Analyzing Pudd'Nhead Wilson

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Anthony Spinthourakis Due: 9/7/12 APUS/Mr. Donovan Pudd’nhead Wilson Essay

In literature, slavery and the African American race are often analyzed and interpreted by numerous authors. Mark Twain reveals numerous hitches and aspects of society’s view towards different races throughout many of his novels. In Pudd’nhead Wilson Twain describes the status of African Americans in society, as well as how they are portrayed or believed to act in the eyes of other townsfolk. The portrayal of Roxy and the status of Tom and Chambers both help Twain show the wrongs of the social hierarchy and stereotypes used during the time period. Mark Twain makes use of various literary devices, such as the theme of racism and characterization to describe his view on slavery in the U.S. during the 19th century.

Mark Twain uses the characters Roxy, Tom, and Chambers to show his view on the racial hierarchy in society during the 19th century.  Roxanna (Roxy) is a slave owned by Percy Driscoll; a high ranking citizen of Dawson’s Landing. Though she is characterized as being extremely beautiful and white skinned, Roxy is still considered a low class slave because she is only 1/16 black. She is also known for being quite clever and having a strong soul. Roxy states she is a member of the first families of Virginia, though in the eyes of the townspeople her black ancestors nullify that claim. In order to show the stupidity of labeling Roxy as a slave, Twain makes her one of the most strong and well-liked characters in the novel. Her son, Chambers, also faces similar problems regarding his status in society. Like his mother, Chambers is forced into a life of slavery and hardship due to only a fraction of his blood being black. Roxy believes that her son deserves better, which ultimately leads her into switching her son...
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