The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain - Essay Example

Only on StudentShare

Extract of sample
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain

Slavery vs. freedom is a theme intertwined with identity and takes many forms. The motif of the Italian twins is intertwined with the theme of Tom and Chambers and intelligence is presented alongside stupidity.
The use of twins evolves into a search for identity, which weaves itself throughout the events of the story. Coupled with the search is Twains assertion that each person may mask his identity, but everyone is unique and cannot disguise the true self.
Tom and Chambers, though not twins by blood, are doubles who are contrasted, as well as linked. They were both born on the same day (24) and even the Judge could not tell them apart. Roxy says to Pudd'nhead, "Oh, I kin tell 'em 'part, Misto Wilson, but I bet Marse Percy couldn't, not to save his life" (30). Though they look alike, they are opposites. Tom is cruel and wanton owing to a pampered and dissipated childhood, while Chambers is an upright person, grown strong through hard work and a disciplined upbringing. They are also linked. Tom lives through Chambers; he stole "by proxy" since "Chambers did his stealing" (42).
False Tom, himself, embodies several dualities. He uses two disguises, both of the opposite sex. ...
Download paper


Twain uses twins and duality both as a device of the story and a tool to explore opposites and identity. Among the dualities he uses are the babies switched in the cradle, the Siamese twins Luigi and Angelo, the character of Pudd'nhead Wilson, the Free-Thinker's Society, the rum and anti-rum factions (the Sons of Liberty), the two disguises of Tom's (the young girl and the old woman), and the freethinkers vs…
Author : ffunk

Related Essays

Fences by August Wilson
In a relationship, people should trust each other and appreciate those who are closest to them. ‘Troy is a father and husband who makes the decision derived from human imperfection and outside variables, to commit adultery and become involved in another relationship with a woman. By examining the racial tension of the late nineteen fifties, in combination with Troy's past life experiences and the events that unfold in the play, one can understand Troy's choice to commit adultery’. Troy doesn’t know how to cope with the emotions he has towards his surroundings, so instead of trying to...
6 pages (1506 words) Essay
Mark Twain's fascination with "bad" boys and the impact of this fascination on modern society
As Coleman Parsons points out in The Devil and Samuel Clemens, "In her old age, Jane Lampton Clemens told her son, 'You gave me more uneasiness than any child I had'"(Leary 184). Sam was the rebellious and impulsive child, in contrast to his more obedient brother Henry. Their relationship may serve as the model of contrast we see in such characters as Tom and Sid Sawyer, for example. But a boy does not remain a boy for long; unless of course that boy is Peter Pan or Huck Finn, both embodiments of the eternal child. For boys who do grow up, like Sam Clemens, growing up does not necessarily mean...
12 pages (3012 words) Essay
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
For this reason, we shall be focusing on Mark Twain's account of the life in Mississippi around 1830s to 1860s and also some records given by his contemporaries that help us understand Huckleberry's world. The production and growth of textiles was made possible by the fast and consistent improvement of transportation, the exploitation of natural resources for power, the invention of big industrial machines, and the entry of workers from Great Britain and Europe.
10 pages (2510 words) Book Report/Review
The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra
Unfortunately the characterization of the love, Cleopatra has been association with her affinity towards the land of Egypt and the East. The realization of the fact that Cleopatra and Antony are public figures, and were aware of the fact that it was difficult to conceal from the public the desired course of relationship agreed upon by both the characters.
4 pages (1004 words) Book Report/Review
The Dark Continent by Mark Mazower
However, implicating the "dark" perspective on European history can only serve as a motivation for the systematic work and research of what future Europeans have inherited. As evidenced through the circumstantial hypocrisies and even ignorance to numerous bodies rotting in the European soil is to actually justify any similar action in the future and to side with the most radical of Machiavellisms (Vladanovi, 2005).
4 pages (1004 words) Book Report/Review
Oedipus and the Tragedy of a Common Man
Well before the play begins, a shepherd takes pity on a baby and instead of letting him die delivers him to safety in another kingdom. Rather than any tragic flaw that can be attributed to Oedipus, the tragic consequences that take place within the play—including Oedipus’ killing of his father, marrying his mother and bringing a plague upon Thebes—are directly attributable to the decision made by the shepherd to not allow Oedipus to die as a baby.
3 pages (753 words) Essay
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!