Symbolism In Mark Twain's Pudd Nhead Wilson

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Pudd’nhead Wilson was a novel written by Mark Twain and published in 1894. In this story, a mother bound by slavery switches her son with her owner’s son so he does not have to go through what she has gone through. This story is not only that of a basic story line, but a story filled with symbolism. I believe that Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson is a story of nature vs. nurture, betrayal, females and femininity, race, identity and courage. Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel L. Clemens, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which was the inspiration of most of his books. Although it was a very nice town on the Mississippi River, it was filled with violence. Twain grew up in the time period of when Reconstruction had been unsuccessful. It has been said that Twain’s…show more content…
The first sign of betrayal is shown when Tom Driscoll sends his mother down the river after she specifically requests him not to. His mother was giving up her life in order to convenience him with only two requests: That Tom would return in a year to buy her free and that he would sell her up North. Tom betrays her and sells her down the river without hesitation. Judge Driscoll is also betrayed by Tom in Pudd’nhead Wilson. He spends many years of his life providing for Tom as his own son. In return, Tom carelessly finds himself in troubling situations repeatedly. Judge Driscoll is also betrayed when Tom sneaks down stairs to steal from him and ends up piercing him with a knife and killing him. Females and Femininity is surely another important theme expressed in Pudd’nhead Wilson. There is no doubt that Roxy’s decision to switch the babies is the main storyline of this novel. “Motherhood is somewhat difficult for a slave like Roxy because children of slave women were legally slaves, regardless of the status of their fathers” (Rasmussen 199). Although her love for her child is unceasing, it is her decisions that, eventually, bring him into
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