ok. start off, does anyone have any ideas to what Twains stance on slavery was?
Why do we think Twain named his novel after Pudd'nhead Wilson?
Guilt seems to be a theme in the book, who all do you think is guilty?
Hey I have a question:Why is it called "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wison"?
Seeing as there are about 20 people on the inside of the circle, I will post my question here. Here goes: What are some other "twins" in the novel, other than the obvious main characters? For example, my article mentioned that Roxy and Tom were "twins." What is Twain's purpose of "twinninn" characters?
Carley-I think that Twain opposed slavery and slaveholders,though he also thought that some slaveholders, like Judge Driscoll, were decent people.
clewis- because he was assumed to be an idiot the entire time.
Maria,I think that it's really interesting that the book in named after Pudd'nhead Wilson and not Roxy or Tom. I wonder if Puddn'head Wilson is supposed to be each characters "twin"
Based on what I read for the annotated bibliography, Twain named the book after Pudd'nead Wilson because of him being accepted into the community but not at the same time. He is appparently also a twin or something...I got confused.
Ha. Just realized that Sara just shared my question...By the way, there was supposed to be a "g" in "twinning." :)
I think that Twain didn't have an exact side. He was merely stating the truth and the wrongs of both the black and the white society.
Hey guys I thought the article by Linda Morris was really interesting because it said that Twain used clothing and language to describe blacks and whites in the story why do you think he does that??
Carley-What do you mean and why did you post that 3 times?
erinl - roxy seems to be the true guilt holder to me.
Did any one else see the extreme amount of irony in the fact that Roxy switched the babies to keep them from being sold down the river. In the end this is what her child did to show gratitude.
I think Twains was trying to show the effects of power through its abuse in slavery and satirize how the 19th century culture was so focused on power.
Who do you think Twain is trying to portray as the villains in the story? The slaves or the slaveholders?
maria k - because the name used to be "the tradgy of pudden head wilson and those amazing twins" so he had to shorten it
carley i think that the twin were not really opposed to slavery but they also had slaves themselves although they were only mentioned once.
Carley- I think that Twain disagreed with slavery, however he wouldn't directly admit it in his writing due to the time period he lived in.
Did anyone else think that Pudd'nhead Wilson's character represented what the reader was thinking? Of course, that wouldn't be relevant to the arguments during the Civil War, but it is for what we think today. Hmmm...
Erin--ooh thats interesting, I didn't think about relating it to the double imaging theme. I was thinking that maybe Twain was satirizing first impressions; everyone thought Wilson was a fool, but in the end he solved everything.
laine g - yeh it turned out funny that way. it shows the irony of destiny and kind of what you sow is what you get type o deal
Do you think this truly was a tragedy? Why did he call it that in the first place?
Clewis- I think that the novel was originally called "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson" because the story revolves around the ignorance of humanity and one of the important scene is the naming of Pudd'nhead Wilson and how ignorant the people were of others opinion.
Dev~ I just realized that at the end of the book, Tom ended up getting sold down the river anyway. I wonder if this is supposed to add a dark humor to his story...
I'm interested in Twain's stance on slavery, too. Its sort of hard because he's so satirical. I almost think he has the feeling that like he isn't going to say anything about what he thinks of slavery. He's just going to sit back and watch the rest of human kind sort it out in their childish ways. Almost like he's too good to argue with everyone else or they aren't worthy enough to hear his opinions.
dev - ? im still confused on twains stance on slavery
christas... I think he was trying to make the slaveholders seem like the villains because they made the slaves do extreme things to get out of their miseries.
I believe that Twain named it Pudd'nhead Wilson because one it sounds much better than Roxy or Tom and this is overall the story of a man's redemption, through the meeting of the twins.
jberry - answered gracias
Jesse-I think that in a way it was tragic because all of Roxy's good intentions for her child came to nothing and caused so much chaos and pain, but at the same time, it wasn't a tragedy because Tom got what was coming to him.
i like devhe always answers my questions.i hate blogging, it drives my ocd add tendencies nuts
Carley-that's a good point going back to the two seperate stories. He had a book called those amazing twins and then maybe he just smushed them together and gave them only one of the stories names.
Dev- I know exactly which article you are talking about! I think that Twain added this as almost a hidden rebellion to slavery.
Dev- I read that article too and that really does show a character back then. Isn't that true about society today?
Do you think guilt is worth it when you make a choice like Roxy did? Is the better life she was going to give Tom worth that life of guilt?
Carley well I think that the twin don't really care. I think that they just accepted the fact that there is slavery. I think that is just what everyone in the south did. They kind of just said that slavery was a way of life and that is also why I think it was so hard to get rid of it later on
Julia--Yes! I agree with you, as the reader, I could relate a lot to Wilson. I think that maybe Twain wrote Wilson to represent himself. Like him, we (the readers) were new to the town, and were figuring things out as we went. Maybe even Twain didn't know how to write the ending, he probably just decided as he went along.
new question :) What was the overll moral of this story? What do you think twains purpose for writing this was? What did he accomplishdev?saram?
Maddy-I don't think a life full of guilt would be worth it. I would rather have a happy life without something like that hanging over my head.
I think that Twain wrote this book to show people to what extent slavery cripples the slave. However, I haven't yet decided whether he thought that slaves should remain in slavery so they could survive because that is all they have ever known, or not.
i think he wrote it cuz he was bored.idk.
Do you guys think fate is real? If it is, can you change it?
Maddy--I think guilt means that we did something we know is wrong. I know Roxy was trying to help Tom, but look at poor Chambers. In the end, even when he was free, he couldn't live a normal life because he as so set as a slave. So living with guilt is not a good thing because it means you didn't do the right thing.
Maddy-Now that I know how the story ends,I would say that the life of guilt was not worth it. Nt only did Roxy destroy the real Tom's life, but she also turned her own child into a spoiled brat who had no compassion for others. Now Roxy must deal with the guilt AND her selfish child.
I definately agree with Maddy on that; I would not want to live with that guilt over my head.
sara---but what if you knew that your guilt was worth it...? What if you knew by your suffering, you were being beneficial to your society's future?self vs. everyone else
i think everyone has a destinybut everyday based on your own decsions it changes
I think the moral of this story was to show how different twins really can be. Tom and Chambers could be considered "twins" because they looked so similar, and yet one ended up murdering a man and the other suddenly became a wealthy air. Perhaps he's trying to tell us not to fall to stereotypes.
Carley-that's a good question. I really have no idea what his motive was for writing this story. I don't know what a possible moral could be either. Don't switch children when they're babies? Aren't morals a little more in depth than that?
I just have a revelation/ question, it being, the greatest harm can come from the best intentions. So my question is is this always true? Can the greatest harm come from another source?
maddy gread my las comment
Maddy,I think that Roxy chose wrongly, in that the life of guilt that she ended up living wasn't worth causing the trouble that she did. The real Chambers ended up living a life that he wasn't entitled to, and the real Tom suffered and was neglected by his “mother”. I don’t think that anyone really gained from Roxy switching the boys.
Kristin made an interesting point: You can't always rely on science. I think that you can relate this back to Social darwinism. Do you think Twain agrees with social darwinism.
So are we now comparing Pudd'nhead to Jack Sparrow? lol
clewis yea I never really thought about how in our society we classify people in to social classes on what clothes they wear. I guess it is just one of those things that has carried down though the centuries.
damian - the best intentions are usually warped to benifit a specific person that is close to the person performin the actthat make sense to ya?
Twain had many morals throughout the story. I believe that the main moral was that first impressions are not always correct. However there are more subtle morals throughout the novel. For example, at the beginning of the novel Roxy switchs the babies to prevent the born Chambers down the river. The switched Chambers never gets sent down the river. Chambers would never have been sent down the river if Roxy would never have initially switched them. The moral in that selfish motives often backfire.
damien---what is the greatest harm?
hannah sthanx for the answer finnialy
Also, I think that Twain wrote the novel in a satirical way to show people how foolish and delusional their "prideful" society is. Twain's thoughts on society are still true today.
Damian-I agree with your comment, but I don't think that the greatest harm always comes from the best intentions. I think that often people who intentionally try to wreak havoc create the most harm. Tom was trying to create chaos and mystery so that he would not be recognized as a thief and a black, and ended up murdering his uncle and hurting others in the society, like the twins.
Carley, I agree with you about fate, but what do you think Twain thought? Do you think Roxy's plan ever had a chance of succeeding, or was it bound to fail?
whwre the heck did jack sparrow come from?will is betterelizabeth is a tramp tho.what she needs to have both?ugh.
Lara--I actually thought Twain was more of a creationist. In "The Damned Human Race," he said that there was no way we could have evolved from animals because the human race is too horrible. Also, in a lot of the Pudd'nhead Calendar quotes, he referenced Adam and Eve and the apple.
Another question:Society goes along with the majority like how sheep will always stay with the herd.Where does this relate in PW?
Maddy-I don't think that fate can happen. It's the choices that you make that affect your furture.However, if you let things happen the way that they were supposed to be then I guess that could be considered fate. A fate that you obviously couldn't control.
I think it was called the "tragedy" of PHW because it is a tragedy because how his one intelligent comment gave him a bad nickname for life. It mocks how people have such closed minds that a first impression can affect what people think of you for the rest of your life. It is mocking how the people of the time viewed blacks, with out ever giving them a second chance or getting to know them they passed off blacks as what society said they were.
The greatest harm can be death of the flesh to a mortal wound to our soul.
maddy git was always bound to fail as soon as she statred worshipping her child as her supperior
I agree with christaPeople who intervene where they aren't supposed to; create havoc.
Carly--Jack relates to Wilson and Twain. He makes it all up as he goes along and it all works out in the end.
Carley-I beg to differ!Jack Sparrow (Johnny) is MUCH hotter, althoguh I like Will too. Anyways...
Um, let's not start a debate about who is hotter...focus guys.It doesn't matter, what matters is the comparison between Pudd'nhead Wilson and Jack Sparrow
clewis-he is hotter.but he'd nvr b very dependable.hes a hit an leave type o guy
New Question:Does Twain believe in nature or nurture?
clewis...good question because I really think that that is so true in PW. This comes through a lot when Twain brings up how everybody agrees on everything and follows along. It was very apparant when PW comes to the town and no one accepts him because no one gives him a chance. Also when Tom murders the judge and the entire society still believes it's the twins.
so pudden head wilson makes it up as he oes?what?
hannah s-obviously nuturetom spoiled so badchambers white but raised so humble
Carley--Wilson had no idea what he was doing with the fingerprints, but he know he had some purpose. Also, he figured it all out in a kind of ironic way, thanks to Tom.
Hannah S-I think he believes in nuture; if someone is treated bad or grows up spoiled they will be spoiled throughout the rest of their life.Although they can be good at heart and they could have been born that way.
kaytlinr i disagree with you about fate. I think that the choices you make are already what fate has planned out for you.
hannahs...good question! Twain believes in nurture I think. The way Tom and Chambers were brought up is only because of the way they were nutured and who their parents were. Tom got spoiled from living with the white...he wouldnt have acted spoiled if he was a slave.
I think that Twain never mentions Chambers for a very specific reason. It is to show how the people society think of as the slaves are totally ignored. Twain fails to mention the life of Chambers because none of the white folks of the time would have cared much for him. Historically the story of him probably would not have known much about the life of a mere slave.
Hannah--Nature for sure. A lot of the criticism I read said that Twain was telling us that human nature is influenced by society and ends up negative as we become adults.
mariawhen did it say he ddint kno what he was doing with finger[rints!yeh he did
I think personally that nurture is more important. Nature and circumstance does have an effect, but it can only go so far. Tom's lack of true love is what made him such an evil person, but the fellowship you have with other slaves as a slave I have to imagine would create love and Chambers is therefore better.
Exactly dev; I believe that there is a purpose for eveyone on Earth and it laid down like a fork in the road; we can take the road of our fate, or we could decide to go against it. Although I think that, like for instance, you would meet your future love, but maybe at a different time or place and it might not be the same; see what I mean?
Do you think that any of us can get away from our past deeds? In Pudd'nhead Wilson, every time Tom or Roxy thought they were safe from discovery, they were found out and their deeds exposed. Do you think that any deed goes unpunished or without any consequences?
I read an article and it focused on the clothing aspect of the society.It said that clothes were your identity in this novel because Tom and Chambers looked exactly alike when they were babies and only their clothes were diffrent.What do you guys think about that?
Maddy--- i disagree.i think that we are who we are and nurturing might be able to supress us for a while; but our true personality and true characteristics will come out sooner or later.
christasum. depends on what you beliveim a strong supporter of karma
Carly,I think that Pudd'nhead Wilson was keeping records of the finger prints just because he wanted to. He liked analyzing the prints, but other than that didn't have a true purpose.
Additionally Sweta...how does Tom's disguise as a woman add into your question of identity/way of dress?
Hannah-Through this whole book, I was trying to figure out where Twain stood on this, and where I stood. I'm still not sure, but I think that Twain is at least trying to make a point about nurture here, because he devotes a couple paragraphs to the differences between the way Tom and Chambers were rasised. However, at the same time I get the feeling that Tom would have been awful even if he had not been switched. I just don't think Twain believed it, because I think that if he did say that nature won, he would also be making a statement about race, and we don't ever get a conclusion on that one.
Sweta- We dicussed that a tiny bit at the top, but again the clothing does mean eveything in society, even in today's society.
I read an article that said when there is a change of clothing it also represents a change in power. Does anyone else agree?
Also, going back to the whole Nature Vs Nurture, I believe that our backgrounds and what we have been throught may affect who we are but we are responsible for who we become.
sweta---I read that article too. It was really interesting, and i think that that was Twain's way of satarizing society's blocked perception. That they werer too wrapped up in their appearance vs. someone's actions.
laraum.no.do you?i belive a change in clothing signifies you smellbut on a deeper levelyour changing an attitudei suppose it could represent a change in how people percieve you, which can be manipulated into a form of power
Nuture vs. nature- Anyone can be changed, they just need to decide to change for themselves.
lauraf-I think the clothes act as a fake attire that hide who you are througout this novel.Because of the clothes, the identity of Tom and Chamber were false and Tom used clothes as disguise to steal.So I think the purpose of clothes in the novel is to hide your true self and wear of mask of fake identity.
LARA-okay I've been waiting for an opportunity to bring up my theory. So there are a lot of instances in this novel of Twain (satirizing, I think) the importance of appearance.take a look on page 67, about the firemen "they never stirred officially in unofficial costume"what do you guys think about that?
Jberry-I agree. So all clothes does is hide who you truly are.
Lara-I think that clothing is an important factor, because it is a status symbol. And clothing really does give power. This might sound lame, but when you get a new outfit or piece of clothing that you really like, you feel more confident and better about yourself. Clothing is what people judge you by, because it is their first look at you. Clothing also might reflect your personality and character to others.
do clothes hide who you really are, or do they bring out another side of your character?
tina---like i said to sweta, I think that it is interesting how Twain's little hints and mysteries lied behind the clothes,and the appearance.So, what does that mean? Is Twain being condesending to his society, or is he just stating another truth...?
I agree with Christa. Clothing is someone's real first impression. I know that I always feel better when I'm wearing new clothes. So I think it is definitely a status symbol to show how much money you have and high up in society you are.
Hannah---I don't think that clothes hide your personality, it's just Twain's way to portray the skewed appearance.
Christa,Agree with you, that clothing can define who a person is. However; when you look at Pudd'nhead Wilson, Chambers was dress as a wealthy white person when he was supposed to be a slave. I think that clothing can also be a disguise.
Very true christa-In today's society a cheerleader will get more dates than the tuba player...no offense to any tuba players:)
HannahS-I think clothes bring out the part in you that you want people to see; but that is not who you truly are.
Maria, I think that Twain named his novel Pudd'nhead Wilson because even though he was barely in the book, he determined the outcome of Tom and Chambers and the whole end of the novel. He turned out to be a very important character.
I actually don't have any idea why it was called "The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson". The only reason his life is tradgic is at the beginning when he was first named Pudd'nhead. After that I dont see any other reason why his life would be tradgic.
Laine, yes I did notice that. She switched the babies to make sure that he wouldn't get sold down the river but in the end, thats exactly what happened to him.
Maddy,yes I believe that fate is real. I am also sure that you are able to change it. But I think you change it unintentnionally with the things you do from day to day. I don't think you can say you are going to change it and do so.
clewis,I think that the town went along together in emotion. When the twins first arrived everyone was excited to see them. Everyone liked them too. But then when someone thought they were making up the whole story about the knife, everyone believed that one person and started not to like them.
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