Miss Watson

Miss Watson, one of mother figures in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is the strict, old, obnoxious sister of Huck's main guardian, the Widow. Joining in the mission to civilize Huck, she uses a much more severe approach. Huck describes one of his encounters with her - "Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me now, with a spelling-book. She worked me middling hard for about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up. I couldn't stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say,"Don't put your feet up there, Huckleberry;" and "Don't scrunch up like that, Huckleberry- set up strait;" and pretty soon she would say,"Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry- Why don't you behave?"(3). She also tries to make him dress in a more respectable way - "Well, I got a good going-over in the morning, from old Miss Watson,on the account of my clothes;"(13). Her constant nagging eventually leads to Huck wanting to runaway again, a sentiment we begin to see when he complains -"Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome and lonesome"(4).

In addition to civilizing him, she also attempts to instill religion. Unfortunately she loses her credibility with Huck when she explains the benefits of praying - "Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing came of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it"(13). Unable to see any tangible benefits of religion, Huck cannot help but dismiss it. Where the Widow tries to portray a benevolent view of religion to get Huck to accept it, Miss Watson, in last resort attempt to regain her credibility, uses scare tactics -"Sometimes the widow would take me to one side and talk about Providence in a manner that would make my mouth water; but maybe the next day Miss Watson would take hold and knock it all down again"(14). Miss Watson tries to scare Huck into believing by telling him about how he was going to Hell, or the "bad place," unless he changed his ways.

Since Miss Watson functions as a reformer and mother figure, she can be associated with the following characters:

Mary Fairbanks