Novel analysis : Read the novel Puddn Head Wilson by Mark Twain..
Description Possible topics for critical essay. As you read the novel, keep these questions in mind? They may be useful when considering themes, patterns, and issues in the novel. These questions may make it easier it to formulate a thesis, in fact your thesis may come from one of these questions or ideas. ESSAY QUESTIONS 1. What does Twain think of the people in Dawson’s Landing? How does he convey to his readers what he thinks of the townspeople? 2. Why do you think Twain has Puddn’head tell the joke about the “half a dog”? One critic has argued that the “dog” is essentially a metaphor for society itself. Why would he say this? 3. What position does Twain seem to take on the age-old “nature vs nurture” debate? How does Twain seem to explain the various characters’ behavior? Are they shaped more by their “blood” or their environment? 4. How does society and his mother view Tom? Are his character flaws a result of his upbringing, his “black blood,” his “First Family of Virginia white blood,” both, or neither? 5. Do you think Twain the author agrees with Roxy the character that Tom is a bad person because he has black blood in him (if only 1/32 part)? 6. Though the book is obviously challenging social attitudes regarding race, the author also mocks class pretensions and notions of “Southern honor.” In what specific episodes does Twain target “Southern honor” and those who adhere to its “code”? 7. As an author, Twain loved dualities and juxtaposing contradictory ideas. How does he do this in Pudd’nhead Wilson? What are some of these dualities? [Hint: “Pudd’nhead” is the smartest person in town; the Judge is shocked that Tom would do something so dishonorable as to avoid a duel and instead take his complaint against the Twins to a court of law.] 8. What does Twain seem to think of the law and the legal process? Are “justice” and “the law” one and the same? 9. The novel ends with Tom being sent down the river. Is this a “happy ending” in the sense that “order” has been restored – everything is put back in its proper place? What do you make of the ending? 10. What is the relationship between the law, honor, and race in Pudd’nhead Wilson? Do racial attitudes influence notions of honor and the reality of the law? 11. What, if any, lessons or messages do you believe Twain is trying to convey in this book? 12. How might an audience in 1894 respond differently to this book than a 2019 audience? 13. Finally, choose a specific passage in the novel that you believe best illustrates Twain’s abilities as a satirist. Critical Essay Submit Critical Essay here. Must be a Word doc., site 3 sources, and be in MLA format.