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

1 comment:

  1. Twain's anger shows through in this book more than in some of the earlier ones, Michael, so that may be responsible for some of the shifts in tone that you mention. He wants to show how Roxy is brainwashed by the ridiculous notions of heredity that were held in the South, yet he leaves just enough doubt about that to be troubling.