Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson: Literary Analysis

January 5, 2022 by Essay Writer

Pudd’nhead Wilson takes place on the banks of the Mississippi around the first half of the 1800s in a city called Dawson’s Landing. Dawson’s landing is a half days journey, per steamboat, below St. Louis. Dawson’s Landing is on the Missouri side of the Mississippi. Every house in this city contained boxes, which were filled with flowers. When there was room in the box a cat was always there.

The protagonist in this story would have to be Pudd’nhead Wilson himself. From the second he moved there he was looked at as a bad man because of his dumb remark about a dog. He made this remark in his early days in Dawson’s Landing. Pudd’nhead slowly gained his normal name back. It took a very long time. So long that he tried to become an attorney but no one would come to him. Pudd’nhead then started to get into fingerprints. He would take many peoples finger prints and examine them to its fullest. To Pudd’nhead’s luck all the fingerprint examining paid off. Pudd’nhead got a job as an attorney at law. He proved the man guilty by fingerprints. By the end of the book I would say Pudd’nhead would have to be the protagonist.

The antagonist in this book would have to be the people of Dawson’s Landing. They judged him for what he said before even knowing him for very long. You can’t judge a person for one wrong thing that they said. Pudd’nhead proves the rest of the town wrong when he solves a big murder case by using one of his best abilties. The town should have never judged him, yet instead listened to him and give him a chance. I would say the people of Dawson’s Landing would definitely qualify for the antagonist part.

Pudd’nhead Wilson comes to Dawson’s Landing around 1830. He is socializing with some people there when a stray dog starts snarling, howling, and barking. Pudd’nhead makes says he wishes he owned part of the dog so he could kill it. The people thought it was stupid because if you killed one half the other half would surely die. So from that day forth the people gave Dave Wilson a new name, Pudd’nhead Wilson. This did not help Wilson at all. In fact his law career was dead because of his new name.

The theme of this book would be; don’t judge a book by its cover. Pudd’nhead said one thing and was immediately judged. Instead of immediately thinking bad of Puddn’head they should of talked to him more and found out what he was really like. The remark made by Wilson was not even a very harsh comment.

Wilson had just made the acquaintance of a group of citizens when an invisible dog began to yelp and snarl and howl and make himself very comprehensively disagreeable, whereupon young Wilson said, much as one who is thinking aloud: I wish I owned half of that dog. Why? somebody asked. Because I would kill my half.

The group searched his face with curiosity and then one said: ‘Pears to be a fool. ‘Pears? said another. Is, I reckon you better say. This had to be the most crucial quote in the book. The reason the quote above was so important was because it changed Pudd’nhead’s life for a long time. That particular event was told all over the town, and gravely discussed by everybody. Within a week he had lost his first name; Puddn’head took its place. That first day’s verdict made him a fool, and he was not able to get it set aside or even modified. Though the best mart of the book had to be the trial, the trial was not the most important part in Wilson’s life. Yet the trial did help Pudd’nhead gain back his real name. I think Mark Twain was trying to show that people can be a lot better then they first sound. I think he is saying to look deeper then what first comes out.

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