A friend over at Things I Love and Hate wrote a great post on overlooked works and in it mentioned how people read Tom Sawyer and think they know Mark Twain. Most people are at least familiar with his “major” works (e.g. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), but there is so much that he wrote that goes unnoticed. Twain is one of my favorite authors, and I can’t believe people don’t read more of his works
And so, here is a list for the philistines among us: Mark Twain You Need to Read.
– The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson
This is the story of a young lawyer named Wilson that comes into a small town. On his arrival, he is waiting at the train station and he is annoyed by a dog that will not stop barking. He comments jokingly to a man nearby “I wish I owned half of that dog.” When asked why he responded, “Because I would kill my half.” The man took him as being serious, and decided that Wilson was a pudd’nhead. The name stuck.
Twain uses the novel to explore the issue of slavery, a well as stereotypes and small town politics.