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Lecture 4

Lecture 4- Twain Continued.docx

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Department
English (Arts)
Course
ENGL 226
Professor
Kait Pinder
Semester
Summer

Description
Lecture 4: Twain Continued Pudd'nhead Wilson • melodrama ◦ mistaken identity ◦ murder greed ◦ haunted house ◦ foreign twins ◦ doubles ◦ family lines disrupted ◦ cross-dressing (Shakespearean method of disguise) • detective story ◦ ends with the restoration of order ◦ gives motive for the crime ◦ psychological insight ◦ closure ◦ trying to capitalize on a current, popular interest ▪ think Sherlock Holmes (est. 1887) ▪ Twain decided to write one of his own mysteries ▪ Twain read "Finger Prints" (1892) by Francis Galton ◦ not figuring out who did it, but if he will be caught, how the case will be solved ◦ finger-printing • overarching realism ◦ speak in the vernacular • marked at birth with fingerprints, just as Black blood marks Tom and Roxy • fingerprints as a means of revealing certain truths ◦ define the person, and the endpoint (definitive in both senses) ◦ totally original, no duplicates • want to see a murderer punished at the end of a story, but Tom isn't ◦ he's not "responsible" for the crime because he is property • Wilson proves the individual problem, not the cultural problem • being property means you are not a man ◦ so only a white man can commit a crime in this book • is this a book of justice or a book of fate? • clothing marks us in a different way ◦ denotes culture, race, class, gender ◦ when the kids are born, can only tell them apart by their clothing ◦ changes Roxy's son's clothes to Tom's before she plans on killing him ▪ strips real Tom of his whitenes
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