The people of Dawson's Landing place a significant premium on the traits of honor and courage. Although Tom initially expresses gratitude for his mother's generosity, he is quick to betray her. It sets the stage for a novel of dualities on several levels, from family relationships to social distinctions. "Pudd'nhead Wilson Study Guide." Indeed, Tom's own mother, Roxy, suggests precisely this. A descent rule had long determined that all descendants of a mixed union are classified as black. Additionally, Chambers' fate, as penned in the novel's conclusion, seems to further support the nurture theory. At the meeting of the rum party, for example, Tom's affront to Luigi's reputation motivates the Italian to deliver the massive kick that launches Tom into the audience. When the Judge learns that his nephew, Tom, has been humiliated by Luigi (by way of a very public kick), his response is that Tom must fight Luigi in a duel. One is white, and one is technically black because his mother, who looks white, is 1/16 African and a slave. Alternatively, it can be asserted that the difference is the result of Tom and Chambers' widely divergent upbringings; specifically, that because Tom was spoiled as a child, he has become accustomed to putting his own interests before others. Indeed, as the novel progresses, Angelo seems to wane in importance and simply becomes an accessory to Luigi. Though Twain never expressly comes out in support of one view or the other, a persuasive case can be made that he favors nurture over nature. Twain employs Tom and Chambers to attack this conception of racial identity. This distinction between Tom's betrayal on the one hand, and Chambers' loyalty on the other, ties back into the debate between nature and nurture. | 1 They are presented by the author in opposition to a pair of honorable older gentlemen, the judge and his friend. These vastly divergent destinies seem arbitrary and unfair, given that the children are so identical and that not even Percy Driscoll, father of one of the babies, can tell them apart but for their attire. "Pudd'nhead Wilson Themes". Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. The guilt, they maintain, "lay with the erroneous inventory," and it would be wrong "to shut up a valuable slave for life.". It is inevitable that their fates will intersect again with the unmasking of their true identities. Similarly, despite having quickly won over the town with their grace and charm, Luigi and Angelo become town outcasts due to Judge Driscoll's campaign to defame them and paint them as assassins. Further, it is Puddn'head Wilson's courtroom performance that wins him acclaim and solidifies his status as a "made man.". Instead, he feels entitled to just to take whatever he wants, whether or not the item belongs to him. Beyond these slight variations, however, the two seem to meld into a single character. In Pudd'nhead Wilson, Twain delivers a scathing critique of slavery and race relations in the American South. When contemplating taking her own life, as well as the life of her child, Roxy pride won't allow her to throw herself into the river while wearing cheap rags. The fact that his nephew could be killed is secondary to the code's command that a duel be fought to reestablish the Driscoll name. Free, fun, and packed with easy-to-understand explanations! Laws against intermarriage became more stringent, and definitions of racial purity were given "pseudo-scientific authority." This is the racist view that many authors and commentators of the period would likely endorse. credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. When gambling debts leave Tom facing a desperate situation, Roxy decides to make the ultimate sacrifice for her son.