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Puddn'head Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

Length: 312 pages4 hours


Originally one story but divided into two, "Puddn'head Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins" is a combination of Mark Twain's light-hearted humor as well as his penchant for the melancholy. "Pudd'nhead Wilson" is a murder mystery set in the Antebellum South in Missouri, more specifically, on the Mississippi River. During infancy, a light-skinned black baby and a white-skinned baby were switched at birth by a slave mother. Because the black baby grows up thinking he is white, he is highly racist toward his slaves. The white baby, who thinks he is a slave, grows up with no guidance and makes a living stealing, drinking, and doing other immoral things. During a murder trial, the town lawyer Puddn'head Wilson is able to expose the boys' true identities. Formerly, though, the entire story was supposed to center around "Those Extraordinary Twins" Luigi and Angelo Capello. Twain admitted that their story was now less exciting than he had imagined, allowing their story to become more humorous. Even though Twain's love of twin confusion is one of Twain's favorite storytelling techniques, "Puddn'head Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins" is carried by themes of racism, Southern customs, and questions of identity. Although Twain is best known for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," many who read "Puddn'head Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins" find that it is actually one of the best Twain stories written.

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