Puddnhead Wilson and That Extraordinary Guy Who Wrote About Him:

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Whenever the phrase “greatest writer of all time” is uttered, Mark Twain is always in the discussion. Perhaps for his ability to allude to issues that are still relevant today; or maybe it’s because he’s so very controversial. Though his work has called for censorship, it can’t be denied that Twain has made an impact on the world, and it’s because of his radically advanced thinking and racially derogatory pieces. Nevertheless, Twain is one of the greatest writers of all time, and a lot can be learned from the tension he creates. If the reader takes Twains’ writings too literally, then clearly he would come off as somewhat offensive. I believe that Twain’s writings reflect how he feels about humanity as a whole, but in order to figure out just what Twain believes, the fact that Twain appears to be a racist must be overlooked so that they big picture can be seen. In order to better try to understand just how Twain felt about humanity, I will break down, to the best of my ability, some of Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar entries to see if they give any indication of how Twain felt about humanity. Chapter 1: Tell the truth or trump-but get the trick (Twain). Basically, Twain is saying that you can either tell the truth or lie, but as long as you know the trick, you’re in control. In this chapter, Mr. Wilson is given the nickname ‘Pudd’nhead’ because of what he said about the dog: “’I wish I owned half of that dog.’ ‘Why?’ somebody asked. ‘Because I would kill my half’” (Twain). He wasn’t telling the truth, but he wasn’t lying either; he was merely being sarcastic. However, the townspeople didn’t understand it, so they labeled Mr. Wilson with the nickname ‘Pudd’nhead.’ However, Mr. Wilson understood the trick, so in reality, he’s the only intelligent person present. I believe that Twain includes this passage and occurrence to illustrate one of his points:

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