Like many classical authors whose popularized works are not always the most profound and illuminating, Mark Twain’s Puddn’head Wilson was an engaging humorous approach to issues of the time period and further, proving that his status as a humorist was merely his favored genre in his literary explorations—oh and yeah, back to the point, much sharper on my reader’s eyes than his “classics.” Basically, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was one child, Puddn’head Wilson was its older, stronger sibling.
For literary merit, I found that Twain embodied my favorite function of literature—meaning. It seems like every sentence falls just short of joke and into that wonderful territory of point without total shroud of humor, and on the whole, every piece of writing attaches itself to the story as well as the themes. Sure, there are the short jokes, but the whole book is the joke, the reality of the people is the joke.
As for those themes, I think we handled most of them in class with all those ridiculous characters that should be able to handle their lives better than they end up doing with their antics—Twain’s overarching aim, I believe. The dramatic irony is so heavy, I couldn’t help but identify at every turn with the seemingly predictable actions of these characters, that it’s so easy for the reader to see solutions and happenings that we might just look out from our own foolishnesses in our own foolish societal customs and ideals (goodness!).
I think I should have put my time in in high school and read the Twain we were supposed to read. Guess it took one of his more obscure works to get me to add him to my list of favorite authors.
It was sharp. We need sharpness.