Monday, March 8, 2010

Puddin' Head Wilson

I've always been a Twain fan since Highschool. I've been through Huck Finn a decent amount of times (even referencing certain chapters because he blatantly ignores a ton of grammar-rules) and I've even had a chance to glance at some of his shorter fiction. The satirical side of Twain is what he's most remembered for, but in Puddin' Head Wilson -- although very funnny at times -- I found it much-much harder to detect when Twain was intentionally trying to be satirical and when he wasn't. A lot of my confusion stemmed from the latter conversations in the book that had to do with Roxy and Tom because it was especially hard to get a hold of what Twain's personal intention was behind some dialogue: Roxy's claims about the single drop of blood actually read a bit harshly for me because I just wasn't used to reading Twain in that tone. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it also got me thinking seriously about the down-sides to being known, primarily, as a satirist and what kinds of implications that can place on a writer. I'm sure Twain highly-enjoyed engaging other writers in this fashion, but I got the feeling that he wanted to break this image sometimes.

--Michael Molder