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Contrasting Images Of Slaves In “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” And “The Tragedy Of Pudd’Nhead Wilson” Nguyen Thi Hai Thu  K39 A5
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Contrasting Images Of Slaves In “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” And “The Tragedy Of Pudd’Nhead Wilson” Nguyen Thi Hai Thu K39 A5






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    Contrasting Images Of Slaves In “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” And “The Tragedy Of Pudd’Nhead Wilson” Nguyen Thi Hai Thu  K39 A5 Contrasting Images Of Slaves In “The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn” And “The Tragedy Of Pudd’Nhead Wilson” Nguyen Thi Hai Thu K39 A5 Document Transcript

    • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT To complete this graduation paper, I owe profound indebtedness to many people for their help during the conduct of my study. Firstly, I would like to express my deepest thank to Ms. Nguyen Thi Minh, my supervisor for her invaluable advice and her inspirational suggestions as well as correction during the course of my writing. Secondly, my thanks go to all my teachers of Literature at the Vietnam National University, University of Languages and International Studies, English Department for providing me with interesting lectures that enhanced my love for this subject. And I also would like to thank my family for their indispensable support and applause during my writing. I am very grateful to my friends for their great encouragement as well as corrective feedback on my work. Thus, it is possible to state that without the help of the aforementioned people, this paper would never have been finished. i
    • ABSTRACT Mark Twain is acclaimed world-wide as one of the most beloved and celebrated American writers. Among many of his writings which have reached the pinnacles of American and world literature, the two novels namely quot;The adventures of Huckleberry Finnquot; and quot;The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilsonquot; seem to receive much attention from both readers and critics for the contradiction found when switching from one novel to another. Actually, this graduation mainly focuses upon the contrasting images of slaves as depicted in the two above- listed works. As such, it contains five main parts. The first part is an overview of the general theory on Literature, which deals with the questions quot;What is Literaturequot;, quot;What is novelquot; and quot;What are the elements of a novelquot;. The second part provides background knowledge on American literature in the nineteenth century encompassing two smaller parts that are historical background and outstanding features of American literature in the nineteenth century. The next part is all about Mark Twain's life and literary work, followed by two interesting parts: an overview of the historical as well as social context of the two novels and the brief summary of the two. The fourth part, also the emphasis of this paper, brings along deep analysis on images of slaves in quot;The adventures of Huckleberry Finnquot; and that in quot;The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilsonquot;. This part also aims at making the contradiction in the description of slaves between these two works clear and outstanding. The last part is the conclusion which summarizes all the findings the writer of this paper has found out and gives a possible explanation on what is meant through the contradiction in images of slaves in the two famous novels by Mark Twain.
    • RATIONALE The love for literature has been nurtured in my heart right when I was a little girl. I love not only my country’s literature but also other nations’ as well because each of them owns special features that always leave me deep, even in some cases, unforgettable impressions. Needless to say, American literature is not an exception. At first, I assumed that American writers are just followers of English ones, especially in terms of writing style. However, thanks to the interesting lessons on American literature that my teachers gave me, it did not take long before I realized that this country’s literature also has its original characteristics attracting millions of readers all over the world. Undoubtedly, in the list of the most outstanding representatives of American literature, the name Mark Twain always takes the number one position, simply because his contribution, or in other words, his unique literary works are of incomparable value. In his writings, he touches upon many contemporary issues, including a very sensitive and complex one, that is slavery in American society, particularly in the nineteenth century. The very first moment when I was informed that I met all the requirements for conducting a Graduation Paper, I am immediately determined that I would choose American literature as my research field and Mark Twain’s works as the core of the study. After taking much consideration, I decided to write about the topic “Contrasting images of slaves depicted in quot;The adventures of Huckleberry Finnquot; and quot;The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilsonquot; by Mark Twain”. The upper most important factor that leads me to this decision is that “slavery” is a popular theme in many of this celebrated writer’s works. However, people seemingly jump to a conclusion that Mark Twain expresses an optimistic view on slaves in every page of his writings, which raises a big question in my mind whether this common consideration is true or not. I was surprised when discovering that
    • besides an optimistic view on slaves as seen in his masterpiece quot;The adventures of Huckleberry Finnquot;, the author also has a rather pessimistic outlook on these creatures' nature because slave figures in quot;The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilsonquot; appeared to have extremely negative facets. This new finding encouraged me to take an acute insight into the contrasting images of slaves that Mark Twain built up in the two novel as well as into the hidden massage that Mark Twain wanted to transmit in the hope that like me, other people will eventually have a more thorough view on how the author viewed and comprehended slaves. iii
    • TABLE OF CONTENT Acknowledgement………………………………………………………..i Abstract…………………………………………………………………..ii Rationale………………………………………………………………....iii Chapter I. Literature review 1. What is literature?...............................................................................1 2. What is novel?......................................................................................2 2.1 What are the elements of a novel?....................................................3 Chapter II. American literature in the 19th century 1. Historical background……………………………………………….5 2. American literature in the 19th century……………………………..7 Chapter III. Mark Twain- his life and literary works 1. Mark Twain’s biography…………………………………………….8 2. The two novels “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” 2.1 The historical and social context of “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”……………………………………11 2.2 Summary of “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”……………...13 2.3 The historical and social context of “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”……………………………………..16
    • 2.4 Summary of “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”……………….18 Chapter IV. Contrasting images of slaves in “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” by Mark Twain 1. Image of slaves in “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” 1.1 Slaves as hard- working but badly- treated people……………….23 1.2 Slaves as superstitious and strongly affected by supernatural forces…………………………………………………….28 1.3 Slaves as good-natured and kind-hearted people…………………32 2. Image of slaves in “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” 2.1 Slaves as deceitful and greedy creatures………………………….39 2.2 Slaves as ungrateful people……………………………………….41 2.3 Slaves as calculating and cruel creatures…………………………45 Chapter V. Conclusion………………………………………...58 References………………………………………………………64
    • Chapter I. Literature review 1. What is literature? Endless efforts have been made in defining the term “literature”; however, there seemingly does not exist a definition that is universally satisfactory and complete. In a broad sense, literature encompasses everything from images and sculptures to letters while in a more narrow sense, the term could mean only text composed of letters, or other examples of symbolic written language. The Muslim scholar and philosopher Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (702-765 AD) defined quot;literaturequot; as follows: quot;Literature is the garment which one puts on what he says or writes so that it may appear more attractive. It is also a slice of life that has been given direction and meaning, an artistic interpretation of the world according to the percipient's point of views.” In other words, literature is the use of well-chosen words to tell a story through narrative, involving characters in conflict or to express an emotion or idea through artfully arranged images. The purpose of literature is to entertain and instruct the readers through the use of imagination. Besides, literature is also regarded as an effective way of reflecting life by means of either written or spoken language. It is obvious that not everything reflected in literature originates from reality because they may be at times the products of author’s imagination and creation. From factual information, the raw, undefined and perhaps, indefinable reality, the authors have cultivated and created masterpieces for vast majority of readers in the world. 2. What is novel? Novel is a literature genre which is difficult to write and has been favored by both writers and readers for ages. Specifically, novel is simply defined as a long work of written fiction. In order to write a novel, a writer must have wide knowledge, experience in reality and a true talent. Most novels involve
    • a number of characters and tell a complex story by putting the characters into different situations. A novel is different to a short story in the sense that it presents more than an episode. In a novel, writers have the freedom to develop the plot, characters and themes slowly. The novelist can also surround the main plot with subplots that flesh out the tale. Most novels have numerous shifts in time, place and focuses of interests. Like epic poetry, novels may celebrate grand designs or great events, but unlike epic poetry, they also may pay attention to details of everyday life, such as people’s daily tasks and social obligations. A novelist also tell a story as a playwright does, but the former has more freedom than the latter in portraying events outside the framework of the immediate story, such as historical events that happen at the same time as the story. A novel may adapt patterns of mythology but the novelist does not simply retell the myth. Instead, the novelist structures the story around the underlying themes of the myth while featuring unique characters and settings. 2.1 What are the elements of a novel? A novel is made up from various elements, but the four most important ones may be list as the plot, characters, setting and theme. The plot is the novel’s story and its underlying meaning. Therefore, the description of a novel should include both what happens to the characters and the meaning of these events. Plots can be anything the writer dreams up, from narrative so realistic that they seem like nonfiction to tales of the fantastic, such as science-fiction works that involve distant worlds.
    • What a successful novel can not lack is the characters with complex and complete personalities. Characters in a novel may not necessarily be physically realistic, as the case of aliens in science-fiction regarded as one kind of character. However, any meaningful character must have emotions and feeling such as hope, fear, love, etc. In reader’s eyes, characters that are tactfully built may even live beyond the boundaries of the particular story being told. Another element employed to complete the success of a novel is the setting of the work, or in other words, the time and place in which the story occurs. The importance of setting may vary according to the purposes of the novel. For instance, for a novelist who intends to describe the life in a particular place, the setting of that place is crucial. In contrast, setting will be of minor importance when a novelist composes a work that concentrates mainly on the inner struggle of the characters. The content of a novel may be criticized as shallow when it does not develop a particular theme. The theme of a novel is the major idea that the novelist is setting forth in writing his work. It is the theme that gives the novel greater depth and value than it would have if it were mere recitation of a series of actions. Interestingly, an author combines the other three elements to build his book’s theme.
    • Chapter II. American literature in the nineteenth century 1. Historical background The second half of the nineteenth century marked a decisive transformation of the nation- America. The fertile, mineral rich American continent was peopled and exploited. An increasing flow of immigrants also doubled the population of America. New and various technologies changed the country’s vast natural resources into industrial products for both its own market and foreign ones. As a result, the whole country was completely transformed during the time from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the First World War. Obviously, the Civil War marked an important milestone in the evolution process of the society. Before the Civil War, America had been a rural, separated republic whose inhabitants were idealistic, confident and self- reliant; by the time the United State entered the First World War as a world power, it was an industrialized, urbanized continental nation whose people were no longer as they used to be. They were forced to accept the implication of Darwin’s theory of evolution and profound changes in its own social, political and cultural life as well. Serious problems arose when cultural and moral values were exhausted and destroyed. Nevertheless, the war had
    • stimulated technological development on a massive scale such as industry, agriculture, means of education and transportation, mineral exploitation, etc. By the end of the century, the United State was no longer a colony both in terms of economy and political. It could begin its own imperialist expansion and was considered as the most resourceful industrial power country in the world. According to the book Modern American Literature, “the period succeeding the Civil War was marked by restless expansion of new land and wealth.” American’s cities continued to develop together with flourished industry. By the turn of the century, only about one third of the population lived on farms. New York, Chicago became big cities whose immigrants came from central, Eastern, Southern Europe. By the end of the First World War, one half of the American population was concentrated in cities, working for factories, corporations or enterprises. Millions of people took part in the prosperity that accompanied the explosive industrial expansion. However, the transformation of the whole country could not help being accompanied by uncountable suffering. Increasing numbers of farmers in the countryside were dependent. Because the transportation of their crops was on the monopolistic railroads, independent farmers, on the other hand, were placed “under the lion’s paw” of land speculators and landlords. In big cities, an over supply of labor kept wages down and allowed the industrialists to maintain dangerous conditions for men, women and children. Neither farmers nor urban workers had essential step toward establishing collective bargaining as a means of negotiating disputes between industrial workers and their employers. 2. American literature in the nineteenth century
    • Together with the Declaration of Independence of the United States of American from their colonial master Great Britain in 1776, American literature also established its own identity and really became the independence one, closely connected with the nation’s history. Much as it has been written in English, the cultural background is completely different from that of Europe in general and England in particular. The rapid transcontinental settlement and the new urban industrial circumstances went with the development of a national literature; new themes, new subjects, new authors and also new audiences. It was no longer produced in its popular forms such as fiction, poetry, drama but any acceptable forms of literary expressions. The central characters in its narratives were no longer polite, well-dressed, middle-class young people but industrial worker, rural poor, ambitious businessmen, prostitutes and unheroic soldiers. American writers in this period dealt with the social, economic, political problems, especially the unsolved social ones that were the consequences of the rapid growth and change of the time. Women’s rights, political corruption, economic inequity, business deceptions, the exploitations of labour and so on became the subjects of articles and books. In sum, new themes, new forms, new subjects, new regions, new authors and new audiences created a new appearance for American literature and the second half of the 19th century was regarded as the “heyday” of American literature. Chapter III. Mark Twain’s life and literary works 1. Mark Twain's biography Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and grew up in nearby Hannibal, a small Mississippi River town. Hannibal would become the model for St. Petersburg, the fictionalized setting of Twain’s two most popular
    • novels, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Mark Twain’s life is important to his writing, for his major works rely upon materials from his Hannibal, Missouri, boyhood and his careers as a Mississippi River pilot, a western miner, and a journalist. Four years following his birth on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, Twain moved with his family to Hannibal, where he was shaped by experiences that would be transformed into such works as “The adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. When Twains was eleven, his father died. Apprenticed as a printer, he began to contribute sketches to his brother’s newspaper. As a young man he worked as a printer and journalist in a number of cities, including New York, but returned to the Mississippi River in 1857 to fulfill a childhood dream of becoming a river pilot. He held this job until 1861 when river traffic was halted by the Civil War. After serving very briefly with the Missouri militia, he travelled to the Nevada Territory with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the governor. In Nevada he worked as a journalist and as a prospector for silver and gold. By 1864 he was a reporter in San Francisco, and in 1865 he published “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” in a New York newspaper. Reprinted widely, the story gave him his first lecture in 1866, beginning a 40-years career as a performer whose public image became as famous as his books. As a California correspondent, he travelled to Hawaii, then known as the Sandwich Islands, and later to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Palestine. His 1867 foreign travels became the basis of his first book, “Innocents Abroad” (1869). While enjoying the popular success of his writing, Twain settled in the East. In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon, daughter of a wealthy merchant from Elmira, New York, and became editor and part owner of a Buffalo
    • newspaper. One year later, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he spent a large portion of his increasing income on a spectacular mansion (now restored as a memorial) on Farmington Avenue. Twain’s prolific writing career stemmed partly from the financial demands of his expensive lifestyle. He turned to a variety of sources for his material: travel, his early life, and history. In 1872 he published “Roughing it”, a collection of irreverent sketchers based upon his travels and his western experiences. “While the gilded age” (1873), written with Charles Dudley Warner, employed contemporary issues and provided a label for an era. “The adventure of Tom Sawyer” (1876) made use of his Hannibal boyhood. “A tramp abroad” (1880) was another travel book, and “The prince and the pauper” a historical comedy. Life on the Mississippi recounted the author’s pilot days, and “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1885) was a sequel to “The adventure of Tom Sawyer”. By the time he produced his historical fantasy “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court”, Twain had finished his most important work. The 1890s brought him great personal misfortune with a financial collapse resulting from his unprofitable investment in a typesetting machine and the bankruptcy of the publishing company he had founded to distribute his works. In 1896, while he was making a worldwide lecture tour to pay his debts, his daughter Susy died of meningitis in Hartford. Susy’s death, like that of his first child and only son, Langdon, in 1872, devastated Twain, and the family never again resided in the Hartford house. Another well-known novel of Twain was also written and published widely in this period of time, namely “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” (1890s) After “Following the equator” (1897), another travel book, Twain worked on a variety of projects, many of which were published after his death. These works, most of which were overwhelmingly pessimistic, included “The man that corrupted Hadley burg” (1900), “What is Man?”
    • (1906), and increasing infirmity and unhappiness as endured the deaths of his wife in 1904 and his daughter Jean in 1909. Toward the end of his life, Twain lived in New York, and he died at “Storm field”, his estate in Redding, Connecticut, on April 21, 1910. At the time of his death, Twain had achieved international celebrity and was perhaps the most famous American. Like many famous people, he created a public image that masked inner conflicts. A complex and brilliant man, he was more than a simple humorist; as a social critic, historian, philosopher, novelist, and popular entertainer, he continues to fascinate readers and biographers. 2. The two novels “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” 2.1 The historical and social context of “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, globally regarded as Mark Twain’s masterpiece, was written from the late 1870s to 1884 but the narrative took place in the antebellum period of the 1840s. Firstly, the novel was composed in the wake of Reconstruction, the period directly after the Civil War when the confederate states were brought back into the union. The years from 1865 to 1876 witnessed rapid and radical progress in the South, as many schools for blacks were opened, black men gained the right to vote with the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870, and the Civil Rights Act of 1875 desegregated public places. But these improvements were quickly undermined by new Black Codes in the South that restricted such rights. White southerners felt threatened by Republicans from the North who went south to help direct the course of Reconstruction. Most galling was the new authority of free blacks, many of whom held
    • political office and owned businesses. While prospects did improve somewhat for African Americans during Reconstruction, their perceived authority in the new culture was exaggerated by whites holding on to the theory of white superiority that had justified slavery. Added to this, Mark Twain’s contemporary society was also ruled by religion, which tried its best to support and glorify slavery. Religion held back spontaneity and natural goodness and at the same time served as an effective device which imposed a false set of values and stereotypes on people’s minds. As a result of church education, social rituals were hardened and people’s individuality had little chance to thrive, gradually being replaced by hypocrisy and boisterousness. As being ruled by an abused system of religion, the whole society unknowingly locked itself in an invisible but cruel prison which lacked the light of truth and humanity. Popular to the nineteenth century, especially its young generation was Western romanticism. According to Mark Twain, American youth was being encouraged by cheap “foreign” fiction to develop a completely wrong-headed set of philosophical values about “nobility” and inherited privilege. Under the strong influence of the dime novel, American adolescents lived in their fantastic dreams of adventures and fame. They lost track of reality and found their own identity in pretensions and imitations. To round up, American society in the nineteenth century was featured by great rituals and conventions which exploited the black and imposed slavery on the whole nation. The three factors slavery, religion and romanticism robbed people of their right to live with their true personality and put the entire society in an intangible prison. Mark Twain did take advantage of these features to constitute the backdrop of his masterpiece “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
    • 2.2 Summary of “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” depicts lively and attractively the adventure in search of freedom of a young boy called Huckleberry Finn (Huck) and a slave named Jim. The shores of the Mississippi River provide the backdrop for the entire book. After some amazing adventures with his smart friend Tom Sawyer, Huck has been placed under the guardianship of the Widow Douglas, who, together with her sister, Miss Watson, is attempting to “sivilize” him. Huck appreciates their efforts, but finds civilized life confining and stuffy. Then, the sudden appearance of Huck’s shiftless father, quot;Papquot;, an abusive parent and drunkard tangled the life of his poor son. Although Huck is successful in preventing his Pap from acquiring his fortune, Pap forcibly gains custody of Huck and forces Huck to come to the backwoods where he is kept locked inside a cabin. Feeling equally dissatisfied with life as well as with his father, Huck escapes from the cabin, elaborately fakes his own death, and sets off down the Mississippi River. While living quite comfortably in the wilderness along the Mississippi, Huck happily encounters Miss Watson's slave Jim on an island called Jackson's Island, and Huck learns that Jim has also run away. Consecutive adventures, along with long talks bring them together and the two end up being close friends. Shortly after missing their destination, Cairo, Illinois , a free state which Jim has planned to escape to, Huck and Jim's raft is swamped by a passing steamship, separating the two. Huck has a run-in with the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, two families at war with each other, but soon later gets reunited with Jim and they continue fleeing farther south on the Mississippi River. Thereafter, Jim and Huck rescue two cunning grifters, one of whom introduces himself as a son of an English Duke , the Duke of Bridgewater and the other one alleges himself to be the quot;Lost Dauphinquot;, the son of Louis
    • XVI and rightful King of France. The quot;Dukequot; and the quot;Kingquot; then force Jim and Huck to allow them to travel on the raft and put the young boy and the runaway slave into a good deal trouble performing plays and mean schemes. The Duke and the King's schemes reach their peak when the two grifters impersonate the brothers of Peter Wilks, a recently deceased man of property. Feeling totally upset with the crime that he gets involved in, Huck tries to expose the truth and lay bare the conspiracy of the Duke and the King. However, the two cunning grifters finally find a way to escape in the confusion, rejoining Huck and Jim on the raft. After the four fugitives flee farther south on their raft, the King quot;capturesquot; Jim and sells his interest in any reward while Huck is away in a nearby town. Upon arriving at the house in which Jim is being held, Huck feels outraged to discover that the King has sold him in a bar for forty dollars. Then, Huck is mistaken by Tom Sawyer's Arkansas aunt, Sally Phelps, for Tom himself, but he plays along, hoping to find a way to free Jim. Shortly after, Tom himself arrives and pretends to be his own half-brother Sid to join Huck's scheme. Rather than simply sneaking Jim out of the shed where he is being held, Tom develops an elaborate plan to free Jim, involving secret messages, hidden tunnels, a rope ladder sent in Jim's food, and other elements from popular novels. During the resulting pursuit, Tom is shot in the leg, instead of completing his escape, Jim attends to him and insists that Huck find a doctor in town to treat the injury. After Jim's recapture, events quickly resolve themselves. Tom's Aunt Polly arrives and reveals Huck's and Tom's true identities. Tom announces that Jim has been free for months: Miss Watson died two months earlier and freed Jim in her will, but Tom chose not to reveal Jim's freedom so he could come up with an elaborate plan to rescue Jim. Jim tells Huck that Huck's father has been dead for some time and that Huck may return safely to St. Petersburg. The story ends with Huck’s intention of feeing West to Indian Territory to stay away from civilization.
    • 2.3 The historical and social context of “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” was derived from Mark Twain’s later, darker period, and was much the best work to come out of it. He wrote most of it in the unhappiest decade of his life, in the 1890s. The novel was also written at a time when it had become apparent that Reconstruction- the process of reintegrating the Confederate states into the United States and of trying to make a place for freed slaves in society- had totally failed. During the years after the Civil War, black and white teachers from the North and South, missionary organizations, churches and schools worked tirelessly to give the emancipated population the opportunity to learn. Former slaves of every age took advantage of the opportunity to become literate. Besides, with the protection of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, African Americans enjoyed a period when they were allowed to vote, actively participate in the political process, acquire the land of former owners, seek their own employment, and use public accommodations. However, racial discrimination still existed strongly in the contemporary society. The destruction of slavery led inevitably to conflict between blacks seeking to breathe substantive meaning into their freedom by asserting their independence from white control, and whites seeking to retain as much as possible of the old order. Most white Southerners reacted to defeat and emancipation with dismay; thus, as soon as blacks gained the right to vote, secret societies sprang up in the South, devoted to restoring white supremacy in politics and social life. The most notorious was the Ku Klux Klan, an organization of violent criminals that established a reign of terror in some parts of the South, assaulting and murdering local Republican leaders. The Klan also engaged in extreme violence, often against blacks who, had
    • attained some “status in society” through property holdings, labor or political activism, or general social standing. Henceforth, it was clear that black creatures had to face with uncertainty and again, racial discrimination although they were freed from slavery. The period of time in which this interesting novel was completed was also known as the Gilded Age, a time of vigorous, exploitative individualism. Despite widespread suffering by industrial workers, southern sharecroppers, displaced American Indians, and other groups, a mood of optimism possessed the United States. The theories of the English biologist Charles Darwin- expounded in The Origin of Species (1859)- concerning the natural selection of organisms best suited to survive in their environment began to influence American opinion. Some intellectuals in the United States applied the idea of the survival of the fittest to human societies (Social Darwinism) and arrived at the belief that government aid to the unfortunate was wrong. By basing almost entirely on the above-mentioned facts to complete “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wison”, Mark Twain really meant to touch upon matters relating to a person’s true identity, the changes found in slaves’ life after they were freed and also, these people’ reaction towards the new living conditions. 2.4 Summary of “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” “The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson”, also known under a shorter name “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, is considered one notable success in Mark Twain’s writing career. The story juggles three plot lines, which all come together in a murder trial at the novel's end. With a view to setting up a career as a lawyer, Pudd'nhead Wilson, a Northerner, comes to the small Missouri town of Dawson's Landing. Soon after his arrival, Wilson is nicknamed quot;Pudd'nheadquot; and kept away from the
    • local people’s legal work. He scrapes by on odd work and becomes absorbed in scientific hobbies, most notably, fingerprinting. Roxana, or Roxy, is a beautiful slave and as almost quot;whitequot; for she is one-sixteenth black. In an attempt to save her infant son from ever being sold away from her, she switches him with the child of her white master, who looks just like her son and was born on the same day. Her son Chambers, now called quot;Tom,quot; grows up as a white man and heir to an estate. Her master's child, Tom, now called quot;Chambersquot;, grows up a slave. Tom grows into a cruel, coward man and spends most of his time gambling. As a result, his gambling debts lead him, under Roxy's guidance, to rob houses, sell his mother, and finally murder his uncle, Judge Driscoll, in an unsuccessful robbery attempt. Luigi and Angelo are good-looking and charming Italian twins who arrive in Dawson's Landing to rent a room in Widow Cooper's house to keep themselves away from the bustle of the world. Luigi confesses to Pudd'nhead Wilson, who has read his palm, that he once killed a man who tried to steal a fabulous Indian knife from the brothers. Tom steals this knife and later uses it to kill Judge Driscoll. Luigi gets into an argument with quot;Tom,quot; who has him arrested. Feeling that the family honor is ruined by Tom, the judge challenges Luigi to a duel. No one is killed, but Tom, to save his own reputation, tells his uncle that Luigi is a confessed assassin and therefore not an honorable man to duel. The judge then has severe words against the twins which make them lose face and also lose in an election for city offices in which Pudd'nhead Wilson is elected mayor. Shortly after the election, Tom murders the judge with the twins' knife while he is robbing him to get money for settling his debts as well as paying off the man to whom he has fraudulently sold Roxy. Tom disguises as a woman after killing his uncle and makes a sound escape. The twins happen to be out for a walk at the time of the murder and
    • hear the judge's cries and rush to help. They are found standing over the dead body with their bloody knife on the floor and consequently brought to trial for the murder. Pudd'nhead Wilson, who is their attorney, through his fingerprint collection and a few lucky accidents, discovers that Tom is the murderer and that he is not the real Tom but Chambers. The twins are redeemed and freed, but soon leave for Europe. Tom is thrown in jail and then, since it is now known he is a slave, sold quot;down the riverquot; to pay debts from the estate of the real Tom's father. Chambers is revealed to be Tom and given back his place as a white man and heir, but, raised as a black man and marked by his black speech patterns, he finds it unable to fit into society. Pudd'nhead is mayor of Dawson's Landing and finally a successful lawyer, but has to enjoy his success in solitude as none of his old friends are around him anymore.
    • Chapter IV. Contrasting images of slaves as depicted in “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” It goes without saying that Mark Twain is one of famous writers who take much interest in the theme “slavery” in general and “slavery in America” in particular. Among his works on this theme, “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” seem to gain much more attention from the readers as well as critics to the contradiction in the way Mark Twain manifested various facets of slaves. Interestingly, readers always find something new when switching from a novel to another written by this celebrated author. On reading his masterpiece “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, readers are deeply impressed by the quest for freedom of a young boy and a runaway slave through which Twain expresses his opposition towards slavery and racial problems, as well as his optimistic outlook on slaves’ nature. However, in an attempt to understand thoroughly the novel “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”, readers may totally be taken aback to discover another side of the matter, or in other words, another layer in the way Twain comprehends slaves’ true color, which appears to be rather pessimistic and intricate. Henceforth, in order to have a full view on the
    • different images of slaves reflected in the two works, there is no wiser way than taking a deep analysis into depiction of these creatures, which may eventually help to highlight all the contradictions found while getting to fully comprehend these two well- known novels. 1. Image of slaves as depicted in “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” It was clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence of America that “We hold the truth to be self- evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This also means that all men in the United States of America are equal regardless of their age, sex, complexion and origin. However, the fact that black people were enslaved by the white for more than 200 years until 1865 is enough to judge that the justice mentioned in the above declaration was far from the reach of these poor creatures. In reality, what the colored people really received was a humiliated fate with no rights and no equality. Through his masterpiece “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Mark Twain kept all the bitter truth concerning slaves’ life and sufferings unfold to readers’ eyes. In addition to emphasizing the hardships that the blacks were forced to endure, the author gave his whole mind to meticulous description of their spiritual life which eventually made these creatures’ good virtues stand out and imprint in the mind of generations of readers.
    • 1.1 Slaves as hard-working but badly-treated creatures Being a person who witnessed with his own eyes the hard life of slaves and an outstanding representative of the realistic trend of literature, Mark Twain depicted truly in his works what a laborious existence the black had to endure until the last breath of their living. Under his skillful and realistic pen, these colored creatures were depicted as incredibly hard-working but badly- treated. The word “slave” or “Negro” or “nigger” itself asserts firmly the social status of black people in the American society at that time. It used to be taken as a matter of course by the white that niggers served as one of their properties among other things such as their houses, furniture, etc. The only striking difference to be recognized lies in these creatures’ ability to converse, to think and to be permanently exploited in terms of physical strength and labor. The work that slaves had to fulfill may vary from light to hard one but the common goal of their working was to satisfy the needs of their white master. As can be seen in “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, slaves’ work was mainly classified into two broad categories that were household chores like serving the masters' family members, cooking or feeding dogs and working on plantation. Critics did claim that in this novel, Mark Twain really concentrated on describing the “soft” version of black figures- slaves who only served in the house rather than the “hard” ones- those who worked on plantations. However, the author aimed to do this to make it clear to readers that what the “soft” endured was beyond any living creature’s imagination, let alone what the “hard” had to suffer. Contrary to common thoughts that doing household chores was seemingly less exhausting, slaves who were in charge of this kind of work had to experience such an equally hard time as those working outside on the fields. A female
    • slave working in Aunt Sally’s house had to overcome a sweated duty to feed her master’s dogs, “a nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in her hand, singing out, “Begone! you Tige! you Spot! begone Sah!” and she fetched first one and then another of them a clip and sent him howling”. Another good example is the image of Buck’s slave, who was to be beside her young master anywhere and at any time to accomplish whatever he asked her to “ Buck’s was on the jump most of the time.” It can be drawn out from this claim that Buck’s slave was forced to fulfill a lot of work, both named and unable-to-name one just to satisfy her master’s needs. As stated above, the “hard” version of colored servants received less direct description, but it does not mean that they enjoyed an easier life. To find a concrete testimony to this consideration, readers may turn to Huck’s observation on slaves working on farms or plantation, “the old gentlemen owned a lot of farms, and over a hundred niggers. Sometimes a stack of people would come there, horse back, from ten or fifteen mile around, and stay five or six days, and haves such junketings round about and on the river, and dances and picnics in the woods, day-times, and balls at the house, nights.” As can be drawn out from this observation, these creatures were given less unnamed work; nevertheless, they were still supposed to work until they were exhausted and sometimes, to serve a stack of white people coming for joy. Despite making tireless efforts in completing any task assigned by the owners, most of the time slaves were badly treated as a return without having the right to complain or rebel. These poor creatures were considered places for their masters to let out anger, dissatisfaction and discrimination. With regard to simple needs that all people have such as clothing, slaves were forced to contend with old rags clothes while their white masters got dressed in glossy shirts and suits. In this novel, Mark Twain used comparative skill to make the differences in dressings of the masters and the slaves outstanding in
    • the eyes of readers. While the white wore high quality and beautiful clothes such as those of the Grangerfords, “everyday of his life he put on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it”, the slave figure such as Aunt Sally’s wore old rag clothes and he seemed to have only one set of clothes, “his wool was tied up in a little bunches with thread”. Moreover, under any circumstances, slaves had to make themselves accustomed to the fact that the best things must always be for their masters, “my bed was a straw tick- better than Jim’s, which was a corn-shuck tick; there’s always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke into you and hurt”. Another fact to be observed is that black people, under any circumstances, were merely taken as property of the white. The fake King and Duke who in fact were just two base-born white men, took use of their old age appearance, fair complexion and cruel nature to cheat and enslave Jim for their self- interest. They made Jim bow whenever he spoke to them, made Jim stand around and wait on them so that all their needs would be fulfilled the very moment they were uttered out, quot;he said we bought to bow, when we spoke to himquot;; quot;all through dinner Jim stood around and wait on him.quot; The tragedy of this poor slave's life continued when these cunning men constantly planned to sell him for a sum of money though they were not Jim's owners. They pretended to other people as if they had caught a runaway nigger but could not take him back to his owner so they must give the chance for a reward to someone else. Only when Huck talked to a bot in the village near the river, did he realize the true color of these ruthless men. quot;Well- he says- you needn't be afread no more, becuz' they've got him. He run f'm down South, som'ers. It is a good job they got him. Well, I reckon! There's two hundred dollars reward on him. It's like picking up money out'n the road.quot;
    • At last, the fake King and Duke's mean scheme was successful, putting an end to all the great efforts Jim made in escaping from slavery. But the peak of the bad treatment that black people in this novel were obliged to suffer lay in the discrimination that came not only from their owners but also from other white people who had a notion that they were superior to these colored creatures. Even a useless drunk man like Huck’s Pap could voice that “…but when they told me there was a State in this country where they’d let that nigger vote, I drawed out. I say I’ll never vote again.” It is possible to draw out a conclusion from Huck’s words that the whole society at that time showed strong objections towards any person who treated niggers well or helped them when in need “It would get all around that Huck Finn helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if ever I was to see anybody from that town again I’d be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame. That’s just the way: a person does a low-down thing…” However, rarely do readers find any complaint or plans of rebellion from the mouth of these poor creatures unless they were driven to the corner. This may be understood as slaves' passive state resulted from the bad treatment which poured on their head for all their lifetime. Kept in constant fear of the white owners, black people were unable to think for themselves, let alone to control or decide their own life. Therefore, slaves' fate was put in the hands of their white masters, resulting in these colored creatures' complete dependence on the owners. Looking back on Jim’s case once again, readers find it pitiful for such a hard- working nigger who was at the risk of being sold by his mistress for money’s sake “... en I hear old missus tell de wider she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she didn’ want to, but she could git eight hund’d dollars for me, en it ‘uz sich a big stack o’ money she couldn’ resis’.” In hope of keeping his family away from being torn apart, Jim resignedly accept any ruthless treatment from his mistress, “Ole missus--she pecks on me all de time, en
    • treats me pooty rough..quot;; but still Jim was passive with his family members' fate as his wife and daughter were eventually sold to another plantation. To cut it short, by trying to play the role of both the insider and outsider of the stories, Mark Twain did gain great success in revealing the hard laborious life that all slaves suffered in order to bring about benefits to their white masters. Also, the author shaped in readers’ minds the long- lasting image of poor creatures who were so impotent and passive of their own fates as a result of their inferior status in the contemporary society. 1.2 Slaves as superstitious and strongly affected by supernatural power It is evident that a person is much influenced by the culture of the country or region in which he was born and grew up. Hence, slaves shared the same characteristics that their African culture formed in them. According to the theory presented in the book “History of Negro Americans”, “Africans were affected by, and concerned with the supernatural forces over which they had no control”, and this statement was actually proved by the expressions and reactions made by slaves in this novel who firmly believed in and worshipped the magic power and an unseen hand. Whenever black creatures were unable to explain a strange thing happening, they tended to shift the responsibility onto an invisible might. For instance, when Jim could not work out the trick that Tom played on him while he was sleeping, he blamed it all to the work of witches, “Jim said the witches bewitched him and put him in a trance, and rode him all over the state”. Or when being cheated by Tom and Huck, one of Aunt Sally’s slave voiced in a panic-striken way, “Oh, it’s de dad-blame’ witches, sah, en I wisht I was dead, I do. Dey’ awluz at it, sah, en dey do mos’ kill me, dey skyers me so.” Besides, all colored people in this novel had one thing in common, that was the respect for the magic power sent from
    • above. After the incident caused by Tom and Huck, Jim suddenly became a center of intention as the other niggers desperately longed for hearing Jim’s story, “Niggers would come miles to hear Jim tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in the country.” They gathered merrily to listen to the mysteries which, according to them, were created by a magic hand, “Strange niggers would stand with their mouth open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder.” The images of slaves’ mustering and their reactions to Jim’s story demonstrated fully the idea that these beliefs were highly valued by the whole community of slaves. And they satisfied the needs for knowing more about these supernatural forces through chatting almost anywhere and at any time, “Niggers is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire”. Jim and his fellows clearly perceived that each thing in the nature was the symptom of the future which could foretell the forth coming events, specifically, touching a snake-skin may be an ugly signal of bad luck, “You said it was the worst bad luck in the world to touch a snake-skin with my hands” and the same thing might occur when one counted before eating or washing carpet. What is more, if someone owning a bee-nest, died, the bee would be the first to know about their owner’s death before it really happened, “if a man owned a bee-hive, and that man died, the bees must be told about it before sun-up next morning or else the bees would all weaken down and quit work and die”. Interestingly, these black figures were not only obsessed with magic powers but they were also occupied by a terrible fear of these forces, “Jim always kept that five-center piece round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure anybody with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by saying something to it” Jim’s words may sound ridiculous and baseless to a person with common sense, however, they appeared to be reliable to slaves who acted under the influence of the powers they adored “Niggers would come
    • from all around there and give Jim anything they had, just a for a sight of that fivecenter piece; but they wouldn’t touch it, because the devil had had his hands on it”. It was this deeply-rooted fear that urged black people to stay away from sacrilege and bad luck. Jim did not dare to mention the death of a man he saw for fear of being chastised, “He said it would fetch bad luck and besides, he might come and han’t us; said a man that warn’t buried was more likely to go ahan’ting around than one that was planted and comfortable.” It is seemingly true to judge that slaves were constantly beset with the fear of their white owners - the tangible power which was equal to that of invisible forces such as ghosts, wraiths, witches, and so on. Another proof to show how supernatural powers affected slaves could be found in Huck’s description of Jim’s taboo,“He said he druther see the new moon over his left shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a snake-skin in his hands”. What readers possibly infer from slaves’ strong belief and fear of the magically unseen power existing around them is their innocence which might be the result of two main sources, niggers’ original African culture and the aims of the white owners. In other words, the formation of superstitious ideas in niggers is of the two kinds inborn and inbred which means the transmission of characteristics from the foregoers to the latter generations and the living environment influences, respectively. The inborn factors contribute to the making up of an individual while the inbred ones decide his development both in terms of physical and mental state. Noticeably, of these two sources, the former represents the heredity factors whereas the latter plays a more important and deciding role because it helps to deepen the system of superstitious ideas in colored figures’ minds. The white owners tried as hard as possible to keep slaves unaware of the fact that their superstition was baseless so that it could be easier for rulers to apply demagogic policies and weaken the possibility of slaves’ rebellion. In almost
    • no circumstances did the white owners prohibit their slaves from mentioning their superstitious thoughts; instead, all masters seemingly let the colored creatures sink in ignorance in order to keep them within control. Accordingly, slaves’ complete dependence on supernatural forces and an invisible magic hand is, to some extent, understandable. 1.3 Slaves as good- natured and kind- hearted creatures Commonly, people would consider it as a matter of course that living under such harsh conditions deters slaves from improving themselves into better creatures. However, in this novel, Mark Twain proved that these judgments are totally wrong by depicting these creatures as the ones with respectable kindness and nature. Whenever someone was in need and asked them for a helping hand, they were willing to do so. This was the case when Jim was on his escape and likely to end up being arrested if the Grangerfords’ slaves had not helped him, “Dey’s mighty good to me, dese niggers is, en whatever I wants ‘m to do fur me, I doan’ have to ast ‘m twice, honey. Dat Jack’s a good nigger, en pooty smart.” Not only did these black people save Jim, but they also treated him well by offering him a good place to hide, something to appease his hungry stomach and informed him the news he really wanted to know, “early in de mawnin’ some er de niggers come along, gwyne to de fields, en dey tuck me en showed me dis place, whah de dogs can’t track me on accounts o’ de water, en dey brings me truck to eat every night, en tells me how you’s a-gitt’n along.” A strong sense of solidarity and mutual protection was found in Jim’s words of his fellows. If seen in another situation, these actions may mean nothing, but in the particular situation of Jim’s runaway itinerary, they became incredibly valuable. The Grangerfords’ slaves, on saving and concealing Jim, did refuse to take a chance of reporting the runaway nigger to their master to get a big sum of money or at least get some sympathy from the owners. This acted as the most forceful proof of colored people’ kindness that could triumph the greediness for money.
    • Besides sacrificing the material prize for a life of a comrade,slaves may also take risk to save not only their fellow-creature but other people of different race as well. Cite Jim’s action as a convincing example, Jim decided to save and stay beside Tom- a white boy although Jim was fully aware that this definitely meant his lost opportunity of running away and becoming a free man. Mark Twain has constructed such a noble and kind-hearted black figure who would never leave his friends behind to purchase his own needs, “well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. Ef it wuz HIM dat ‘uz bein’ sot free, en one er de boys wuz to git shot, would he say, ‘go on en save me, nemmine ‘bout a doctor f’r to save dis one?’ Is dat like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say dat? You BET he wouldn’t! WELL, den, is Jim gwying to say it? No, sah---I doan’t bugde a step out’n dis place ‘doubt a DOCTOR, not if it’s forty years.” Even a white doctor, who also bore in his mind racial opinions and looked on niggers as inferior creatures, had to admit the good-hearted nature of slaves,“I got to have HELP somehow; and the minute I says it out craws this nigger from somewheres and say he’ll help, and he done it, too, and done it very well.” Jim’s timely decision to help the doctor saved Tom and made all the baseless reputation about black people’ evil essence fade away. Moreover, there is an old saying which used to be very famous in the contemporary society depicted in this novel, which is “Give a nigger an inch and he’ll take an ell”. It is possible to infer from this expression that slaves were generally thankless and unfaithful. However, the black figure Jim in the novel demonstrated that the reversal remark is the judicious one. Jim expressed simply and truthfully his gratefulness to Huck whenever Huck did him a favor, even though Huck’s actions were not always derived from the intention of helping Jim. For instance, when on the raft heading for Cairo- a free destination, Jim constantly admitted his joy and thankfulness to Huck because Huck had accompanied him in the journey, “pooty soon I’ ll be a-
    • shout’n’ for joy, en I’ll say, it’s all on accounts o’ Huck; I’s a free man, en I coundn’t ever ben free ef it hadn’t ben for Huck; Huck done it. Jim won’t ever forgit you, Huck; you’s de bes’ fren’ Jim’s ever had; en you’s de ONLY fren’ ole Jim’s got now.” If Jim’s runaway journey was to be successful, it was a deserving repayment for his endurance to difficulties and his endless efforts. But Jim never thought so because he declared that he owned Huck for Huck’s help and companionship and without Huck beside, he could never get what he dreamt of. By a self- negation, Jim appeared more commendable a person than ever. Jim trusted Huck thoroughly and adored the little white boy as his beloved benefactor. The statement ““I tell you, chile, I’spec it save’ ole Jim---ole Jim aint’ going to forgit you for dat, honey” alone can serve as the clearest evidence for slaves’ long-lasting thankfulness to the ones who offered them a help in grievous situations. Added to this, slaves proved that they could be good friends to other people as the white could. The image of the raft carrying the two people of two different races making friends with each other and living in harmony during the same journey to freedom has remained one of the most impressive and moving images in American literature. Jim, on his runaway itinerary, became Huck’s companion, Huck’s dad and Huck’s best friend. It is extremely infantile for white people of the contemporary society to jugde that the so-called inferior creatures like niggers knew nothing about highly moral values such as sacrifice or gratefulness because the way Jim treated little Huck could really defeat all the doubts concerning slaves’ willingness to self- sacrifice for others. There existed at least three circumstances in which Huck felt so moved for the good thing Jim had saved up for him, “I went to sleep, and Jim didn’t call me when it was my turn. He often done that”;“I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it for me; he was always mighty good that way, Jim was.” Jim’s determination to fight against the sleepiness so that
    • Huck could enjoy a good slumber stayed in Huck’s mind as the sweetest memory whenever he recalled the time they shared in the raft “I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping.” It is worth noting that the friendship between Jim- a black figure and Huck- a white boy was fitly the same as any relationship that the white had with the white or the black had with the black. Jim always cared for Huck, fidgeted when Huck was out of sight and sighed in relief to find Huck around again, all safe and sound. On discovering that Huck was not drowned and presented in the flesh right in front of his bare eyes, words failed to express how thankful to God and happy Jim was. He could not believe his own eyes for such a miracle, then he cried, uttered rapid-fire questions and mostly kissed Huck’s foot for he could not think of any other action to show his boundless gladness, “Good gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain’ dead- you ain’ drownded- you’s back again? It’s too good for true, honey, it’s too good for true”; “En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo’ foot,I’s so thankful.” Here, a series of similar sentence structures was tactfully used by Mark Twain to strongly emphasize the happiness of Jim on reuniting with his dear little friend. That was slaves’ sincere feeling towards their loved friends which not every white man in that society had. Another interesting point to be observed is the respectable spiritual life of colored people. Contrary to racial statements which asserted that niggers had no thought in depth, slaves were also human being, thus, they were permanently tormented by their impotence in life. The specific case of Jim was the most evident proof for this consideration. Jim found himself an impotent husband and father, as he could not keep his family under a roof; therefore, he often blamed himself for his powerlessness. Feeling helpless in life, Jim chose to speak out his emotions and desire of a united family, “Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself. He was saying how
    • the first thing he would do when he got to the free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife…and then they would both work to buy the two children” Jim had planned in his head a perfect scheme of saving his wife and children which acted as the biggest motivation for him to overcome all the harsh conditions in his escape but the impression of being impotent constantly tortured Jim and left him monotonous days and wakeful nights, “When I waked up at just daybreak, he was sitting there with his head down betwixt his kness, moaning and mourning to himself”, “he was often moaning and mourning that way nights…” The thought of his separated family dominated his heart and his mind and pushed him into a life full of sorrow and regret, “He was thinking about his wife and children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick.” By portraying vividly the image of a powerless slave, Mark Twain has reached the goal of evoking deep sympathy in readers’ gracious heart towards spiritual torment that black people had to suffer. What is equally enjoyable to take a look into is the regretful feelings that black creatures had in retrospective of the mistakes made in the past. Whenever Jim thought back on the time he, in an irritating moment, treated his daughter badly, he always fell into an awful and remorseful state, “Oh, de po’ little thing! De Lord God Amighty forgive po’ ole Jim, kaze he never gwying to forgive hisself as long’s he live!” Whoever thinks that slaves were cruel and cold-blooded should really change his or her mind on witnessing how deeply sorry Jim was for the minor mistake which has become a thing of the past. Jim dared to admit his fault and did not forgive himself in order to stay away from such mistake. This is a beautiful virtue that could not be found in many cruel white men at the contemporary society. In brief, in the novel “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Mark Twain used his realistic pen to expose the life of slaves in American society in nineteenth century and to depict truly the image of black figures as human
    • beings with a lot of good and respectable qualities. No matter how hard living conditions were, slaves made incredible efforts to assert their beautiful nature. Under the sympathetic views of the author, these creatures appeared in front of readers’ eyes as extremely hard- working but badly treated, innocent people and just as kind- hearted and good- natured as any white masters. 2. Image of slaves as depicted in “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” Despite the fact that “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” worked on the same sensitive issue- “slavery” as “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, there was hardly any similarity between the two novels; rather, a sense of contradiction was found, especially in the way Mark Twain depicted slaves’ spiritual life. To be more specific, in the “Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”, a tendency of pessimism about slaves' nature seemed to flow through the novel. The author did tactfully create a situation in which the main slave figure Tom Driscoll was put into a better world, the world of the white master by his nigger mother’s intentional action of exchanging him with the real master; however, in such an ideal living condition, Tom appeared to have no positive improvement in his thoughts and actions, or in other words, in his true color. This stirred all the favorable judgments relating to slaves’ good essence as can be seen in quot;The adventures of Huckleberry Finnquot; and resulted in controversial issues over the hidden implication Mark Twain wanted to capture when building up such negative facets of slaves. 2.1 Slaves as deceitful and greedy creatures In opposition to common assumptions that slaves were generally ignorant and simple-minded, black creatures in this novel left readers a profound impression on their deceitfulness and greediness. It was totally well- aimed by the author to stress on a strenuous situation right from the beginning of the story in which the master Driscoll got angry for losing a sum of money for the fourth time. When he decided that sharp measures must be taken, the
    • confessions of his own servants have clearly stated that each of them did take some properties from their kind-hearted master, “None has stolen anything – not money, anyway – a little sugar, or cake, or honey, or something like that”. Another petty thief that was sarcastically shaped by the author was no one except the false master Tom Driscoll, who was born slave but luckily escaped his fate by his mother’s calculated action. Although Tom Driscoll was fully nurtured in desirably material conditions, his longings for other fellows’ properties appeared to be no weaker than any slaves, “he had been prowling about in disguise, stealing small valuables from private houses; in fact, had made a good deal of a raid on his fellow- villagers a fortnight before.” Tom committed so many uninterrupted raiding affairs that an attempt to list the victims’ name seemed to be out of the question, “The Hankeses, the Dobsons, the Pilligrews, the Ortons, the Grangers, the Hales, the Fullers, the Holcombs, in fact everybody that lives around about Aunt Patsy Cooper’ has been robbed…” Through witnessing Tom’s robberies, naturally, readers of the story are put into doubt about the fake master’s nature and that of other slaves because his greediness was put right beside that of black people who was in the same class with him. No matter what they took from their owners, trivial or valuable things, their actions were enough to make them remembered as thieves in other people’s eyes. However, their wrong doings, to some extent, did no harm to anybody involved especially when being compared to Roxy’s act of switching the two little boys which resulted in an imitation- slave and an imitation- master as well as a series of serious consequences afterwards. The thought that her beloved son would be sold down the river at any time crazed Roxy with horror and pushed her to exchange her son with her master’s son when they were still in the cradles, “You’s young Marse Tom fum this out, en I got to pratise and git used to ‘memberin’ to call you dat, honey.” This action later served as the centre of the whole story and the root of all the evils happened
    • in Dawson’s Landing. On giving her son the life of a master, Roxy not only cheated her mater, who had always been kind to her, but she also robbed the true master of the life he deserved, throwing him into slavery- a world full of sufferings . Roxy may rely on her miseries to find an excuse for her cheating deed, but her action was so persuasive a proof to demonstrate that she was terribly deceitful. To round up, it sounds reasonable if readers are to remark that slaves, as reflected in this novel, seemed to share deceitfulness and greed in common for all the thievery deeds they committed. Their act of stealing, irrespective of the stuff’s value, would always be strongly criticized as bad doings by any well- bred fellow. 2.2 Slaves as ungrateful people It is not hasty at all to conclude that slaves showed little gratefulness to their benefactors. That is not to generalize that all of them were thankless, but the two main slave characters of the novel, Tom and Roxy, who were representative of slave class in this story, undoubtedly bore in their nature characteristics of ungrateful people. The most symbolic example of this judgement is the fake master Tom Driscoll who from time to time reciprocated the goodness of his doting benefactor, Mr. Judge Driscoll and self-sacrifice of his poor slave mother, Roxy by shameful actions. Roxy’s plan along with good luck changed Tom’s fate from being a meek creature to a respectable young master with an ideal living atmosphere. Notwithstanding, from early childhood to the very moment the fake master knew his true identity, it seemingly never occurred to Tom that he must behave well to deserve what was bestowed upon him. Despite being brought up in best conditions, with all the petting, beautiful clothes, delicacies and good
    • education, Tom demonstrated how thankful he was to his uncle’s love by uninterruptedly raiding throughout the town, gambling and being up his ears in debt. But that was not merely where his thanklessness ended because as the stories went on and a looming threat of losing the will added by the thirst for three hundred dollars emerged, Tom implemented a plan to rob his own uncle which was followed by his cruel action of killing the old gentle man to cover up the crime, “When he was passing his uncle, the old man stirred in his sleep, and Tom stopped instantly – stopped, and softly drew the knife from its sheath…After a moment or two he ventured forward again – one step reached for his prize and seized it, dropping the knife-sheath.” Tom’s immoral doing was committed in such a clear-cut and cold-hearted way that it could give readers a shiver to see what an ingratitude the false heir showed towards his poor uncle. Another fact to be mentioned is that there was hardly any improvement in the way Tom treated his slave mother Roxy, without the help of whom, his life would surely turn into something unbearable. The substitution of the two babies done by the slave woman, Roxy, changed the slave boy’s fate incredibly. The imitation- master got all the things he needed and was extremely pampered by his blood mother Roxy as well as his uncle. Nevertheless, all the thankfulness Tom demonstrated in reply for Roxy’s upbringing was his scornful and cold-hearted attitude towards her for a simple reason that she was only an old nigger mammy, which was revealed in his conversation with Roxy when she came to find him: “My lan’, how you is growed, honey! ‘Clah to goodness, i wouldn’t a- knowed you, Marse Tom! ‘deed I wouldn’t…” Cut it short, - it, cut it short! What is it you want? …
    • Oh, marse Tom, de po’ ole mammy is in sich hard luck dese days; en she’s kinder crippled in de arms en can’t work, en if you could gimme a dollar – on’y jes one little dol – A dollar! – give you a dollar! I’ve a notion to strangle you! Is that you errand here? Clear out and be quick about it!quot; On finding out the frightening fact that he was born a slave but was exchanged with the true master and it was Roxy, the old mammy who did that substitution for him, Tom’s reaction even grew worse. Instead of feeling extremely thankful to his mother, he took advantage of her compassion for the only son to commit such an unforgivable action of filial impiety: selling his own mammy down the river into slavery. When Roxy suggested Tom to sell her for six hundred dollars, no thought of worry over his own mother’s fate occurred in Tom’s mind; instead, his hope and spirit began to rise. He shouted for joy immediately, “It’s lovely of you, mammy- it’s just- ” and promised to sell her to an up-country farm where she could enjoy an easy life and then he would buy her free again. But Tom took no hesitation in going back on his promise and selling Roxy down the river, which was the most horrific nightmare to all niggers at Dawson Landing, with an excuse that he “meant it for the best”. The old saying printed in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s calendar “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man” proves itself to be true when it comes to Tom’s case. After all the love, care and self- sacrifice that Roxy gave him, Tom still considered her as a means to bring about benefits to him and deceived her in a way that even Roxy herself had to remark later as “I wouldn’t treat a dog so!” Roxy was another eloquent testimony of the remark that slaves in this novel were ungrateful creatures. A moment of depression and worry instigated her to substitute the real master by her slave son and betrayed her
    • beloved master Driscoll. Although Misto Judge Driscoll had always been gentle and kind to Roxy, she returned his favor by pushing his own son into slavery, causing him much suffering and shame. If it had not been for Roxy’s action of exchanging the two babies, the fake master Tom would have never killed his uncle for the will that he did not deserve. What is more, Roxy contributed much to the success of Tom’s plan to seize and keep the will unchanged for each of his action was followed and calculated beforehand by her, “Here’s what you got to do… you’s got to show him what you kin do in de nex’ few days. You’s got to be pison good, en let him see it, you got to do everything dat’ll make him b’lieve in you”. Roxy should have felt regretful for her deceitful action and tried to correct the mistake by advising Tom into reforming himself but what she actually did was to take no account of the kindness that master Driscoll and his family did to her and became an accessory of Tom in raiding and killing his uncle. To cut it short, on witnessing how thankless slaves were towards their benefactors, it is not difficult to realize that the shadow of inhumanity completely cast over their heads and kept them occupied with cold-hearted thoughts of the ones who treated them so well. 2.3 Slaves as calculating and cruel creatures Needless to say, there may appear suspicions concerning the appropriateness of the judgement that main slave characters in this novel share calculated mind and cruelty in common. However, this consideration asserts itself to be well-based if readers are to have a closer look on how slaves acted out throughout the story. Concerning Roxy, her act of exchanging the two boys when they were in cradles may serve as the very first sign of her calculating characteristic. It
    • hardly ever occurred in her head that what she was going to do was a heinous sin; in contrast, she did it willingly and definitively as if the plan had been made in advance and ready to be implemented in the right time, “She began to move about like one in a dream. She undressed Thomas à Becket, stripping him of everything and put the town-linen shirt on him. She put his coral necklace on her own child’s neck.” Knowing that her white master was too busy with his business to recognize the changes happened to his own son and that to the nigger’s, Roxy was totally absorbed in setting up new plans for the following days to cheat the old man. She took occasionally rest from making herself acquainted to calling her own son by a new name “Marse Tom” and the real master by “Chambers” and treating them in almost the reverse direction, petting for the false master and severity for the poor imitation- slave. As she progressed with her practice, a feeling of great surprise felt over readers to witness how steadily and surely the awe which had kept her tongue reverent and her manner humble toward her young, real master was transferring itself to her speech and manner toward the usurper, and how similarly handy she was becoming in putting her motherly curtness of speech as well as in peremptoriness of manner to the unlucky heir; “She would give her own child a light pat and say humbly, ‘Lay still, Marse Tom’, then give the real Tom a pat and say with severity, ‘Lay still, Chambers! – does you want me to take somep’n’ to you?” It is her carefulness along with firm determination in each step of carrying out her plan that gives readers a great fear for her venturesome and calculating thoughts. And when Roxy was put on the brink of poverty, the inborn nature once again found way to tempt the slave woman to act out of self-interest and calculations for her own sake. After a long time apart, the upper most important reason for Roxy’s coming back did not lie in the longing for maternal love but ridiculously in her thirst for money from her own son; “Oh, Marse Tom, de po’ ole mammy is in sich hard luck dese day; en she’s kinder crippled in de arms en can’t work, en if
    • you could gimme a dollar”. On realizing that her beg was ruthlessly turned down by her thankless son, a new scheme immediately marked its presence in her calculating head, which was to threaten Tom that she would reveal the truth about her exchanging the two boys to uncover his true identity. Roxy’s words was so influential that she at last gained what she aimed to reach for and the power over her own son, “Now den, Chambers, we’s gwine to talk business, en dey ain’t gwine to be no mo’ foolishness. In the fust place, you gits fifty dollahs a month; you’s gwine to han’ over half of it to yo’ ma. Plank it out!” It can be interpreted through Roxy’s words that the sacred mother- son relationship she had with her dear kid was now put on the scale and valued merely equal to half of fifty dollars a month. But it was not simply the end of her greediness as her foxy mind did not cease inciting her to ask for more. Roxy kept planning in her head ways to direct her son to go on doing anything, even raiding and murdering people to bring her benefits, “...His mother was gone; but she came back by and by, with the news of the grand reception at Patsy Cooper’s, and soon persuaded him that the opportunity was like a special providence, it was so inviting and perfect.” Roxy also proved herself to be a perfect mastermind as well as accessory of Tom and his immoral doings. She was the one observing Tom and pulling the strings behind the scene in every step that Tom took, from schemes to seize the will to shameful raids and unforgivable homicide. If someone is to remark that no mother would stand idly in front of the prospect that her own son was on the edge of demoralization, he should really change his mind when counting for Roxy’s case. The bitter truth here is not only did Roxy ignore her son’s immoral actions, but she also encouraged and helped him in harboring dark intentions. She did ask Tom to reform himself to become a good man for the time being, but the motive underneath her request was to show Tom the nearest way to take the will from his uncle and have a firm grasp on it, “So- you’s got to show him what you kin do in the nex’ few days. You’s got to be
    • pison good, en let him see it; you got to do everything dat’ll make him b’lieve in you…” To be more specific, Roxy gave Tom valuable pieces of advice to follow in order to win his uncle’s heart and belief, the wisest of which was to stop in a while committing bad companies such as raiding, gambling and drinking to let the doting benefactor acknowledge the false heir’s reformation, “You ain’t gwyne to steal a pin…en you ain’t gwyne to drink a drop and gamble one single gamble.” The strong determination found in the way Roxy control her son shaped in readers’ mind the image of a female slave who spent most of her lifetime on calculating thoughts and bad schemes. Moreover, it can be noticed that the old saying “like father, like son” should really be adapted to “like mother, like son” when it comes to Roxy and her own son’s case. In fact, the fake master Tom proved to be no less calculating than his mother in the sense that all of his plans, no matter how small or big, were equally worked out with careful consideration. Although the imitation-master was bestowed on ideal living and educational conditions along with care and love from his nearest relatives, Tom never behaved well enough to make others feel satisfied with him. What he really did was nothing but constant raiding, gambling and drinking. There emerged some rare occasions in which Tom chalked out meticulous plans to reform himself, but the aims of these thoughtful schemes were merely for his self-interest. Specifically, when Tom was on the risk of being disinherited, he immediately worked out a list of actions he was going to take in order to catch the will again , “To begin, he said to himself, I’ll square up with my proceeds of my raid, and then gambling has got to be stopped- and stopped short off”. Good luck did knock at the false heir’s door because after these in time doings, he was safe with the bill on his hands. However, in order to be sure that the will would not float out from his possession under any circumstances, another well thought-out plan was worked out in his head. From the initial stop in
    • gambling and raiding for the time being, Tom decided to get rid of these bad companies for the rest of his lifetime to restore him to the favor of his uncle and aunt, “I’ve got the fortune again, but I’ll not let in I know about it. And this time I’m going to hang on it. I take no more risks. I’ll gamble no more, I’ll drink no more, because- well, because I’ll not go where there is any of that sort of thing going on, again. It’s the sure way and the only sure way.” However, the will was the crucial event of the future; thus, it could not save Tom from the current debts he was deep in. As a result, Tom once again had to rack his own brain for a life- saving schedule. It did not take long before he came up with a new idea and stuck to it right away. Tom's slave mother was so touched by his despair and misery that she decided to ask him to sell her into slavery for a sum of money, which could rescue him from currently hard situation. But even that great sacrifice did not move Tom or make him rethink of all his mistakes and misbehaved actions; rather, it shaped in his mind an extremely cold- hearted plan. Instead of selling Roxy up stream to a white master who was pleasant as promised, Tom committed a guilt of treason: selling his own mother “down the river” to an exploitative cotton- planter. For any slave in this story, being sold down the river also meant being thrown into an endless nightmare in which hard work and sufferings were to be their only companions. Despite knowing this bitter fact better than anyone else as Tom was a white master, he tried to persuade himself that the little trick he played on his own mother would do her no harm, “It’s for only a year. In a year I buy her free again; she’ll keep that in mind, and it’ll reconcile her.” Tom’s plan was smoothly carried out, leading to the miseries Roxy had to experience later and a short time for the fake master to relax before he was up in another well-thought plan. Tom found himself in such a terribly unlucky lot when Roxy ran away from the cotton farm and came to find him to chastise for his deceitful action. Roxy asked Tom to buy her freedom at once by his money in a menacing manner but Tom was in an
    • impotent state because he was totally hard-up. As a result, the imitation- master drew up another raid and the unfortunate object of his plan was no one but his doting benefactor, Judge Driscoll. From the author’s depiction on how Tom carried out the thievery, it is easy to realize that the mastermind was mighty well-prepared for his doings, “He laid off his coat and hat and began his preparations. He unlocked his trunk and got his suit of girl’s clothes out from under the male attire in it and laid it by. Then he blacked his face with burn cock and put the cork in his pocket. His plan was to slip down to his uncle’s private sitting- room below, pass into the bed room, steal the safe- key from the ole gentleman’s clothes, and then go back and rob the safe.” Tom’s foxy mind did not forget to warn him of bad situation in which he might get caught; consequently, he took along the Indian knife stolen from the twins for self-defense and felt extremely confident for the mission. However, what Tom calculated upon did not happen according to his predictions. Had the poor old gentlemen not woken up right in the middle of his dear nephew’s robbing act, Tom’s meticulous plan would have come off successfully. In an attempt to run away and cover up the crime, Tom did an unforgivable action of killing his uncle with the Indian knife. Through witnessing the false heir’s uninterrupted missions, it seems to readers that throughout the whole story, Tom used his head for only one aim, which was chalking out evil plans in order to possess things exterior to his proprietary rights. The most interesting point to be observed is that on the process of studying Tom's characteristic to the fullest, the word quot;crueltyquot; seems to flow into readers' mind unconsciously. From the very early age, while most other boys and girls were innocent and simple-minded, Tom showed a tendency of being a cold-blooded person, demonstrated by the way he treated the imitation-slave Chambers. During their childhood, Chambers were constantly exploited and bullied by his master but the poor slave chose to endure it for
    • there was no other way for him, quot;In babyhood Tom cuffed and banged and scratched Chambers unrebuked and Chambers early learned that between meekly bearing it and resenting it, the advantage all lay with the former policy”. When the two boys both grew up, the poor real master still had to suffer from the unpredictable anger and discomfort of the imitation-master, quot;Tom rained cuffs upon the head and its shield, saying no word: the victim received each blow with beseeching, ‘Please, Marse Tom!- oh, please, Marse Tom!’ seven blows- then Tom said, ‘Face the door – march!’ He followed behind with one, two, three kick.. The last one helped the pure-white slave over the door sill...quot; And because Chambers were physically stronger, Tom from time to time used him as a bodyguard at school and a good fighter against those the fake master hated and was afraid of. Even worse than that, in some cases, Tom's cruelties did harm Chamber's life but the cold-blooded master only showed an I-don't-care attitude. The first occasion to be listed was when Chambers and Tom went diving. Tom envied Chambers for the nigger's talent in diving, thus, he waited until Chambers threw back somersaults from the stern of a canoe, then cold- heartedly quot;shoved the canoe underneath Chambers while he was in the air- so he came down on his head in the canoe-bottom and lay unconscious...quot; More seriously, when both of the boys were fifteen, Tom insulted and drove his pocket-knife into Chambers two or three times just for a dead simple and absurd reason: Chambers saved him from drowning, which made the false heir feel shameful of being remained quot;publicly and permanently under such an obligation as this to a nigger, and to this nigger of all niggersquot; There was no hesitation appeared in Chambers's mind when he swam out to save the life of a person who had always been rude to him, but what the poor imitation-slave got in return was nearly the loss of his life. Some of Tom's actions such as little tricks and bullies he played on Chambers may be blamed upon the naughty and combative nature of boys; however, the image of a fifteen-year-old boy
    • stabbing another boy for having saved him could be enough for someone to predict that in many probabilities, this boy would become a very cruel man in the future. Interestingly, the prediction on the development of Tom's characteristic proved to be right as the story progressed on. Tom became more and more wicked towards those who sacrificed for him and reserved desperate love on him. The popular saying which goes quot;no one runs down on his own parentsquot; seems to be inexplicable when regarding Tom's case because his slave mother was the very one he made little of the most. Although Roxy willingly did a reckless action of substituting the two boys to lift Tom up to the position of a master, Tom took her doings for granted and felt contempt for her all the time. quot;...so she loved him, and told him so. It made him wince, secretly- for she was a 'nigger'.quot; The thankless son even considered the endearments expressed by his mother a mental torture for she was of a despised race, quot;Roxana poured out endearments upon him, to which he responded uncomfortably...These intimacies quickly became horrible to him...quot; Obviously, if it had not been for Roxy's status as a slave, Tom's attitudes towards her might have been less ruthless. But what Tom thought of his mother in his heartless mind was still much more pleasant in comparison with what he actually did to her. He took advantage of Roxy's great sacrifice to cheat her with no mercy and sell her into slavery down the river where she had to suffer from both physical and mental torture. The little rag conscience left in him gave him just one week full of unsound sleep for the villainy he played upon his trusting mother, but soon after that, he was on his routine again and quot;was be able to sleep like any other miscreant.quot; In fact, the cold- blooded son once experienced qualms of conscience for his immoral doings; yet the repentance only flashed over his head and was too weak to demonstrate that Tom felt regretful of his actions. He made an unpractical promise to himself, quot;In a year I buy her free againquot; but he meant it to drive away annoying feelings for his bad company. Paying attention to the false
    • master's comment when Roxy ran away from slavery and came back to tell the betrayer all the bitterness befallen on her, the cruel nature in Tom was disclosed to readers to the clearest level. Tom's heart was fired with fury against the plantantion-owner's wife who contributed much to the miseries Roxy had to undergo and her running away. But careful investigation into Tom’s feelings would reveal that he was furious not for he had any mercy on Roxy over her sufferings or felt sorry for her but rather because Tom believed that without these hardships, Roxy could have been content with her nigger fate much longer; thus, she would have never turned up before his eyes once again, quot;But for that meddlesome fool, everything would have gone alright.quot; Up to the point when Tom uttered these callous words until the very last detail of the whole novel, there was scarcely a shadow of an occasion in which Tom expressed a little notion of thankfulness for the comfortable life his mother had to risk her own life to give him. In contrast, he only showed deep disregard of her origin and status and did many an iron-hearted action to hurt and drive her into the corner. His own mother, the nearest and most doting creature to him, did not receive any kind treatment from him during her piteous lifetime, let alone other people who have no blood ties with him. Accordingly, it is an easy-to-understand matter to see how pitilessly he treated people around him. Tom's poor old uncle was perhaps the one to endure more than anyone else the callousness in his fake nephew's nature. Despite being extremely decent to Tom by nurturing him, sending him to reputable school and leaving the will for him, what the old gentleman actually got in return was only disappointment and hurt. Besides uninterruptedly inventing lies to cheat the poor man and committing bad companies, Tom also worked out careful plans to win his property. More seriously, Tom even drove his uncle to dangerous situations in which he nearly lost his life. Cite the duel with one of the Twins as the most outstanding example, on hearing that the duel which he cowardly refused to
    • take before was accepted by his uncle- old Judge Driscoll to save the honor of the family, nothing but cruel thoughts entered Tom's mind, quot;Oh dear, if the twin had only killed him, I should be out of my- quot;. The sentence was left half-done but no difficulty is found in interpreting it. It was meant by the false heir’s emotionless utterance that he desperately wished that his uncle had got killed in the duel so that Tom would have been freed from worry for changes in the will. If the poor old man who was always considerate and enduring to his bad nephew's faults had overheard these ruthless words, he might have died of hurt before being stabbed to death later by the one uttering them. The act of Tom robbing his own uncle and killing him callously would always imprint in readers' mind as the uppermost obvious evidence of the cruelty in his nature. In fact, the plan Tom worked out was awfully perfect as his uncle would never be aware of a situation in which he was betrayed by one of the people he loved and pampered the most. Unfortunately, it was not until the very last breath of his life, did the old gentleman realize the true colors and feelings of his beloved relative. It can be concluded that right in the preparation stage for the raid, Tom did think of the worst case in which he had to end the old man's life to cover up his crime, quot;Suppose he should make a noise, by some accident, and get caught - say, in the act of opening the safe? Perhaps it would be well to go armed.quot; Tom's intuition was right because he was caught red-handed and had to use the knife to kill the victim. The betrayer acted so promptly and stone-heartedly that his uncle had no chance at all to self-defense, quot;After a moment or two he ventured forward again - one step- reached for his prize and seized it, dropping the knife shealth. The he felt the old man's strong grip upon him, and a wild cry of 'Help! Help!' rang in his ear. Without hesitation he dropped the knife home- and was free.quot; The way Tom robbed a person, especially his nearest and kind relative of his dear life was so swift and cold- blooded that it made all readers feel panic-stricken for the cruelty that totally reigned his
    • mind. In sum, the calculations and cruelty that can be seen in slaves’ thoughts and actions really put an end to readers’ hope for a single positive expression in their characteristics. Seemingly, all the questions and debates over the true nature of slaves were solved when Tom committed fiendish homicide while implementing his raiding plan. It is also undeniable that anyone with a good- natured heart would get extremely irritated after noticing that the slave figures in this novel from time to time did harm to their most doting benefactors. Chapter V. Conclusion It is undeniable that the name Mark Twain has always been glorified as one of the greatest representative of the world’s literature in general and of American one in particular. He also acted as the foregoer of the Realistic trend of literature, which later became the favorable path of many a famous writer. With a huge number of literary works, including well-known and beloved novels, travel books and short articles, Twain really deserves Howells’s remark to be the “sole, incomparable” and “the Lincoln” of American literature. Millions of readers all over the world have found it impossible to resist the attraction of his works as all of them were so interesting and tactfully written. Interestingly, the author was extremely
    • successful in using his realistic pen to expose to readers many aspects of life and satisfy their need of taking a deep insight into typical problems of American contemporary society. As can be noticed by any keen reader of Mark Twain, together with many other factors, quot;themequot; played an essential role in his resounding success. When one raises the question concerning the most common theme in Mark Twain’s writing, it is obvious that the answer must be “slavery”. In his lifetime, the author witnessed two important events which were the extension of slavery and later the Civil war (1861-1865) that put an end to slavery; therefore, this controversial issue naturally found way to influence the majority of Mark Twain’s works. Each time the author mentioned this subject matter in his prose, readers have the feeling of looking into the same topic but from different aspects. The most vivid illustration for the above consideration lies nowhere else but in his masterpiece “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and in the equally interesting novel known as “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”. Acting as an enthusiastic defender for slaves, throughout these two novels, Mark Twain made use of his lively description to lay bare all the bitter truth concerning the fate of slaves and to provide readers with a full view on these creatures’ characteristics and nature. However, a deep analysis on the two marvelous novels would probably provoke a judgement that “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” were seemingly aimed at building up contrasting facets of slaves. Firstly, regarding the author’s masterpiece “The adventure of Huckleberry Finn”, a sense of optimism in Twain’s depiction felt over readers’ mind on discovering all the good qualities of slaves, especially the colored figure, Jim. By creating a moving journey to freedom of two people of totally different backgrounds: a white boy and a runaway black, the author enabled his black figure to expose his true colors naturally and honestly. It is amazing for all readers to realize that like any good-
    • natured white people, slaves owned respectable virtues such as kind- heartedness, self-sacrifice, industriousness and gratefulness. More amazingly, slaves did prove that their spiritual life was of myriad forms and shapes in the sense that they also cared for their beloved people and regretted about their mistakes as much as their white masters did. In fact, under Twain’s blow-by- blow description, the colored man Jim was lifted up to the position of a hero for his beautiful mind and actions. However, the voice of optimism in “The adventure of Huckleberry Finn” was hardly found in “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson”, which can be partially explained by the fact that the latter was written in the dark period of the author’s life after he experienced the death of his beloved wife and children. Accordingly, readers may find a voice of pessimism the first and long-lasting impression after reading the whole course of the novel. To be more specific, slaves in this novel marked their presence as being very bad people. Hardly had readers see any performance of slaves' spiritual life because if they really had one, it was only a rather cold mother and son relationship between Roxy and her son. Even worse than that, these figures seemed to display devil’s facets in their nature. Cite Roxy’s action as clear evidence, she dared to exchange her son for the little master and in her course of doing so, she never thought that her wrong doing was going to kill the future of the innocent son of her white master. Roxy’s son, Valet de Chambers who was luckily put into the position of a white man and became fake master Tom, sent shudder to readers’ heart by the cold- blooded crime of killing his own uncle, the most doting benefactor to him. What is more, as the story progressed on, readers are strongly impressed by other unbearable actions of these two slave figures which demonstrated that they were so greedy, calculating and ungrateful. The most important thing to be mentioned is that Mark Twain did create a situation in which the male slave Chambers was endowed with all the ideal conditions for full development both physically and mentally as any other white master. He
    • grew up in the lap of luxury, studied in good school and received care and love from his near relatives; nevertheless, in his characteristic, there appeared a number of features which could hardly be called virtue. It is this paradox that triggers controversial issues about the real nature of slaves and about the appropriateness of environmental determinism when applying to the fake master Tom Driscoll. Normally, human beings are believed to be strongly affected by their living environment. This also means that living conditions play an indispensable role in deciding the development of a person; or in other words, a person's character is determined by the conditions that he lives in. However, this well-known theory does not work when it comes to Tom's case. In stead of becoming a kind-hearted man for he grew up in favorable conditions and within the care and love from his relatives, also his doting benefactors, Tom from time to time committed bad companies and even shameful sins which proved that he was a really ungrateful, ruthless and dangerous man. Apparently, on putting “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” side by side, readers could have clearer notion of the contrasting images of slaves built up in each novel: the positive facets of slaves and the negative ones, respectively. In addition, readers will naturally come up with questions relating to deep implication behind this contradiction. Perhaps, one suitable inference from this is that the author really aimed to discover different aspects of slaves’ life, thoughts and actions so as to find out the real nature of these creatures. It seems that by questioning the true colors of slaves, the author wanted to cast his doubts over two matters. The first one is whether slaves would become better creatures if they were given favorable conditions as the whites were. The fact that the imitation-master Tom still grew up into a mean man in spite of having all good conditions really challenged any claim that if slaves were put in better living conditions, they would possess a more beautiful mind and
    • nature. But seemingly the second matter is the very issue that Mark Twain really suspected, that is the effects of the movement of freeing slaves in the contemporary American society. The author was dubious about whether it was more reasonable to keep slaves in their former position than to free them. This may be resulted from Twain's disappointment in slaves' nature and educability because in an attempt to provide these creatures with favorable conditions as well as equal chances as their white owners, the author was deeply disappointed as the changes found in slaves' characteristics, thoughts and actions were so negative. The author's suspicions eventually led to a feeling that even if slaves were given better conditions, they could never reach to the same status as the white people. All in all, “The adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson” did provide readers with an acute insight into slaves’ life and their characteristics. Although the ideas presented in the former were contrasting to the latter resulting in hot debates ever since, the two novels would always be regarded as the resounding success which contributed greatly to Mark Twain’s world-wide fame. References 1, Nina Baym et al. The Norton Anthology of American Literature (W.W Norton and Company) 2, From slavery to freedom- A history of Negro Americans, John Hope Franklin, fifth edition, Edward F. Sweat, 1980, New York. 3, The health introduction to literature, Alice S. Landy- DC health and company, 1984 4, Mark Twain's life and works, retrieved from http://www.online- literature.com/twain/ 5, Mark Twain. Những cuộc phiêu lưu của Huck Finn (NXB Văn Học, 2001)
    • 6, The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, retrieved from http://books.google.com.vn/books? id=R1oP5pOlkoMC&dq=the+adventures+of+huckleberry+finn 7, The tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, Penguine Classics, 1894 8, What did Mark Twain write about slavery. Was he a racist? retrieved from http://classiclit.about.com/od/marktwainfaqs/f/faq_mtwain_slav.htm 9, Slavery in the Reconstruction Era in America, retrieved from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/6010/Black-Reconstruction.html