Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PW Live Fishbowl: Chapters 11-13


Use this blog to participate both thoughtfully and frequently as you listen to the inner circle's discussion of chapters 11-13 (though feel free to discuss earlier chapters as well) in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson.


As always, remember to use proper spelling and capitalization, to refer to the name of the person to whom you are responding, and to hit the F5 key to refresh. While not all blogs are graded, this one will be because I want to give you credit for your thoughtfulness and willingness to discuss while I'm not there.


By the way, I really enjoyed your discussion Tuesday on Ethnic Notions. Keep up your high standard of intellectualism while I'm anesthetized!

219 comments:

1 – 200 of 219   Newer›   Newest»
MattN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KiraW said...

Can any of your clarrify exactly what happened in last nights reading? Did the judge dis-own Tom again?

jordans said...

What do you guys think the importance of twins and dichotomy is in this book?

alexf said...

What do you think about Pudd’nhead Wilson becoming mayor? Do you think that the town will approve, or is he too much of a “Pudd’nhead”? Why the sudden change of heart? How will PnH help the town…if he does?

lizc said...

Kira- yes he dis-owned Tom again. However, I'm confused about how he got the will back because he's been disowned once before.

alexf said...

*Sorry, I mean running for mayor.

ParkerH said...

I thought this section went rather slowly. I mean, there was only the section of the fire and Tom getting sent flying, but not much happened otherwise. I am completely forgetting something important?

lizc said...

Alexf- Did I miss something really big? I don't remember them speaking of anyone becoming mayor, but then again I was reading this last night when I was exhausted.

ParkerH said...

Dang I must've missed something. Where did this whole "Wilson becoming mayor" thing happen? What page?

lizc said...

JordanS- I think that Twain is using twins as a parallel to the sides of slavery and the abolitionists. He uses Chambers and Tom for that purpose and I think that something will eventually show up with Luigi and his brother.

KiraW said...

Alex~ I think that PW would make a really good mayor. In my opinion, he seems like he is really intelligent and he might bring the town into some order. Tom is kinda making it crazy right now.

lizc said...

Where exactly was Chambers in these past chapters? He was hardly spoken of.

hannahl said...

jordans- I was thinking about what twins represent. Maybe it is supposed to be a metaphor for how blacks and whites were both from the same 'egg', so to speak, because they are all children of God. Maybe Twain wants to show how we are the same, with different skin, that we are 'brothers'.

catem said...

Jordan~I think that Twain uses the motifs of twins and dicotomies to further show how Tom and Chambers could be exactly the same, but they were just raised differently.

AustinD said...

@Liz: If I remember correctly, Chambers passed away, but I'm not sure.

KiraW said...

Liz~ I was wondering the same thing. Do you think that Chambers will ever find out that he is the rightful heir?

hannahl said...

lizc - I think that Chambers was very important at the beginning to show the difference in character between the him and Tom. I am not sure why he is invisible in these chapters. Maybe he is just supposed to be a specter in the back of 'Tom's' mind, so that the reader always knows he is there, but he is as unseen to the reader as he is to 'Tom'.

Laurenc said...

So what do you all think about the theif? Who is stealing from everyone and do you think Luigi and Angelo's knife is important?

KateP said...

I agree with hannahl. I think that Twain was trying to show different sides through the twins. White people and slaves were the same, except for the color of their skin.

jordans said...

In regards to the inner circle I do think intentions play a role in how we view actions. I am a firm believer in “it’s not what you do; it’s how you do it”.

ParkerH said...

Austin-
Whoa whoa what??? Where did Chambers die? Do you have a page number for that?

KiraW said...

Austin~ Did Chambers die? I don't remember that? Where was that?

morganw said...

Alexf- I think it's awesome that Wilson might become mayor. He'd be a better mayor than anyone else in that town. Not to mention the irony of a "pudd'n head" gaining political office.

roser said...

Ok so question...Did anyone think it was weird that "Tom" was changing his demeanor, personality, etc. after he found out he was part Black? Why should you have to change yourself due to color?

meganu said...

JordanS - I think that the whole motif of twins and dicotomy symbolizes two different sides of the same whole, two different perspectives. Chambers and Tom are the same physically, they look almost exactly the same. However, they each have different roles in this society. Maybe Twain's also trying to prove a point about how people are being controlled by society?

ParkerH said...

Lauren-
I think it was Tom that was stealing all the stuff to make up his debts. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about that.

hannahl said...

austind- woah, Chambers died? Which page, because I missed it if that happened. Percy Driscoll died, is that what you are thinking of?

alexf said...

To everyone~
Ok, on the very last page, last paragraph of chapter 13, it says that Buckstone had asked Wilson, “on the part of the Democratic party, to ask him to run for mayor…” (Twain p79).

morganw said...

Austin - Chamber's didn't die, his dad did.

Laurenc said...

roser - I believe Tom changed because of the guilt he felt. He realized that he was way out of line in the way he treated everyone and he might have been able to get away with it as the master but he could never get away with it being a negro. I think he also realizes how much he messed up Chamber's life when really he was the true heir.

catem said...

Lauren~I think that Tom or Roxy is stealing the everything. However, I am not quite sure of the importance of the twin's knife. Maybe later on in the book the significance will be revealed.

hannahl said...

laurenc- Isn't it Tom who was stealing from everyone? He dressed up in Roxy's clothes to steal the knife. I personally think that they are going to see Roxy in these clothes someday and blame her. Am I right, or did I miss something?

lizc said...

AlexF- Okay, thank you so much for clearing that up.

Austin- I'm pretty sure that he did not die.

LaurenC- I am almost positive that Tom stole the knife because he has stolen the small things from everyone else with the help of Roxy.

ParkerH said...

Rose-
You shouldn't have to change yourself due to a little bit of skin color or race or whatever. The culture of the time didn't believe that though, and since whites and blacks were treated so differently you kind of had to mold yourself to fit within the guidelines of the time. I would hope that now you wouldn't have to change who you were based on what race you were or found out you were.

AustinD said...

@Hannah: Yeah, I think that's right. I read a bit ahead and I think that's what it said, but I'm not sure. I think he really wasn't that important. These chapters was for the most part about Tom and the twins, so honestly not puting him in these chapters could mean whatever. Last we saw chambers was when Roxy was freed, so I can't be sure to be honest. He could be in another town, dead, or appear next chapter.

KiraW said...

Rose~ Yes I think it was really really wierd that he changes so drastically once he found out that he was 1/32 black. What if you were told that you were 1/32 of something that you had previously found discusting . . . what would you do?

ParkerH said...

Alexf-
Hey thanks. I completely missed that.

sabrinad said...

Maddie just brought up an interesting point of twins representing good vs. evil. I agree that in this book the "idea of twins" could represent the battle of good vs. evil. I also wonder if a satirical target could be the way people are raised- “tom” being evil because of the way he was raise and “chambers” being good because of the way he was raised. This brings up another satirical target of whether you are black or white being brought up as a slave breaks the human spirit. But back to Maddie's question, "which of the twins, Luigi and Angelo, represents evil? I believe Luigi could be interpreted as the evil twin because he drinks and (even though it was in self defense) killed a man.

alexf said...

RoseR~
I think that it was very ironic and made satirical that immediately after Tom found out that he was partially black, he started acting differently. I thought that he seemed awfully paranoid that someone would discover the truth. Also, I thought that he reaction was completely based on the society in which he lived. He began acting differently because society told him that he should be acting differently! (Don’t get me wrong, I think that he totally needs to change his personality because he is very greedy). I wonder, however, if this change will last or if he will, eventually in the end, find a place between acting “black” and “white”. What do you think? Do you think that this stereotype can still be seen today?

jordans said...

A lot of the satirical material in this book I feel is a reflection of where Twain grew up. I think sometimes it is his way of revealing certain aspects of his life. For example he grew up in a small town and in the book he shows small town jokes.

catem said...

Roser~I think that Twain just uses Tom's change of personality to further prove how easily people can be molded.

shannanp said...

RoseR-
I think the reason that "Tom" changed the way that he acted because he wanted to be acceptable to the society as a black person. I believe that he felt that he had to make up for thinking he was the master to no knowing that he really is the slave.

delaney n said...

roser- I think that, due to the time period, "Tom" had to change his demeanor when he discovered he was black. His society basically damned him to a different lifestyle if he was at all black, therefore I'm sure he felt obliged to behave differently.

roser said...

laurenc- I agree. Do you think the guilt of the truth will make him reveal it, like to Chambers? Because if he is so weighed down with the truth, eventually he will break down and give chambers his rightful spot.

Laurenc said...

hannahl - I'm pretty sure you're right about Tom stealing the stuff. It was a confusing part of the book though as I think we can all agree and I was just having trouble figuring out what was going on.

kennaw said...

Megan U~ I definitely agree with you in saying that his motifs of twins and halfs are him inferring the different views of how races were seen two different individuals. I think that he is also showing how every person is unique and neither half is the same. That two of the same looking people can lead two completely separate lives which is where he uses satire. Tom and Chambers look identical, but they live opposite lives.

ParkerH said...

I skimmed ahead for a minute just to make sure Chambers didn't die, and he didn't. I saw his name, and he has a short section of dialogue in the next chapter.

lizc said...

Kira- That's an interesting point and I can't even think of what it would be like to find out that I was someone completely different than I ever expected. It would be like finding out that my father is a horrible criminal or something like that.

roser said...

alexf-I think that his small small part Black will overwhelm his society set conscience. Being Black obviously was not something to be proud of back then to the Black slave population, so it is ironic that he would become the smallest part of him.

delaney n said...

ParkerH- Thank you :)

lizc said...

What do you all think of Tom's reaction when Wilson offered to read his hand after he had read the hands of the twins?

KateP said...

Kiraw- That is a really good point!

I think that just because of black people being slaves back then, it was such a big deal for "Tom" and he felt like he needed to change his personality. It made him feel like he was a completely different person. He has to accept it though because that's who he is.

meganu said...

KennaW - Exactly! I really think Twain's trying to show how different a person's life can be just because of the way they are raised. Sort of like nature vs. nurture, with nurture prevailing.

Laurenc said...

roser - I think Tom will try and hide it as long as he can but I have a feeling Chambers will know sooner or later. Tom just isn't the kind of person to admit he is wrong though so I don't think he'll be quick to show his weakness and confess to someone he's known as a slave his entire life that they were switched.

KiraW said...

Do twins have the same finger prints?

alexf said...

MeganU~
I totally agree! I think, and I said this to RoseR too, that he’s totally trying to show how society controls us. For example, once “Tom” found out that he was black, he immediately became more paranoid, quieter, and less ostentatious. This discovery shouldn’t have changed his personality at all, but because the society said that black people are slaves and white people are masters, and since he is partially black, he began acting like a slave. In any other society, this doesn’t happen (or at least shouldn’t). Society totally controls people and their perspectives.

roser said...

Kira-I think I would act just like Tom did...With the whole of society in my ear telling Blacks they were inferior, I would have had to succumb to that idea

meganu said...

KiraW - No, twins don't have the same fingerprints.

catem said...

Everyone~Earlier they were talking about whether Twain is saying how the difference between Tom and Chambers is race or nurture, and I found a quote to support that is was nature. "'Tom' was a bad baby, from the very beginning of his usurpation." This is at the beginning of Chapter four.

kennaw said...

Roser~ I feel that if anyone found out who they reuly were than they would start to feel differently about their actions. I think anyone would rethink how they were treating people. Maybe Tom realized how fortunate he was to have lived the way he was living and understood what he could have been living like and had been treated like. He probably went into thought about what his life could have been and become grateful for what he was given.

KateP said...

kiraw- I think only if they are identical.

shannanp said...

JordanS-
I totally agree and I also think that for Twain this wasn't just a story it's a way for him to get his true thoughts out into the open in a way that is a little sugar coated as not to be so frank. I also think that in "Puddn'head Wilson," Twain, through situations in the story, is mocking human intellect and the fact that the human race diminishes the importance of certain things to the point that they have nothing that is special to them.

delaney n said...

KiraW- Have you seen that commercial where it's the twins and they are like... "Do we have the same fingerprints?" It's like that! Connection!

ParkerH said...

Does anyone else dislike Tom a bit, but like Wilson, Chambers, and Roxy? (The twins too, I guess)

hannahl said...

alexf- So is Twain trying to show that the only reason why slaves are seem subservient and ignorant (in the POV of a master) is because they know they are slaves? Is he satirizing people who think that it all depends on nature, and arguing that it is actually society's opinions and stereotypes that make someone who they are?

roser said...

Kenna-Definitely! When people realize their wrongs, the truth of their behavior weighs them down.

ParkerH said...

Kira-
Also, fingerprints can change. If you get a scar, or a wart or whatever, that'll show up for sure. So even IF they start the same, they likely aren't exactly the same by now.

meganu said...

ParkerH - I have the same feelings towards the characters as you do. I dislike Tom but have a strange liking for Roxy, Chambers and Wilson. I'm kind of unsure about the twins.

KiraW said...

Liz~ I think that it just makes him look guilty. Do you think that if Wilson had really read his palms, do you think that he would have found Tom's secret?

sabrinad said...

Liz- I think that his reaction was completely that of a coward. He was worried that Wilson would see numerous things that would jeopardize his place in society. I also think that it all stems back to jealousy. I believe that most "mean and evil" things people do stems back to being jealous of someone.

roser said...

Do you think if Chambers found out he was Toms rightful nature, he would take revenge on Tom?

roser said...

*rightful master

KarlyH said...

What do you think the knife represents? I was thinking about this and something that really stood out to me was the part where they say the outside is always more beautiful and better to look at then the knife itself.

kennaw said...

CateM~ I think the difference between Tom and Chambers isn't theur nature or race, I think it's how they are raised. Toms was raised in a spoiled, powerful environment and treated no one with respect. Chambers was born into a unfortunate lifestyle and tried to make the best of it, probably keeping a positive attitude cause that's all he could do.

catem said...

This is kind of off topic, but what do you think the purpose of Wilson's Calender notes at the begginning of each chapter?

lizc said...

Hey Guys, Check this out...

"No two fingerprints have ever been found identical in many billions of human and automated computer comparisons. Fingerprints are the very basis for criminal history foundation at every police agency."

-Wikipedia article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_prints

alexf said...

KiraW~
No, I don’t think that twins have the same fingerprints, but I’m not too sure. If, and I may be wrong, but if you are talking about Chambers and Tom being discovered, well first off, they aren’t twins. Secondly, did anyone get the feeling that Wilson taking fingerprints, at the beginning of the story before the boys were switched, was foreshadowing their secret being unveiled? I got the feeling that one day someone is going to “spill the beans” and the fingerprints will come in handy to reveal the truth about Chambers and Tom. How will this affect Chambers though? What will happen to Roxy/Tom? Will Chambers be upset or will he become sympathetic about slavery?

catem said...

Sorry Kenna, I ment nurture, not nature. I apologize for the typo, I agree with you.

roser said...

catem- I think the little quotes foreshadow that chapter, and the characters

ParkerH said...

Liz-
Nice going. I'm glad you thought of that ;) Good ol' technology.

lizc said...

CateM- I love Wilson's calendar notes! They are extremely significant to the rest of the story and they reveal something every single time. Personally, I like themand I have think they are crucial in Mark Twain's plot for this book.

AustinD said...

@Parker: I'm really partial to Tom. During chapter 4 I thought he was a bad child, but the further I get in the book I'm begining to realize the means of which he will go to in order to undo what's he's done. I like him, but his childhood and some of his shaddy actions seem to negate that quite a bit. Likely I missed some key portion though, since I hardly get this book at all.

hannahl said...

catem- The quote about 'Tom' being bad since the beginning of his usurpation is actually not supporting nature or nurture, because he means that he has been bad since the switch. Usurpation means 'A wrongful seizure or exercise of authority or privilege belonging to another'.

KiraW said...

Cate~ I was thinking the same thing? Possibly but I think that he would have learned to be a good child sooner when he was repremanded soon.

hannahl said...

catem- the calender notes are usually about Adam and Eve. These were the beginning of civilization. Do any characters represent either Adam or Eve?

ParkerH said...

Austin- Fair enough. I can see why you might think that, but I do have to disagree =)

catem said...

Is "going down the river" just being sold to harsher slaveowners in the deep south, or is it an even more extreme conscequence? I kind of think that it might be death.

shannanp said...

Catem-
I think that the snipets from Wilson's calendar are meant to put a new perspective on the chapter and these snipets also gave us more information about Wilson's character and thought process.

alexf said...

HannahL~
Yes, I think that he is satirizing people who think that it depends on nature rather than society’s opinions/stereotypes. For example, today, society stereotypes African Americans as gangsters/rappers. (This isn’t meant to sound rude or offensive and I disagree with the stereotype). We still have stereotypes today and people conform to their stereotypes because that’s what society makes of them. (Now true, some may be personal decisions, but that is besides the point).

ParkerH said...

Austin-
That is if you're saying you like him. That's what I got the first time I read your comment, but I'm not sure. Correct me if I'm wrong there.

catem said...

hannah~I think that the quote supports nurture because he became a bad baby once he was switched not before.

KateP said...

catem- I thought it meant that you would be sold to harsher slave owners in the south, which in the end would probably mean death.

alexf said...

ShannanP~
I agree that it helps us learn more about Wilson’s character. I don’t think it foreshadows, but I’ll have to look for a new perspective!

rachels said...

I think Tom was secretly Jealous of Chambers and wants to be like him. I think that deep down he wishes that he could be a better person. It shows how society can drag people down.

alexf said...

ShannanP~
I agree that it helps us learn more about Wilson’s character. I don’t think it foreshadows, but I’ll have to look for a new perspective!

KarlyH said...

About what the inner circle thinks the "Chamber's" reaction will be. I think that at first, like Tom, Chambers will take on the role of the white man and want revenge for the wrongs done to him but change later on. If Twain's point is that the drop of black blood in "Tom's" blood is what makes him an iracible person, I think that because of Chamber's "pure blood" he will have a better reaction.

hannahl said...

Ms. Leclaire - This is where we are going to do our 14-16 blog as well!

AustinD said...

At this point the discusion will be of Chapters 14-16.

alexf said...

Is the dilemma with Roxy being sold down the river that Tom will never be able to find Roxy again or that the masters are just meaner?

melissaz said...

I really liked Rachel Sabey's point she made in the inner circle, does anyone have any thoughts?

(What is Twain trying to say about human nature?)

catem said...

Do you think that identity is a main theme that is emerging? Do you think that this will play a role in the end of the book?

Oliviak said...

what do you think of the whole thing where tom is let back into the will? Do you think this makes Tom want to make things right?

KiraW said...

Melissa~ I think that Twain is trying to get the point across that human nature is evil and revengeful at the core. No matter what the race.

lauren said...

alex - I think the dilemma with being sold down the river is that the master's are much more cruel. It seems to me like every slave's greatest fear in this novel is to be sold down the river and later in the book you get to see more about why that is. Even before I read on though, I had a feeling it was due to the horrible treatment that the slaves feared it.

rachels said...

alexf - I think they fear being 'sold down the river' so much because the plantation owners in the south treated their slaves horribly.

melissaz said...

Alex- I think the reason it bothered Roxy was because she never wanted to be sold down the river, no matter what. Just the idea of it, just as any slave would hate to be sold down the river. Also, when Tom told Roxy he was selling her, he did not include the fact that it would be down the river and it crushed her.

hannahl said...

alexf- I think that slaves sold 'down the river' have to deal with the harsh slave masters of that part of the country.

lizc said...

MelissaZ- I think that Twain was not making an emphasis on the fact that she was sold down the river as much as he is making a point about her sacrifice. Roxy was willing to do anything for Tom even if it meant she was going to be the one to suffer.

amyw said...

I think Twain is saying that humans are inherently evil through Tom. Tom succumbs to his many temptations and ruins himself. Luigi kills a man.

maddief said...

At the end of last night's reading, does Tom feel guilty for what he did to his mother? And I'm a little lost, did he tell Roxy that she was being sold somewhere else? Also, does he intend to free her once his debts have been repaid?

jordans said...

Do you guys think there is any importance with hands and fingers? The fingerprinting seems to be significant and then they had palm reading later on in the book. I think it has something to do with identity and judgement but what do you guys think?

KiraW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hannahl said...

I don't think that Twain is showing human nature as vengeful and cruel, I think he is trying to show that what you think you are is what you become. If you are raised as a master, you will act as a master. Here is a shout out to the cast of FOOLS, which I saw last night. The teacher said that the town was only ignorant because they were raised believing that they were ignorant. Wooh hoo, what a connection!

alexf said...

MelissaZ~
I think that Twain is trying to show that humans are willing to go to great lengths in order to feel loved or noticed. I can see this theme because every character (except maybe PnH) is trying to get noticed…Tom is very ostentatious and is constantly trying to make money; Roxy just wants to be loved by Tom; Judge Hawthorne just wants his family to have a good name; the twins want to flaunt their nobility… They’re all trying to get noticed!

catem said...

Mellissaz~I think that mainly (with lots of other side points) Twain is trying to say that human nature can be easily changed, depending on time it is, people they are around, and the self knowledge they knew of themselves. (Sorry if that's a little unclear.)

Oliviak said...

Melissa Z I think that twain is saying that it is human nature to grow up according to society and the environment then your DNA.

Laurenc said...

olivia - I think Tom has reformed because he is worried about being found out as Roxy's son. He's probably realized that his chances are slim and he needs to be careful so that he can secure his future.

EmilyJ said...

I liked what Rachel said in the inner circle about human nature. Tom is trying to gain aboslute power by using manipulation. Do you guys think this is a good way to do this, or are there more effective alternative ways to gain power?

melissaz said...

Olivia- I in no way think Tom wants to make things right after being in the will. He seems to be interested in having his uncle killed to get the money he was left. Tom does not change at all. When he tells Roxy all about it, he says it is too bad that the bullet just skimed his uncle and didn't actually kill him.

rachels said...

catem - I do think identity is a big theme. It comes up obviously with Tom and Chambers because they kind of took on each other's roles and identities in life, and it also comes up with the twins. People tend to think of them as 'the twins' but they are shown to have seperate opinions and personalities. How do you think it might play a role later in the book?

lizc said...

KiraW- During this time, even if you were a free slave, you could be picked up by someone and sold once again. Sadly, that is how it worked and just because you were "set free" does not mean you could completely avoid slavery again.

meganu said...

JordanS - I think fingers and hands have great symbolism in this book. Every person in the world has a different set of fingerprints. Identity, especially between twins(showing two halves of the same person)seems to be becoming a very big theme.

maddief said...

Catem, I like your idea about identity being an emphasis in Twain's writing. I'm especially curious as to the true identity of Tom, who portrays the vicious character of a white slave master, but is actually part African American.

Ryad said...

Cate- I never thought of identity being a main point because we had gotten so caught up in race and human nature but now that I think about it, it is definatly a theme. When tome first learned he should have been a slave he was totally lost. When Twain switched the boys it made everything so uncertain. It unlocked all the questions we've been wondering.

rachels said...

KiraW - she was free, but she decided to sacrifice her freedom and allows Tom to sell her as a slave.

ParkerH said...

Kira-
No one knew she wasn't a slave, and if the "master" (Tom) says that she was a slave and that was a slave, there isn't really anyone to argue against it... Does that make sense?

jordans said...

I know we’ve touched on dichotomy but I think another motif that could be satirical is gender. Tom and chambers are both male and so are the twins. Do you think Twain is expressing something through gender?

amyw said...

hannahl---That is a good point. Tom is spoiled and given everything "on a silver platter," so he does anything he wants and ruins his life. I didn't think of it that way before!

alexf said...

I think that Twain is trying to show that humans are willing to go to great lengths in order to feel loved or noticed. I can see this theme because every character (except maybe PnH) is trying to get noticed…Tom is very ostentatious and is constantly trying to make money; Roxy just wants to be loved by Tom; Judge Hawthorne just wants his family to have a good name; the twins want to flaunt their nobility… They’re all trying to get noticed!
Does anyone disagree or have other ideas?

lizc said...

MelissaZ- I agree, and I think that Tom is more interested in the money more than anything. Remember how he was treating his Uncle and Aunt to secure his name in the will? He definately has dirty motives and I think he will be the one who commits the murder if the Judge gets killed.

catem said...

Maddief~I actually think that Tom feels regret for selling her down the river, and cares for her in a small way. He did tell her that she would be sold up north.

maddief said...

Kiraw, I personally think that mankind is evil at the core, but I agree with Hannahl, I think that Twain's point in this is that nurture influences your character, not nature.

mollyd said...

At the beginning of this book I was told this book is a murder mystery. That obviously hasn't happened yet and we only have 4 chapters left to go. So does anyone have any predictions of who is going to be murdered and why?

amyw said...

jordans---I had thought of this before. The women aren't really satirized while the men are. What could he be saying though?

hannahl said...

How does the separation of families in the slave trade connect to Tom selling Roxy down the river? I think it is interesting how Twain put that going into slavery of any kind was a bigger sacrifice than death. What does this reflect about Twain's opinions of mothers?

KiraW said...

Olivia~ I totally agree. I think that this book really shows how easily society shapes the way a person is not just the way we want to be.

melissaz said...

Jordan- That is a great idea I had never thought of. Not to dumb down your idea at all, but I think that during this time period, women were not of much importance at all. Although he writes about race, I don't know if he has a purpose with gender, just going along with the ideas of the time. But he may be portraying a larger point, great observation.

Oliviak said...

Jordan I never thought about gender.But it could be because of the times none of the women during this time were really big influence in society they wer just kind of there, if they weren't a mammy.

amyw said...

Does anyone think Roxy is sort of a Mammy stereotype?

ParkerH said...

maddief-
I have to respectfully disagree with mankind being evil at the core. I don't want to go into a whole religious debate here, and I can TOTALLY see why you might think that, but I do have to disagree.

Laurenc said...

Jordans - I can see why you think there is something regarding gender but it seems to me like this novel is mocking both genders. Roxy may seem innocent but she switched two children in a selfish pursuit and now she is scheming with Tom. On the other hand we have men that are also scheming and abusing slaves and other such things so who's really being made fun of?

meganu said...

MollyD - I have a very strong feeling that either Roxy, Tom or Chambers will be murdered. What do you think.

hannahl said...

alexf- I do think that Pudd'nhead Wilson wants attention/admiration as well, because he is trying to be an outstanding lawyer, which would make him admired by the town.

catem said...

Rya~I think that the theme of the identity is used to prove how easily someone's personality can be changed. Do you agree? I feel like this is a large topic that we haven't addressed as a class.

jordans said...

I disagree with what Rachel is saying in the inner circle. I don’t think blood is enough to bond people together. I have a twin and I’m not close to her at all and biologically we’re the closest in my family. I’m closer with my friends who build relationships by choice and I don’t find family is like that.

sabrinad said...

From the inner circle. I think that Roxy had changed from a strong character with good morals to a weak character who continues to allow Tom to control her even after he learned his past and place.

Ryad said...

Amy- I disagree, I think the women are definatly being saterized. Roxy's motherly instincts and strong connecction with her son even if he's a total jerk to her.

roser said...

Amyw-I think Roxy is like the ultimate "Mammy" stereotype because of her stern and don't-mess-with-me attitude.

EmilyJ said...

catem-
I definitely agree with you. Like they are talking about in the inner circle, it can't be that easy for Tom to detach himself from Roxy. He will always feel somewhat connected to her and a part of her. Maybe selling her down the river was his way of getting "revenge" on her for not telling him he was her son earlier on. But despite this, he still loves her and it is hard for him to let go, he just has some anger toward her.

alexf said...

I agree with what Sabrina just said in the inner circle. (Roxy keeps becoming weaker and weaker). I think that Roxy was a very strong and courageous character at the beginning, but once she began “begging” for Tom’s love, she just keeps going downhill. She’s willing to do anything to get him to love her, but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s like she’s spoiling him (as if he wasn’t getting spoiled enough being a master). Do you think that she will ever realize that she is better off without Tom or will she continuously submit to his will for the rest of her life?

ParkerH said...

Amyw-
I don't think she is. She is free, she had some control, she became a chambermaid, and so on. Maybe in the very beginning she was kind of a "mammy", but I wouldn't say that she is any more... I could be wrong though.

delaney n said...

Does anyone else get the feeling that Roxy needs Tom?

melissaz said...

Molly- I think that Tom is going to be behind the murder, and he may possibly murder one of the twins. I just think that Tom has become so consumed with wealth and greed, he will use the twins' knife to kill them. He has had some sort of negative feelings towards the twins the whole time.

Oliviak said...

Amy yes I think that Roxy is the mammy stereotype, because she is strong and I think of her as a very strong person.

lizc said...

Personally, I dislike Roxy a lot. She started out as wanting the best for her son and then let her control him and had no feeling towards Chambers at all. I can see where she is coming from but from my point of view I don't think what she did was worth it.

Laurenc said...

Personally I admire Roxy's love for Tom (the real chambers) because it seems to me that she is willing to do everything for him but still being the mother and setting down the rules. She is tough but she truly and deeply loves her son. It's the picture of the perfect mother, only painted in a twisted way.

KiraW said...

Amy~ I think that Roxy deffinatley seems like the mammy type. She was always content and almost happy to do whatever her Master/son says

maddief said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me Catem! ^_^ Yeah, I think Tom did feel a little guilty, but he quickly got over it. Meganu, that was a really good point about identity, with the twins and fingerprints; I never thought of it that way.

alexf said...

HannahL~
Yes, he’s trying to be a good lawyer, but doesn’t everyone want to do the best that they can? I don’t think that this really says that he is willing to go to great lengths to get noticed because he’s just trying for personal success. Also, he very much keeps his opinion to himself as to not bring attention to him or rumors.

meganu said...

I'm with Jordan on this one, I think that bonds between people that happen because we want them to happen are stronger than bonds between family members which are just there because you share the same blood. At the same time, however, unless you completely hater one of your family members, I think every single one of us would be devistated if one of our relatives died, even if we weren't close to them.

mollyd said...

Megan- I think that either Tom or one of the twins will be murdered because these characters seem to have the hardest feeling felt towards them by others.

maddief said...

Using the fingerprints and theme of identity, I think that Twain is trying to prove that you should judge individuals and not groups of people; don't be prejudice because of someone's race, because they might not fit that stereotype.

catem said...

Jordans~ Do you think that the blood relationship between sisters and the relationship between parents and children is different? Or do you still think that chosen relationships are more valuable?

hannahl said...

jordans- I do think that blood can bond people OR tear them apart. I think it is a polar relationship, it is extremely one way or the other in most instances. This will show up later in the book...

lizc said...

I'm a little confused why Roxy switched Tom and Chambers when neither of them ended up being sold down river. How did neither of them being sold happen?

amyw said...

parkerh---That's what I was thinking. I thought she started out like a "mammy" but she digressed from that as the book goes on. She lets him control her when she used to control him.

sabrinad said...

Jordan. I agree I think that being related by blood can help a connection but not nessisarily "make" it. Look at adopted children. They have a very strong connection with there parents and most of the time do not have a connection with thier birth parents. Now Twain does contradict this with Roxy raising both Tom and Chambers and not being very clost to "Chambers". So Im not sure what her point is.

Ryad said...

Cate- Exactly! As soon as Tom found out what he really was he immediatly adopted what he supposed to be the personality of a slave.
Jordan- I agree with you. When my cousin who as played the role of my sister my entire life started doing things that I couldn't understand and knew where not good for her I detached myself from her. I talked to her first, and it hurt, but I did. Thankfully she's back on track now.

ParkerH said...

delaney-
I don't really think that Roxy needs Tom. She might want his money or whatever, but I don't get the feeling that she NEEDS him. Of course, I am a guy, so I don't know any of these things ;)

Laurenc said...

Alex - I actually disagree that Roxy is becoming more and more weak. She is so strong that she is willing to be sold back into slavery for her son and taking all of these risks for both herself and her son who she is happy to finally have back not as a master but in his rightful place as her charge.

alexf said...

LaurenC~
I agree, it does take a lot to love her son that much (and it can be admirable) but as I think more and more about it, I don’t necessarily think that all her actions are because she loves Tom. Rather, I think that all her actions are to get Tom to love her…and that’s a bit of a difference (I think).

KiraW said...

Liz~ Agree. Roxy was much to leineant in her relationship with Tom. She soo easily bows down to any plan that he has and in many cases makes up plans for him (selling herself down river)

jordans said...

Amy~ I think especially with chambers and Roxy that he is showing how women can manipulate men and how women can be needy and more emotional. I think she expresses many characteristics of maternal women who can be stripped down to mothering instincts and not much else. I agree with Lauren that both genders are being mocked not just one.

lizc said...

JordanS- I know what you mean about the whole chosen relationship thing. I definately agree and a lot of the time I don't find myself closest to the people that are closest to me by blood. When you can choose your friends and they choose you it is so much more valuable than any other way.

catem said...

Maddief~I agree with you, but do you also think that Twain is satirizing how people try to conform to their stereotypes or to others? (i.e. Puddin' Head Wilson, Roxy's speech, the townspeople following one another, etc.)

melissaz said...

Lauren- I completely agree that Roxy's love for her son is admirable. Sadly Tom is taking advantage of every piece of it. Tom is the one in control of the situation, and she is the puppet. I don't even know if Tom has any love for his mother. Her actions may be just a little too overboard and not allowing him to fix his own problems. He has not learned anything but just gone backwards.

maddief said...

Amyw, I think Roxy was supposed to portray the stereotipical mammy, but Twain satirizes this by showing that she is not content or submissive. Roxy is a powerhouse woman who takes charge and is daring. Twain is trying to show people that not all African American women are like the mammy.

Laurenc said...

Alex - That's true. She's working maybe more so to prove herself to Tom and gain his admiration and love. It reminds me of those little kids who want to tell their mother's everything and be praised for it only it's flipped in this situation. Roxy is the one trying to please her son.

hannahl said...

sabrinad- I think that the comment about adopted children was interesting. It made me consider, does the 'title' of your relationship affect how you feel about a person (friend vs. boyfriend, parent vs. guardian)? How does this relate to the book?

amyw said...

delaney---I didn't really get that feeling. I think she and Tom were always sort of detached and didn't have a close relationship, even though he was her son.

melissaz said...

Alex- That is a great point about Lauren's point. Roxy is almost giving everything, through the whole book, she thrives on feeling loved by her son. She would do anything to feel loved by him, but I don't really think Tom loves her.

lizc said...

RachelS- That was so you and me in elementary with Emily! Haha!

meganu said...

SabrinaD - I agree with what you just said about the bond between adopted children and their new parents. But at the same time, look at how Roxy acts towards Tom and then her relationship with Chambers isn't very strong. Tom is her real child and Chambers just pretty much took the role of being her son. I think that makes the situation different.

Laurenc said...

Melissa - It's true that Tom is using Roxy but the fact that he's going along with everything she says either makes him a great con man who is trying to get rid of her in the long run, or someone who is blindly following and taking advantage of any opportunities to make Roxy's life harder.

lizc said...

What makes all of you think that Tom hates and does not like Roxy?! Sure, he might be using her in a way but I think that he still has feelings towards her for what she has done.

maddief said...

Catem, good point with Roxy's speech. She talks like that because that was how slaves were supposed to talk. So yeah, I agree that Twain is satirizing people purposefully following stereotypes.

Ryad said...

Delaney- I always got the feeling not that Roxy really needed him more wanted the things he could provide for her. She is strong and looks as white has her master, she wouldn't need Tom's charity.

EmilyJ said...

lizc-
I was really confused about that too. I think she switched them becuase there was a good chance that her son could get sold at some point, just because he was a slave and had some negro in him. However, by switching them, this ensured that her son would always live and it gave her nothing to worry about.

roser said...

Does anyone else see Roxy and Tom as black, like visually black? Just that 1/32 and 1/16 makes me picture them black, which is kind of like their picture of themselves.

alexf said...

LaurenC~
Exactly! So, then does this mean that she is becoming stronger or weaker if she’s trying to get Tom’s approval? (Or does it mean nothing at all?) Also, I said this in one of my above comments, I think that Twain is trying to say that society is willing to go to any length to get noticed. It seems like every character is trying to get attention from society.

jordans said...

Cate~ I think blood relationships can tear people apart sometimes. I think that children parent relationships are sometimes the most difficult because parents try to mold children into who they are and brothers and sisters are sometimes your competition in life in all aspects because you are two people from the same parents. To me chosen relationships are more valuable because I did choose them after all and there are reasons for that. Also sometimes bonds can’t be explained, they just are what they are.

rachels said...

Lauren C - your comment about Roxy wanting to please Tom made me think about how much power this gives Tom. Do you think Roxy will continue to hold her blackmail of Tom's race over his head, or will she totally submit to him in her effort to get his love? I can't really see Roxy letting go of the blackmail because I think she's still really concerned with the income Tom represents for her.

Laurenc said...

Rose - I have always pictured Roxy as black but I picture Tom as white. I think it's just because of the way they talk, which says a lot about stereotypes and how we can still recognize them today.

lizc said...

Roser- Good question. Actually I see them as white because of how Twain described Tom and her.

amyw said...

I think something huge that Twain keeps satirizing throughout this book is jealously. Tom continues to make snarky comments to people who are much more successful than him. Sometimes I'm reading, and I'm like what has HE done with his life?? He brings them down in a pitiful attempt to bring himself up. I think he secretly hates himself for his lack of success but won't admit it, and it comes out in the form of jealousy.

catem said...

No, Roser, I don't see them as black. If you remember, Rya said she was 1/8 black, and if you look at her does she appear black to you?

KiraW said...

Rose~ I do kinda. I think that it is a little odd, but since they are slaves, it is hard to picture them as white. I guess that's just how society has rubbed off on me . . .

maddief said...

Lizc, Tom dislikes the fact that he is indebted to her for all that she has done for him; replacing him and Chambers and now calling the shots. He also loathes the fact that a woman who he had thought inferior is actually his mother and lords it over him. However, it does say that they get used to each other, but I certainly don't think that he loves her. I bet his guilt will win out in the end though and he'll buy her freedom.

sabrinad said...

Hannah- I like how you expanded my comment. I totally think that title changes relationships. I think that maybe Twain is satirizing peoples titles. From being "black" when you look white, to when you are a "mom" but really a caretaker. That is interesting to think about. Anyone else think anything of this.

roser said...

Clarification: Also by their demeanor and speech.

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