Identity In Huckleberry Finn

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The well-known circumstance of young Sam Clemens ' witnessing his father 's post- mortem through a keyhole sheds further light on the significance to Mark Twain of the painful question of the physical destruction of the father 's body after death.22 The symbolic transformation of Twain 's own profoundly dis- turbing experience of a distant, judgmental father into a mythic trinity of fathers can perhaps help us to understand one of the signal failures of Twain 's fiction: his inability to imagine convinc- ing, complex women characters. Yonge.8 The conflict between social circumstances and the inner lives and aspirations of his characters is a theme that appears in Huck Finn and in The Prince and the Pauper.9 Twain 's version of European customs,…show more content…
In the struggle to regain their social identities, each of the three main characters, Tom Canty, Edward, Prince of Wales, and Miles Hendon (each of the three in some sense a boy), realizes his authentic self, which in the end proves to be as important as the social identity he lost. In The Prince and the Pauper, the teleology of the New World individual 's psychology and the mythos of American identity merge, given shape yet also disguised by the European setting. While for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, imaginative expansion and education about social roles through European or pseudo-European models lead ultimately back to where they started from, a relation- ship to society that has not essentially changed, what Tom Canty and the Prince of Wales learn about social roles in the midst of symbolic European institutions leads to redefined relationships to their society, and even to relatively small but nonetheless signifi- cant changes in that society…show more content…
Vogelback has described, The Prince and the Pauper "fitted in perfectly with the tradition of correctness and imitation-with the genteel tradition" and was praised accordingly by contemporary critics, including Clemens ' friend William Dean Howells. ' The novel 's lack of originality and innovation is presumably part of what Leonard Woolf reacted against when he condemned the work as betraying "a commonness and tawdriness, a lack of sensitiveness, which do not matter to the impetuous appetite of youth, but which cannot be ignored by the more discriminating and exacting taste of middle-age."5 However, the consensus of recent critical assessment t has missed a significant dimension of meaning in The Prince and the Pauper. The Prince and the Pauper abounds with symbolic father-son relationships that are curiously paradoxi- cal in ways that form a significant contrast to Huck Finn. The paradox is that in this American form of inheritance the son has to win the right to inherit his father 's legacy and even, in one case, becomes his father 's symbolic
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