Local Color Fiction In Mark Twain's Pudd Nhead Wilson

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Often, local color fiction is written off as merely just as focusing on characters, locations, and customs of a particular region of the United States. Although this is an apt observation of what local color fiction was doing, there are instances in which local color authors used their genre in ways to play into larger national issues. One such example is of Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson. Making use of local color fiction traditions, Mark Twain reforms and reshapes a new American identity. Pitting the local against the non-local is a central tactic in many regionalist and local color fictions. This dichotomy of the native versus foreigner is evident in Pudd’nhead Wilson through many characters, but especially in the title character of David Wilson, Roxy, “Tom”, and the Italian twins. These characters straddle both worlds of local and non-local and it is through them that Twain starts a discourse over how to define the character of an “American”.
When David Wilson moves to Dawson’s Landing, he is the outsider. He is first described as “a young fellow of Scotch parentage” (58). Before any mention of his achievements such as being college educated with a law degree, he is defined as an outsider. He is an outsider not only in terms of Dawson’s Landing but also in terms of America. After being noted as
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Through the characters in the novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain develops an idea that people are complex and unable to fit into a mold. America is full of people, and thus cannot be looked at upon a surface level or otherwise. To assess a person’s character you need to see them for everything they encompass. A person isn’t defined by their lineage, skin color, or nationality. An American can be good AND bad, insider AND outsider. Twain uses Pudd’nhead Wilson to eliminate ‘or’ and replace it with ‘and’. There is no one way to be a person or

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