous situations for Jim; such as wanting to bring in spiders and snakes into Jim’s shack. The risks culminated with Tom, Huck, and Jim being chased by armed men as they ran away and Tom was shot in the process. Due to Tom’s lack of maturity, an avoidable situation was not avoided; had he just told Uncle Silas that Jim was free, Tom would not have been injured, and Jim would not have been tortured by the presence of spiders.