Stereotypes In Mark Twain's Novel 'Pudd' Nhead Wilson

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In Mark Twain’s novel “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, people may argue that the books racial content might be sensitive to readers since race was still a compressing topic when Twain published the book. In the novel, Twains portrays arbitrariness of racial classification based on the many characters personas. The way Twain features characters like “Roxana” and “Chambers” confuses the issue of race further. Both characters are considered to be racially intermediate, or in between races because they are mainly white or not immediately recognized as black. During the period of the 1890s, the concept of classifying someones racial profile was set into concrete. If you had any amount of black dissent you could be owned as a slave, like Chambers who was one-thirdysecondth black. But if you had zero relations or descendants to black then you could not be owned. Because slavery ended after the Civil War in 1850, one would think all the problems were solved with racial conflict, but in reality, there was continued undercover dispute essentially between whites and blacks. This brought a more confusing and broader problem when Twains book came out almost 40 years after the Civil War.…show more content…
Roxana, a one-sixteenth “black” slave switches the slave owners child who is white. Like Roxy, her baby is doomed to a harsh life of enslavement due to the fraction of his blood that is black. One the other side, her master's son, Tom, is confirmed to have a life of luxury and riches by fortune of his birth. These very different destinies seem arbitrary and unfair, given that the children look identical, and not even Percy Driscoll, father of one of the babies, can tell them apart but for their attire. The fact that Roxy is able to swap the babies with ease, and how no one is able to notice demonstrates just how artificially constructed these distinctions

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