The well-known author Marl Twain was born in Florida, Missouri, and when he was four years old he moved with his family to a port on the Mississippi River called Hannibal, Missouri. He began setting type for in 1851 and at the same time contributed sketches to his brother Orion's Hannibal Journal. Later, Twain was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River until the American Civil War.
Further on, in 1863 on the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada he became a reporter in 1862, and began signing his articles with the pseudonym Mark Twain which was a Mississippi River expression that meant "two fathoms deep." And thus, in 1865 Mark Twain published The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and the author as well as the story became national sensations within few months (Under the Sun).
However, in the 1870s and 1880s are counted as Twain's best work. His work includes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer written in 1876, celebrated boyhood in a town on the Mississippi River; then a children's book The Prince and the Pauper in the year 1882, which focused on switched identities in Tudor England.
Another great work was his A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 1889 that mocked oppression in feudal England. But one of his most significant works of the 1890s and 1900s was Pudd'nhead Wilson that got published in 1894, that was a story of the South that criticizes racism by emphasized on mistaken racial identities, which was written before the Civil War (Under the Sun).
The Historical Context
The event portrayed in Puddn'head Wilson by Mark Twain took place in Missouri,
US during the year 1831. The era of 1830s was very tense in the United States due to the issue of slavery in the land. It was a difficult time for the state of Missouri in order to be admitted into the American Union. The Republican, James Tallmadge of New York could not admit Missouri into the Union in spite of his want, since slavery was not abolished by then (Electronic Text Center).
By no doubt, the South stood vehemently against this: The South preferred slavery throughout the history, while the Northerners needed to get a good riddance from it. The argument got so much heated that Thomas Jefferson -- the then president - started to worry about the safety of the Union. In order to solve the deadlocking matters, the Congress resolved to present a compromise (Boondocks Net.com).
The Compromise stated that:
"Missouri and Maine would be admitted into the Union," and that "Maine would be a free state and Missouri a slave one (Electronic Text Center)."
Nevertheless, some residents of Missouri did not wish that free blacks would migrate into the state that had to be newly amalgamated into the Union. This became the reason for delay in the entrance of Missouri into the Union because the Congress did not want to let the state in unless it removed the provision.
The provision was finally removed and Missouri became the twenty-fourth state to be admitted into the American Union. At that time, most of the people who lived in Missouri were from Tennessee, Carolinas, Kentucky, and Virginia. Most of them lived near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Most of the people who lived in the state did not own slaves, while those who did, owned very few slaves. Most of the slaves were workers in the tobacco and hemp regions in the west-central Missouri (Boondocks Net.com).
Missouri was called the "Gateway to the West." In order to find his fortune, Puddn'head Wilson went from New York to Missouri that then offered merchandising, lead mining, manufacturing, fur trading, and land - the most attractive aspect of them all. Free land was being given by the Spanish government, in order to make it possible for the people to start their lives anew (Boondocks Net.com).
In 1831, Joseph Smith took advantage of this opportunity by starting the Mormon
Church in Missouri. But things did not work out and the people of the state did not like the Mormon's unorthodox methods of worship and beliefs, finally running them out of the town (Electronic Text Center).
Analysis of the Metaphor in the Story
Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson appeared in the Century lastly. The writer has given in the new edition, now reprinted…