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Tom Melbourne - Character Profile

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

One of Sam's classmates, Tom is a potential friend and love interest.

Athletic, determined, and outwardly confident, he was born and raised in Unalaska, Alaska, the biggest city in the remote Aleutian Islands. After graduating from high school as the valedictorian of his graduating class, he received an athletic scholarship which allowed him to study at Ambrose College in New York.

Naïve, innocent, and perhaps a bit too trusting, Tom is athletic, outgoing (although he can be overwhelmed by crowds), and curious about his surroundings.

Tom acts as Sam's foil in many different ways: while Sam is talkative, over the top, obsessed with the theatre, and isn't sure what he really wants to do with his life despite being in law school, Tom is calm, collected, and focused on academics as well as athletics.

Tom and his brother Herman are of mixed Aleut, Russian, and English descent. His father, Fred, is 3/4 Aleut, and 1/4 Russian, while his mother, Charlotte, is of English descent.

The Melbournes' Russian ancestor, Innokenti Vladimirovich Mayakov (which was later anglicized to "Melbourne"), was a fur trader who settled in the Aleutian Islands and married into the Aleutian culture.

Tom's Aleut name, given to him by his father, is Hakuugii, "being above the seashore." His brother Herman's Aleut name is Ataqan, or "one."

Birthday: January 15, 1901

Watch the following video from our podcast, "Nuts and Bolts of Writing," to learn more about Tom:

Check out this podcast episode where I discuss a short story I wrote about Tom, "Stillness":

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