Publication Date

August 2011


This research paper analyzes Mark Twain's use of racist speech and racial stereotypes in his novel Pudd'nhead Wilson. Twain has often been criticized for his seemingly inflammatory language. However, a close reading of the text, supplemented by research in several anthologies of critical essays, reveals that Twain was actually interested in social justice. This is evident in his portrayal of Roxana as a sympathetic character who is victimized by white racist society in Dawson's Landing, Mississippi during the time of slavery. In the final analysis, Twain's writing was a product of the time period during which he wrote. This knowledge helps students understand the reasons behind Twain's word choices, characterization, and portrayal of race.