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Lecture 3

Lecture 3- Mark Twain.docx

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English (Arts)
ENGL 226
Kait Pinder

Lecture 3: Mark Twain "Dazzling" Impressions • both use it the word to suggest light or illumination ◦ Whitman in Song of Myself 46 ◦ Dickinson in Tell All the Truth • Whitman advocates direct participation in life • Dickinson calls for shying from anything too bright or exciting • Whitman's speaker takes an instructive stance to advise us how to see ourselves as an individual who contains multitudes • Dickinson's speaker takes an instructive role in how to tell the truth, to tell it all, but through a gradual reveal ◦ direct confrontation with the dazzle will leave us blind, and we will not be able to perceive the truth • Reading Dickinson: the first time, you get a question; the second, you find some answers (full of ambiguities and riddles to be solved) ◦ Tell All the Truth can be understood as a comment on all her poems, and how to read them ◦ writes conflict into her poems through the multiple ambiguities that contradict each other and offer several interpretations Pudd'nhead Wilson • racial politics and cold indifference • historical displacement (takes place pre-Civil War) • Pres. Clinton displays all the tropes of being black; "First Black President" • Mississippi river crucial to the slave trade ◦ delivers them to suffering and duress ◦ fear of being sold down the river is what pushes Roxy to switch the babies ◦ part of Tom's worst betrayal towards Roxy, because he tricks her to sell her down the river ◦ when first granted freedom, Roxy makes her living by working on the river boats ◦ the river is tied up with the success of her own freedom • Twain ◦ 1835-1910 ◦ AKA Samuel Langhorn Clemens ◦ apprentice to a printer and worked in brother's print shop ◦ travels to St.Louis, NY, Cincinnati, etc ◦ slavery was legal in Missouri, but the state was not part of the Confederacy while Twain lived there ◦ 1860s started writing ◦ worked as journalist and humourist ◦ humour often condemning of ignorance ◦ works often banned ▪ encourages bad bhv. ▪ uses the N-word ◦ is Huck Finn a racist or anti-racist book? What is he saying about race? Is it a social construct? • History ◦ Emancipation Proc. 1863 ▪ army and navy can free slaves as they take terr. in civil war ▪ did not apply to states that were not rebelling ◦ 13th Amendment 1865 ▪ abolished slavery, except as punishment for a crime ◦ then Reconstruction Era ▪ transformation of S. states
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