Becky Thatcher, the daughter of Judge Thatcher, is the new girl in town. Tom falls for Becky instantly in an innocent and childlike version of “love at first sight,” and he spends the rest of the novel courting her favor. Becky’s role in the novel can be attributed to the text’s genre. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a coming-of-age tale, but it is also an adventure tale; Tom sees himself as a heroic figure out of one of his story books and the narrator only encourages the conflation. So, if Tom is Robin Hood, he needs a Maid Marian.
In many ways, Becky is the perfect heroine out of Romantic fiction. She is sweet and beautiful, she is taken with her hero, and she is prone to excessive displays of emotion. However, Twain is careful to show the reader that Becky is more than just her pretty appearance and gentle manners. When provoked, she can be just as clever and calculating as Tom himself. Outraged that Tom has already been “engaged” to Amy Lawrence after he “proposes” to her, Becky launches a campaign to make Tom jealous. Some of her ploys include loudly inviting everyone to a picnic except Tom and Amy, and looking at a picture book with Alfred Temple during recess. These instances reveal that Becky is not merely Tom’s heroine but his equal.