, Research Paper
The Tragedy of Pudd nhead Wilson
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He took up the name Mark Twain, which was a riverboat term for two fathoms deep, as an alias to use in his writings. Clemens family was very poor when he was growing up, and his father died when he was only 11 years old. Needing money for the family, Clemens quit school to work for his brother as a printer helping to publish a newspaper. Samuel figured out a few years later that printing was not for him, so he boarded a riverboat headed for New Orleans en route to South America, where he planned on collecting coca. Quickly changing his mind, Clemens persuaded the captain of the boat, Horace Bixby, to teach him how to pilot boats. He received his pilot license soon after in 1859. After just five years of piloting boats, he left in 1864 to work as a reporter in San Francisco. He started on his voyage to fame after one of his stories appeared in the New York Saturday Press in 1865. In 1870, he married Olivia Langdon and briefly lived in Buffalo, New Yord. Clemens did much of his best work as a writer from 1871 to 1891 while he lived in Hartford, Connecticut. Here he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur s Court. He spent the remaining three years of his life compiling his autobiography. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known to most people as the great writer Mark Twain, passed away on the evening of April 10th, 1910.
The Tragedy of Pudd nhead Wilson is a story by Mark Twain that reaches deep into the issues of slavery and black versus white. This relatively short tale focuses around two babies who were born on the exact same day. Chambers is the baby of a slave girl who was only 1/16th black, making the baby a mere 1/32nd black- but still a slave. Tom is the baby of the slave girl s master, and looks remarkably like Chambers due to him being only 1/32nd black. For fear of her child s future, the slave girl Roxy switches her baby with the white Tom. No one is able to tell the difference but her, and all goes according to plan.
Our new Tom grows up as a master and becomes spoiled and arrogant, eventually becoming troublesome. Our new slave boy Chambers, who is the real heir, accepts being bossed around by Tom and accepts regular beatings from his master.
The story goes on to tell of the trials and tribulations of the two boys, who turn in to men together and eventually go on to play themselves as twins. The plot raises many questions about upbringing and social status. C. A. Frost says it best by stating that It is the way you are raised and how you are accepted that gives you your place in society, not wealth, poverty or color. This rings true throughout Twain s The Tragedy of Pudd nhead Wilson.