Monday, February 2, 2009

PW Live Blogging: Chapters 17-19!

My suggestion for the day: Don't be afraid to ask questions. The book has become fast-paced and somewhat confusing. Clarification is a necessary first step before you can make a strong analysis. I still want to see and hear your thoughtful interpretations, but make sure you understand what's actually happening in these chapters (and any preceding chapters that are still plaguing you with confusion).

Enjoy! You're almost to the very best part--the end!

141 comments:

delaney n said...

hi bloggers!

amyw said...

I'm still confused about why Tom sold Roxy down the river. Was it because he could sell her for more money?

macm said...

At the beginning of chapter 17, how do you think the first excerpt from Wilson's calendar can be related to the story so far? Do you think it could be foreshadowing a character falling out of grace with the town?

amyw said...

Also, why doesn't Mr. Wilson check Tom's fingerprints even though he thinks he wasn't capable of the murder? You would think it'd be worth it to at least check...

ParkerH said...

Yeah, I hate Tom even more now. Just thought I'd throw that out there. My feelings towards the other characters remained pretty much the same though. Does anyone else sort of feel this way?

maddief said...

So...Was anyone sad that Judge Driscoll was killed? Apparently everyone in the community really liked him, but for all of his honor and class, I don't find him that much of a gentlemen. Afterall, he took that jab at Luigi about killing someone, which seems pretty underhanded to me.

MattN said...

amyw- yeah he needed the money to pay off his debt, and he was going to buy her back, but Roxy escaped!

amyw said...

parkerh---I agree. Tom doesn't appear to feel any remorse at all even though he killed someone! All he cares about was getting the money, being rich, and not getting caught. It's like he has no concept of human connections. He's gotten so greedy that he can't feel remorse or love or anything like that.

AustinD said...

@Amy: That's exactly why. Tom was robbed with his possesions that he planned to use to pay off his debt.

kennaw said...

AmyW~ I think the reason Tom sold Roxy down the river is because he was confused. I think he realized how he acted towards her and it made him think about his actions since she was his mom. Tom probably felt like he had needed to treat her with respect since it was his mom but he didn't want to because he loved the life he had and therefore sold her down the river to try and forget about it. Or he tried to make it easier on the both of them.

roser said...

macattack-I think it has something to do with a dealth of a high up individual, but sooner or later everyone will get over it.

ParkerH said...

amy-
He had to pay off his debts to those creditors, and he could get more than enough money if he sold Roxy. Roxy did not agree to be sold down the river, and this was part of the arguement that the two had.

morgant said...

Amy- I was wondering about that too!!! I mean, to me, Tom is acting more and more suspicious, I would think Wilson would check on his fingerprints too.

maddief said...

Yeah Amyw, I get what you're saying about the fingerprints, but Wilson was positive that the culprit was a woman. Nowadays everyone near the victim is checked out, but back then they didn't even consider confirming Tom's alibi about being out of town. Also, no one back then would have even considered a man cross-dressing, it was so outlandish.

mollyd said...

Amy- I agree I thought that was odd that Wilson did not check Tom's fingerprints because it would have been so easy to check. I don't know why he didn't do it. Maybe he just talked himself out of it and didn't want to have any possibility that it could be Tom that did it.

ParkerH said...

Maddie-
Yeah, I was sad when Driscoll died. I think the whole duel thing was part of the society at the time, or maybe it was one of Twain's satirisms. I'm not really sure.

roser said...

MorganT and Amyw-Whether or not Wilson checks Tom's prints, it is going to reveal how much trust he holds in Tom, as a person.

maddief said...

Yep, Tom is definitely scum. What I'm still trying to figure out is whether Twain is describing him as such a dislikable person because he is African American, or because he was raised as a slave owner.

morgant said...

I like that now, the twins are at the bottom of society, being accused of the murder and everything, and Tom is now making his way up towards the top. That is so ironic, and satirical in a way. It should be the other way around, but Tom has manipulated his position so much that everything has turned on itself.

macm said...

roser-
You mean like the death of Judge Driscoll? Maybe the townsfolk will start to loathe his memory or something. I think maddief talked about how he wasn't worthy of thier praise. I also think it could be talking about the twins, because the townspeople held them in the highest regard. What if Luigi commits some unspeakable crime?

mollyd said...

Parker- I feel the same way. I kept thinking how selfish and sneaky Tom is. I can't believe he can live his life that way and feel no regret or anything.

amyw said...

maddief---I forgot about that. Because of the mysterious girl and the old woman, he thinks there's either one or two women that did the raids and murdered Judge Driscoll. It hasn't crossed his mind that it could be Tom cross-dressing---you're right, they were pretty conservative and would never think of this. He's covered up his tracks pretty well and as much as I wish someone would catch him I don't think anyone will.

KateP said...

I agree with parker and amy. Tom doesn't care about how bad he has become. I kind of blame this on Roxy though. Even though she was trying to make her sons life better by making him white, in a way she destroyed him and made matters worse. It hurts Roxy in the end.

whitneys said...

maddief - I agree with you about Tom! He makes me so angry at his horrible, evil character. But yet again, I am stuck as to what Twain is trying to show through "Tom". What do you guys think?

rachels said...

Parker- I agree tom is such a jerk! Someone needs to stand up to him. I don't think a whole society would let one person get away with so much. I think tom is actually brilliant because he is able to act like he just goes with the flow while all along he knows ezsactly what he is doing.

morganw said...

mac- One of my favorite parts of this book are the quotes at the begginning of each chapter. I usually read them before I read each chapter and then again after I've read the chapter and it is amazing how perfect they describe/predict the contents of the chapters. I think the first excert from chapter 17 is a direct comment about the twins. They are so popular and well-liked at the begginning of the story and in one chapter they fall to utter ruin. It's ironic.

amyw said...

morgant---That is very ironic. I definitely think Twain is satirizing how dramatically things can be twisted around when someone is greedy enough. It's basically Tom's fault that they're at the bottom of society.

ParkerH said...

I feel like I'm trying to force out comments here. This book hasn't really given me a lot to get animated about, and it's mostly just clarification and such. Has anyone else noticed this? I mean, the book is alright, but I feel like I'm totally missing something that I've gotten from some of the other things we've read and discussed. Thoughts?
(And does that make any sense?)

mollyd said...

Maddie- In my interpretation I think Tom is the way he is because of the way he was raised. However it can be interpreted either way. So it is sort of up to you because Twain is satirizing both sides of it.

EmilyJ said...

Going along with Amy's question on why Tom sold Roxy down the river, does this mean that he values money over his mother? He chooses to sell hi Own mom down the river, knowing she would be in danger, just so he could pay off his debts. This makes Tom seem like even worse of a son. Does anyone else agree?

Laurenc said...

maddief - That's a very good question. I hate how we can never tell exactly what Twain is thinking when he writes. Roxy is also a confusing character because she encourages Tom but then also tells him to confess. It's like ever is two faced in this novel.

morgant said...

I think Tom finding out that he was part black caused all of this. He is desperately trying to keep his position of superiority and doing it surreptitiously. That's why it is so selfish of him, he doesn't care about how it hurts others, he is just concerned about keeping his place in society.

MattN said...

Mollyd- I Don't know, i think he has gotten to the point where he can do whatever he wants, he won't get caught, and he won't feel any remorse. I do think it will come back to bite him in the butt though!! What do you think?

maddief said...

What is Twain's metaphor for the twins being accused of murder rather than Tom? I think he might be saying that those who are different are usually blamed first, because they stand out.

Ryad said...

Mac- I also think that the quote has something to do with the death of Judge Driscoll. The entire town gave the Judge and Luigi praise for dueling, do you think the Judge will get even more for dying? And if it becomes such a big event then the townspeople would probably begin to wish they were able to see it first hand.

rachels said...

I dont feel that it is fair to blame so much on roxy. I mean sure she has been steped all over but in the end it was for the greatest cause of all... love

AustinD said...

@Maddie: That's one of the huge discrepencies of the book. I could see it both ways. Tom could be cruel because he was raised as a white man and that was his flaw. Being African American and that being his flaw also makes lots of sense. Looking through a new Historian perspective both could make sense; this was written post civil war when blacks were often considered brutes. On the other hand, he could also be showing how cruel white men were and trying to hasten the process. It could easily be seen as either at least in my mind.

roser said...

katep-I agree, although I'm sure that like any human being, Tom's conscience is weighing him down gradually and he could snap. And I think you mean she switched the twins, not made one black and one white, in the literal sense...:)

ParkerH said...

Morgant-
Good call. Now that you mention that, I can completely see it. You're probably right about Twain having a satirical intent there.

mollyd said...

Parker- I feel the same way. I don't really have a lot to say about the book. I just kinda read it and don't feel anything that is that indepth with it. Maybe the ending will be better and more intriguing.

whitneys said...

amyw - I agree with what you are saying. But I also feel like the people in the town are being very unintelligent. Tom is fooling them and can make them believe anything by saying a few simple things. I cannot help to laugh at the satire about how the poeple who are really good are framed as fools and the people who are truly evil frame themselves to be good.

morganw said...

Katep - I completely agree with you! I think Tom's non-chalance about murder and his horrible treatment of everyone around him is Roxy's fault. She dotes upon him when its the last thing he needs and she has quite literally created a monster through her motherly love.

roser said...

Is it Roxy's fault that Tom has become so disturbed?

amyw said...

I saw a lot of connections to Macbeth in this. In one part it said how he cleansed his hand on the straw in the haunted house, and to me this was like the handwashing in Macbeth. And in Macbeth, as he killed more and more people he talked about being "so far in blood that he couldn't get out," and I think that this is what happened to Tom. He's gone so far with his gambling and trying to pay off his debts that he'll do anything to support this lifestyle and doesn't care who he has to hurt, even if it's his own mom or his guardian (Judge Driscoll). And he always said how he would reform himself and that every time he got into trouble it would be "the last time" but it never was. Something else ALWAYS happened...

roser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whitneys said...

parkerH - I agree with you! It seems like just a regular book that there is nothing to really discuss. But then you read it through the eyes of satire and it is an extremely blown out of proportion story that just makes me laugh at how stupid and gullable people can be.

ParkerH said...

Rose-
I wouldn't go so far as to blame it on her. After all, he has a complete brat when he was too young to really comprehend a whole lot, or whatever. I don't think it's her fault, personally.

rachels said...

I know tom totally acts like he doesn't care at all about how terrible he is but I wonder if his nochalant attitude is a mask for his guilt...?

KateP said...

roser- yes that is what i meant

macm said...

Does anyone think that if Tom's black heratige had been common knowledge that he would have had his fingerprints tested? Did his supposedly white, American backround have anything to do with the ignorance of his fingerprint check?

amyw said...

roser---I don't think so. Roxy is trying to help him, but she never guessed that to get the money to buy her free he'd kill his uncle. I think her intentions are good and if he followed them and was trying to be good he wouldn't have become so disturbed. So basically I think it's Tom's fault that he's become so disturbed.

mollyd said...

Matt- You are right. I think he will get what he deserves in the end. I just don't like the way he lives his life so nonchalantly and without a single care. I personally just don't understand how he can do it, but like you said he knows no other way.

Laurenc said...

Maddief - I agree. I think the twins are an easy target because they haven't lived in the town forever and people don't know much about them. Plus, like you said, it is always easier to blame those who are different then you then people who are the same.

morganw said...

whitneys - Tom infuriates me. He is by far my least favorite character. But I agree with you that Twain uses him to tell most of the story. It is Tom that supplies all the satirical targets - it's Tom who's either bad because of the way he was raised or bad because he's 1/32 black. It's Tom who screws up everything completely by accident and solely because he enjoys malicious entertainment. He's a villian, and yet all his villanous acts are unintentional. It's so ironic.

amyw said...

I was also confused about what happened with the election. Did Judge Driscoll and the twins run against each other? Then Tom told Judge Driscoll that Luigi was an assassin and he used that in his speech which caused the twins to lose and be ostracized?

morgant said...

Rose- I think Roxy has contributed to Tom's downfalls, but I also think it is mainly Tom himself. Roxy has aided him in being manipulative, but Tom has used her plans to gain things for himself. I think it is mainly Tom's fault, and he's the only one who can fix it, but Roxy has certainly played a part in it!

maddief said...

Yeah, I get what you're saying Parkerh. I think it's tough to actually get interested in this book, when it's so difficult to interpret. I get frustrated not knowing what Twain is actually trying to say, and this in turn makes me irritated at the book. Kinda childish huh? XD

roser said...

Parker-
Ok so I agree with you on the whole but still...Roxy was the first to make the "immoral" move of switching the twin (judging on what you believe is immoral), and its almost like Tom is following his mother's footsteps in criminal acts...Plus she did approve of Tom's pirating...

ParkerH said...

Whitney-
You have a good point there. I can see how that would help, but I'm not that great at finding the satirical stuff, so... I guess I'll manage. I'll try to look for something like that.

And Mollyd-
I hope you're right. I need something to go off of here... Or maybe there is, like Whitney said, and I just don't see/grasp it. Oh well.

amyw said...

whitneys---I noticed this as well. Twain satirizes gullibility at a lot of points in this book! It almost borders on comical. They will believe anything they hear, whether it's true or simply gossip.

MattN said...

Macm!! Wow i hadn't even thought about that until now!! But that makes a lot of sense! Wilson doesn't seem to be taking anybody's fingerprints who are older and white or slaveowners. He also isn't taking fingerprints of the slaves, but do you think wilson knows his secret, and just chooses to keep it to himself for further blackmail??

whitneys said...

macm - Yes, I definately think that if Tom's black heritage had been common knowledge, he deginately would have been charged. I was actually surprised that no slaves were charged with the murder.

ParkerH said...

Maddie-
Yeah can't blame you. I feel that every now and then too.

morgant said...

Rachel- That is a really good point! I agree in a way, I mean it is hard to believe that Tom can't feel any remorse from what he's doing. His personality has been his way of life for so long, that is what he is used to and now he is being manipulative because he wants to seem completely innocent. Maybe it is just a cover up!

morganw said...

Roser - I believe it is Roxy's fault that Tom is so screwed up. Obviously it can't be entirely her fault because she's not the only person who's had a major influence in his life, but I do think that his recent turn for murder and theiving has been catalysted by Roxy's actions. She goes so far out of her way to help him that she ends up doing things wrong through her love. This wouldn't necesarily be bad, except that Tom doesn't take it for what it is. He takes it for a convienence, nothing more where it is really her love.

maddief said...

Roser, yeah, I partially blame who Tom has become on Roxy. If she had not switched the babies, then her son wouldn't have become a murderer. However, even if the babies had not be switched, I still think that the one raised as a white man would be greedy enough to rob and recently, kill.

ParkerH said...

Rose-
I can see that too. I think she was trying to do the best thing possible, and was acting out of love, and even if her actions were a little bit... skewed? they were out of love. And where did she say that she approved of the pirating? I don't remember that.

EmilyJ said...

macm- That is a really interesting point, I definitely agree with everyone else that they would have tested his finger prints if common knowledge was that he was black. I feel like this could be a stereotypical thing though.

macm said...

whitneys-
So was I! The whole situation totally reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird when the black man is accused of murder. I wonder whose side Twain would take? In To Kill A Mockingbird, the author writes in such a way that it makes you believe the black man is innocent, yet the townspeople are convinced he is guilty.

amyw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whitneys said...

What do you think is Twain's significance of Chambers not enjoying his free life?

amyw said...

whitneys---I think he's satirizing society, that the way it was had changed him so much that he couldn't fit in with the white people or the black people. This was how much society engrained its message into everyone---it was extremely difficult for them to change. I mean, Chambers was free after twenty-three years of slavery and he couldn't even enjoy it!

MattN said...

Whitney- I totally think he was stating that nurture totally rules over nature. He is used to being a slave and feels uncomfortable in the ruling position, so he doesn't know what to do, or how to act!

morganw said...

This is by far my favorite ending of any book I've ever read. Everyone gets what they deserve, but its not a happy book. All the characters go through a myraid of problems, but then the ending comes and it works out. Also, on what Mrs. Leclaire said, the ending where Tom gets sold down the river, I personally ended up feeling like he deserved it. Which made me feel like a horrible person, but I can now completely see Twain's point. Life is not fair. In fact, it's so unfair that its almost comical.

maddief said...

So here's the jab that Twain makes at racists; the life of a slave is a a form of punishment. Instead of jail time, Tom is sold down the river as his punishment. So for all of the people during Twain's time who thought that slaves had great lives and were happy, this little retort would have ruined their argument.

KarlyH said...

I felt the exact same way as Mrs. Leclaire. In fact, I hadn't even thought of it as wrong that I was happy he got sold down the river until thinking of it now. I think that it is kind of scary that I am happy about somebody having their freedom taken away from him, no matter how bad the crime.

rachels said...

amy w - I agree that justice was served at the end and Tom's murder was uncovered, but the switching back of Tom and Chambers left me uneasy. Twain suggested that Chamber's new life was uncomfortable and strange for him, and Tom was sold down the river and who knows what violence waits for him there. What do you think was the overall point?

melissaz said...

Whitney- It did make me a little sad that Chambers, even though he was made free, did not get the chance to enjoy his life. I think that Twain may have been trying to communicate the fact that through the lies, even when everything is cleaned out, nothing is ever the same. Chambers' life was built off of lies he had no control of, and once everything is "right" his life continues to suffer from those decisions. Lies are like nails in a log, even when they are pulled out, there is still a mark.

whitneys said...

Amyw - I almost disagree about it being a satisfying ending. I am one who does like happy endings. Like Hannah is saying it was a twisted ending. I was definately not satisfied. Especially because Tom never did change his ways, I want him to realize all the wrong he had done. However, maybe that is Twain's point, people are who they are, and no one can change that.

KiraW said...

Going off what Ms. Leclaire said, I think that it is quite ironic that we did think it was good that Tom "got what he deserved" by being sent down the river, yet really no one deserves that. It was almost worse than death. Do you think that if he had been tried and found guilty as a white that they could have even thought of something that horrible. He murdered his "uncle" then never took the money, do you think that he could have bought his own freedom?

Ryad said...

Amy- I agree. It was getting so frustrated about how no one was getting what they deserved. But now it's much better.

In the inner circle they are saying that people didn't get what they deserve but I think they did. Tom probably gotten better food and had to do less work in jail then down the river. I think it's a worse punishment.

Oliviak said...

Whitney Well Chambers just really doesn’t know how to act because he is free. He may also feel bad because he is free while Tom went down the river. So he knows what will happen to him because he knows what happens down the river.

morganw said...

Whitney - I think that fact that Chambers doesn't like being free stands for how he realizes that the typical "southern gentleman" 's life, really isn't that good. I think Chambers realizes how horribly unfair life really is and is so upset by it that he cannot truly enjoy his life.

KiraW said...

Do you think that Chambers would have wanted to keep Tom around and give back what had been dished out to him if he had been given the chance?

maddief said...

Yeah, I agree, I definitely think that Twain's parting message was that a person is formed through nuture rather than nature. Chambers, although actually white, does not automatically take a position as a strong confident man, but keeps his meekness from being a slave. Tom on the other hand, does not suddenly become meek after discovering he's a slave; if anything, all of his airs make him seem even more confident and cocky.

macm said...

whitneys- I think that when Twain projected Chambers as unhappy he was trying to reinforce that slavery had a long and lasting impression on the minds of blacks and whites, and that the freed slaves were awkward in society. They were almost worse off because the way they were brought up by their masters was setting them up for failure in the free man's world.

Oliviak said...

I think that the fact that Chambers feels out of place is the fact that Nurture over powers nature.

amyw said...

rachels---I think he was satirizing the switch of them when they were six months old. At first when I was reading it I thought Roxy had done the right thing, and I'm pretty sure a lot of us thought the same thing. He's showing how things can seem good at first but they are bad beneath the surface and once you've done something huge like switching babies you can't take it back. I think that was his larger point.

whitneys said...

melissaz - Good point! I totally agree. Twain was trying to make a point that life is not happy all the time and that issues like this are not solved in a way that everyone is happy. Especially in the time period of this time, just showing how poeple do not adapt easily and that change in that society is very difficult. Again setting the basis for the coming Civil Rights movemnet.

MattN said...

Kira~ I'm not sure about that one! I think that Chambers can not really fill his role of master and does not want anyone to feel the same horrible way he did! He could not be that cruel to Tom, no matter how much he tried.

KateP said...

Karlyh- I felt the same way about Tom being sold down the river. I was very angry at him throughtout the whole book for beating his mom and stealing from his neighbors, so I am glad that he got what he deserved. But being sold down the river is one of the worse things, which makes me feel guilty.

KarlyH said...

Kira- I think that Chambers did not have the ability to punish Tom and repay the things he had done to him. He still had the humility of a slave and I think that he would still see Tom as a master over him, even though their roles had been switched.

morgant said...

Kira- I think it is mostly ironic on Twain's part that as readers, he aimed to make us think that Tom got what he deserved, while the whole idea of an anti-slavery book goes out the window in our mind. It is almost the way society thought, and we were influenced as readers. I think he did that on purpose. I also don't think Tom could have bought his freedom. Murder is still a horrible crime and Tom was caught in a huge chain of lies, and that always ends up catching up with you.

KiraW said...

Melissa~ I agree. The lies that Roxy made for her son is something that will now haunt the town forever.

rachels said...

macm - I completely agree. Twain was making a powerful statement about the plight of newly freed slaves. But at first when I read that passage I saw the "zip coon" steryotype like Hannah just said. I think Twain's point was to make you think about your own perception of the situation.

melissaz said...

Rya and others- People kind of got what they deserved. Chambers got less than what he deserved. He spent his whole life in slavery, and when he is free, he cannot enjoy his life free. He suffered under the faults of others, and did not deserve that. Tom, I think that he deserved to be punished in what ever way, but he did so much damage that no matter what they did to him, it could not reconsile the killing of his uncle. Things were fixed as well as they could, but it was not fair.

mollyd said...

To me the ending was a bit twisted but it almost seemed predictable to me. At least for me I felt there had to be some reason/use for the fingerprints Wilson took. Also I felt that Tom would get what he deserved in the switch would be discovered. So I was not surprised at all to this ending come about.

morganw said...

KiraW - No, I don't think Chambers would have mistreated Tom if Tom had stayed around. For some reason I cannot see Chambers becoming that cruel. I think if Tom had stayed Chambers would have proved that he was the bigger man, so to speak, and still treated Tom civilly, though not as a master/slave relationship.

KateP said...

Kiraw- I am sure he would have liked to for all the bad things that Tom did to him. I think that he was satisfied about finding out that he really wasn't a slave, so it didn't even matter to him.

whitneys said...

OliviaK - Yes! And looking through the eyes of New Historicism, Twain could possibly be making a point about how the freed negreos did feel. Because he wrote this after the Civil War he is trying to explain how it was like fro negroes to try to become part of the society.

sabrinad said...

Kira- That is an interesting point. If he had been white would they have sold him down the river? I believe that they wouldnt ever do something so "horrible" to a white person. This is indeed unfair but I believe Twain put that as the last line to question the readers moral values. Is it okay to send anyone down the river? Is it okay to send a bad white person down the river? Is it okay to send a bad black person down river? Personally I dont think that he should have been sent down the river. I think he should have been put on trial and given the death penalty no matter what race he is. His actions were unacceptable and he was a horrible person.

maddief said...

I've noticed people discussing their feelings on the end of the book, so I guess I'll go ahead and state my feelings. Frankly, I found it kind of predictable after it was revealed that Tom was a thief. In the end, Wilson would identify him by his fingerprints, ultimately realizing that Tom is actually Chambers. However, the points made by Twain on racism made the book worth reading, because I found it satisfying picking out all of the jabs he made towards racists in his society.

KarlyH said...

Molly- I completly agree with you. I had a pretty good idea how this book would end and I felt the ending was semi-predictable.

macm said...

Kiraw-
I do not think that Chambers would have punished Tom, because the way Twain wrote the book makes it impossible. If he meant to show how Chambers was brought up effected him the most, he wouldn't have wanted to get back at Tom. Also, if Twain was trying to show that Chambers was a better person because he was white, Chambers would have taken the dignified road and forgivevn Tom. Either way, Tom gets away with murder, no pun intended.

melissaz said...

Ok, now that I am thinking about it, why would the twins have been killed because they were accused of the murder, but Tom, who actually commited the murder was sold down the river? These are 2 different punishments for the same crime. I don't agree that a human can descide when and why a person dies, but why would Twain have given Tom a different punishment than the twins would have gotten?

mollyd said...

Olivia- I agree with you. In the way the story ends and the way all the characters are treated it really shows how nuture definitely played a strong role in the development of the characters and seemed to overrule nature.

rachels said...

So I think a lot of people agree that Tom got what he deserved to some extent. But can he really be blamed for his awful actions or can they be attributed to his life living the role of a master? Would Tom have a similar nasty personality if he lived the life of a slave?

KiraW said...

Matt~ I agree. I think that he was to soft hearted of a person to ever inflict that kind of pain on another person. Do you think he would ever have any slaves of his own? Some of his best friends were now considered his property.

Ryad said...

Melissa- I agree with you about Chambers. But I'm not sure if he could have realisticly had any other ending. He's never known anything else. And even though he had been around the gentlemen they removed themselves from him so much that there was no way he could know how to act. It's horrible how lost he is but I can't see it being any other way.

EmilyJ said...

From the conversation the inner circle was discussing earlier, I don't think this book's ending was about everyone getting what they deserved. I personally think it's about learning from mistakes and realizing things that should have been realized long before. I don't think the fact that Tom was sold down the river was what satisfied me, i think its that he finally came to a turning point in his own life and he discovered his true identity by confronting all the terrible ways he had acted in the past, such as his treatment toward Roxy. So, I was just happy that almost all of the characters came to a personal turning point.

MattN said...

Does anyone else notice that all of the town's people could be VERY easily swayed throughout the trial, and very easily fascinated with Wilson's intellect!

KarlyH said...

melissa- I think that in the end the fate that Tom faced was far worse than the death that the twins would have died. I see your point in the hypocracy though.

maddief said...

If this situation were truly to occur, would Tom actually have been sold? If no one was informed that he was black, he could have passed as white. Would slave masters be able to treat someone who looks like themselves so horriby?

rachels said...

Okay I had a major problem with the ending. It really made me angry that in the end Tom got sold down the river and Chambers couldn't adapt to normal society. It seemed to me like there was no solution that it ended without an ending. I also don't understand why Twain would end it with tom being sold down the river when that is what he was ighting the whole time.

morgant said...

Rachel- I definitely think that Tom would have had a much different personality if he had been raised as a slave. Because he was spoiled and such throughout his whole life, when that could have possibly been taken away from him he became manipulative. I think if he had been raised as a slave, he would have turned out quite differently.

amyw said...

melissaz---Since Wilson proved that Tom was actually Chambers and was meant to be a slave, it was OK to sell him down the river. He was convicted and put into jail, but then they realized since he was 1/32 black they could enslave him. Their thinking was that they didn't want to keep someone who could be a slave and could be doing work in jail. But the twins, if they had been found guilty, would've gone to jail because they were 100% white and couldn't have been sold into slavery.

Ryad said...

Whitney- I had never thought of Chamber's fate that way but now that you menchion it I can totally see it as the feelings of freed slaves.

rachels said...

melissaz - I think the fact that Tom was sold down the river instead of recieving a normal punishment emphasizes the extreme racism of the south. That section of the chapter struck me as extremely bitter and mocking towards slaveholders who would save a slave's life so the manual labor it represented for them wouldn't be wasted.

KarlyH said...

Matt- throughout the whole book I saw the townspeople as very easily influenced. Do you think that Twain was trying to say something about the influence of someone in a position of athority?

MattN said...

KiraW~ No, I absolutely don't think he would be able to. Even if he did start playing the role of Tom, he was raised one way, and it is very very hard to think another way after growing up being abused. So he will never be able to break away from his original nurture.

sabrinad said...

Rachel- I dont believe that "tom" would have been able to live a life of cruelty as a slave because they are forced to be humble or face the penalty of being sent down river.

whitneys said...

mattN - YES!! I was constantly frustrated with the people in the town because they did not have any thoughts of their own but always allowed other poeple to control their thoughts. I think this is one of Twain's strongest points, that society is so easily swayed by majority and convincing arguments. Yet again, their is great irony in this because they do not listen to any antislavery arguments.

amyw said...

maddief---I think they were informed that Tom was 1/32 black. I don't think they would've not known this.

KiraW said...

Melissa~ I think that in that time, being sent down river was worse than death especially for slaves. It was also a punishment that could not be inflicted on a white person. Do you think that the townspeople would have seen the twins as Italians (race/Prejudice)

melissaz said...

Matt- I totally saw that through the whole story. But I think Twain may have been showing the way that people can conform easily to common ideas. Few people manage to break the mold and create their own opinions and ideas. This is clear through the whole story, and with the town's people in "The Minister's Black Veil".

mollyd said...

Rachel- I do think if Tom was a slave he would have not been so nasty but he acted harsher as a master than other masters. He had no concrete discipline and lived a free for all life so he had no set of morals or consequences which is why I believe he acted so harsh and some people think he got what he deserved.

morganw said...

I think Twain's fascination with Twin's is to show a larger theme that light cannot exist without darkness and vice versa. This may seem a little far fetched, but it's that idea that everything that matters in life comes in dicotomies. What does everyone think of this? Because, after all, the twins are presented in a fashion that makes it seem as if one could not exist without the other.

Ryad said...

Matt- Yeah, I did notice that. It bothered me. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that our society is like that. When a celebrity or well known person is on trial or in trouble, all it takes is one headline to change the way the entire country feels, and that's not even with us seeing first hand information.

maddief said...

Melissaz, you're right, I didn't even think about the fact that the twins would have been hanged while Tom was sold. I think that this is another form of racism, because they were willing to flat out kill the foreigners, but they sold Tom who was black. Was death a better form of punishment than being sold? Once again, Twain satirizes the comments of racists who thought that slaves were happy on plantations.

morgant said...

Karly & Matt- I just think Twain was hinting at the ignorance of the townspeople. They didn't really know and so when somebody took charge, they immediately fell into the role of the follower. I noticed that too, and it kind of bothered me, but I think it was just their ignorance.

rachels said...

Melissa- Sure tom was a jerk but I don't think that anyone really deserves to be a slave. And I understand that Chambers deserves more but chambers almost had more of a life than Tom. His life was more complete and maybe one of the reasons he couldn't adjust to society is because he didn't want to fall into the evils of society.

MattN said...

KarlyH~ That's exactly what i caught onto! That all of the townspeople, and white slave owners of the time are ignorant, and very easily swayed! They have the authority to rule, but not the brains to think! Nurture? or nature??

Oliviak said...

Whitney so if the towns people have no thoughts of thier own then what does that say about the people of the 19th century? is it saying that they were easliy influenced or that they weren't?

amyw said...

whitneys---I think Twain really wanted us to notice that no one in the town thought for themselves. He was satirizing their gullibility, and I noticed this at many points throughout this book. He clearly had a very low view of small Southern towns and this was one of the key ways he showed this. You just wanted to grab them and shake them and tell them to formulate their own opinions once in a while!

macm said...

MattN-
I think that when Twain highlighted the power Pudd'nhead Wilson had over the town, he was demonstrating that the only ones who had real control were the people with some kind of skill. (Example:The Twins and their ability to entrance the town's people.)I think that Twain always has multiple story threads going on, and I think this one is about the wielders of true power. You notice that the illiterate, unsociable and untalented have their situations manipulated by those with skill. (Roxy, Tom)

EmilyJ said...

maddief- No, I don't think Tom would have been sold if this had occured. You are right, he could definitely pass as white; the only proof that existed that proved he was part black was the finger print records. If Wilson had never taken these records, he probably would have just been sent to jail.

mollyd said...

Karly- Definitely. One of Twain's main points in the story is how much power people of authority have. There are multiple instinsences (I spelled that wrong) in which an authoritative person has a huge influence on the thoughts of others. It shows how people can't seem to think on their own and they like someone to tell them what they should think.

maddief said...

So is Tom being sold down the river a form of satire? If a white person were to read this, would they be horrified to think of someone who practically looked like them being a slave. Or would they feel that Tom got what he deserved?

rachels said...

sabrina and morgan and molly - I agree I think we've already decided this kind of but it's definitely another strong peice of support for the nurture vs. nature agrument.

whitneys said...

morganw - GOOD POINT! I completely see how Twain could be making that. There are two sides and they have to exist for each other. Maybe that is why the Twain's were so perfect because they had both! Yes! Thank you for sharing that with us, I think you are spot on!

melissaz said...

Rya- I totally agree. With the way the story played out, there really is no other way this could have ended to give Chambers a better life.