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23 February 2006 @ 08:06 am
Pudd'nhead Wilson Essay Prompt
By: Lauren Hale
Period 6

The excerpts used from Pudd'nhead Wilson's "Calendar" fit into the text, serving as

a direct commentary by foreshadowing or mirroring events in the following chapters. The

"Calendar" itself is full of clever maxims and aphorisms, and alludes to biblical characters

even, that being Adam and Eve.

To begin with, "Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man,

but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time." This refers to the arrival of the twins, Luigi and

Angelo, and how the town reacts to their presence. They are much admired, and have

brought a change upon the quiet town, though unaware of this change at that time, they

ultimately help everyone's view of Wilson to be altered.

Secondly, "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will note

bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man." In this chapter, Roxy's

son, Chambers (better known as "Tom") sells his mother "down the river", all so he could

have money. He tricks her into believing that she was going to go to Kentucky, but instead

sells her to a slave-holder in Arkansas, all for a better price in return. "Tom", instead of

revelling in the fact he is getting any kind of support at all, is greedy and has his mother

resold back into slavery. This action shows his character quite well, as well as his

priorities in life.

Thirdly, "Even the clearest and most circumstantial evidence is likely to be at fault,

after all, and therefore ought to be received with great caution..." As the trial of the

murder of Judge Driscoll commences, Pudd'nhead Wilson prepares his case defending the

twins' innocence. The only clear, solid evidence of their guilt was being at the scene of

the crime after the killing had occured. Wilson did some investigating of his own, and

made an enormous discovery; Tom and Chambers were switched as babies! This startling

revelation completely turned Wilson's thought process around, and thus from here, begins

using the prints (as he calls "autographs") and pieces together his evidence.

Lastly, "April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the

other three hundred and sixty-four." In this last chapter of the book, Wilson makes literal

fools of nearly all in the court-room. He presents his lifetime passion, that which being

finger-prints, to the audience and gets a humorous response. However, as he is teaching

his knowledge, people are becoming astounded by this fact. He lines up the twins' prints

with the murderer's, and they do not match. The one's that do match are those of "Tom",

and the fool that he is, he faints. The town no longer views Wilson as a "pudd'nhead" from

this day on, and simply reveres him.

To conclude, Pudd'nhead Wilson's "Calendar" provides good insight to the

chapters in the story. One must look carefully at the aphorisms to understand them fully,

as David Wilson had to do when bringing a murder to justice.
21 February 2006 @ 08:08 am
The excerpts from Pudd'nhead Wilson's "Calendar" provide mostly direct commentary to the chapters the quotes prelude. They are placed there to mirror the tone of the chapter and/or hint at the events to come, such as with the last chapter about evidence. They mostly are just maxims, but earlier quotes from the beginning chapters reference Adam and Eve.
16 December 2005 @ 05:59 am
Why the South Chose to Secede from the Union

On December 1860, South Carolina became the first state to be seceded from the Union. Many factors come into play with what lead up to this decision: The Missouri Compromise Act, The Mexican War, Kansas-Newbraska Act, the Dred Scott case, the raid on Harper's ferry, Bleeding Kansas, politics, Southern expansion, and the heavily-debated topic of slavery which created anti-sentiment and distrust between the North and South over time.
The Mexican War of 1846 to 1848 was over border disputes and slavery issues between the United States and Mexico. Slavery was banned in Mexico years before, but the white settlers refused to give up their properties. Also, the United States recognized the border as the Rio Grande, while Mexico saw it to be the Nueces River. The United States declared war, feeling it was the right thing to do for expansion, and Mexico finally surrendered in 1848 into signing over a vast part of Mexico to the United States for a sum of money. This came to be known as Texas, which became a slave-state.
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement made between the pro- and anti-slavery sides involving the usage of slaves in the then unchartered western territories. States below Missouri line became the "slave" and states above were "free". This was repealed and replaced by the Kansas-Newbraska Act in 1954. The Kansas-Newbraska Act was made by Congress and was created to form and organize the remaining territories of the Louisiana Purchase. Legislators, such as Stephen Douglas, however favored the use of popular sovereignty (the idea of states voting whether or not they should become "slave" or "free" separate from the federal government), which only caused a conflict between the North and South, and "Bleeding Kansas". Bleeding Kansas was a sequence of violent guerrilla attacks between the abolitionists and pro-slavery fighters that occured between 1854 and 1856.
The case of Dred Scott involved a slave who sued for his freedom because slavery had been outlawed in the then Louisiana Purchase, but was turned into a slave-state. The case was a failure, due to the courts' reasoning of not depriving people of their "property", which is backed up by the Fifth Amendment.
The raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 by a radical abolitionist (person adamently against slavery) named John Brown involved black recruits to help disarm the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). Brown during the Border War in Kansas had murdered slave-owners at Pottawatomie in order to liberate slaves. They were captured and eventually killed, but the North held him as a martyr which outraged the South because they feared why the North would glorify such a person who did these deeds. This only added to the distrust between the two spheres.
Slavery was highly-contested between the North and South already, and both sides saw motives against them from the other. Slavery was a necessity in the South due to cotton production, where in the North it wasn't. This was the key issue behind all of the occurences I've listed. The South felt they had to expand and maintain that balance from the Senate to keep from being out-numbered by the "free" states.
To conclude, South Carolina had decided to secede in 1860 as a result from slavery issues and what ensued from them. Other states, such as Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas later followed to secede for their own stated reasons.
15 December 2005 @ 06:25 am
1. ) In summary, the book starts out in Kentucky in 1852 and tells the story of three slaves and their experiences while being enslaved before the Civil War times.

2. ) Her argument for the slavery was that it was only kept in line due to the punishment inflicted on slaves by their masters, and the fear that fueled the violence.

3.) I believe she portrayed both the harsh and benevolent slave-master as the same. Although slave-masters would house and look after their slaves and try to teach them their way of life which they deemed as right, it was no more better than abusing them because both treatments were for only the betterment of the slave-masters. Once they would instill this fear of being punished, the slaves would act usually more docile towards them.

4.) In comparing the North and South to the home as a "refuge", the Northern home was considered one of complete virtue and would not think the acceptance of slavery a useful enterprise. The Southern perspective never considered that they actually had "slaves", but rather unfortunate people that were passed on by birth into servitude and a necessity. Since the rest of the Southern families felt closer to God with their own interpretations, the Bible clearly states that the master is to be followed, as was seen with the slave-masters picking and choosing certain stories to apply to their slaves to bring about docility, as mentioned in the previous question. In short, the Northern home was tended by their virtue and the Southern home was tended by duty.

5.) The author used emotion to embellish the graphic nature of slavery. With the often reference to discipline, one can understand the stark reality of slavery. It was apparently successful and one can guess it served as a rallying point of an already intensely-debated issue. My emotions were pragmatic; I will only take the novel for its' value. Authors can, and will, be only stating their mere opinions and interpretations. However, I personally would not condone slavery of humans, nor would I support economic slavery.

6.) The author's attitude towards slaves was sympathetic, if not patronizing. I do not believe it was acceptable at that time, nor was it even deeply-held by Northern factory owners and politicians. Certainly if the book was to be changed, the word context would be affected, but knowing todays' political-correct terms, it would not turn out to hold the same meaning as it did when it was initially written.

7.) I do not believe reading the novel is a necessity, no more so than reading Mein Kampf, to describe a jaded view or racial superiority. Ms. Stowe's own roots may or may not have been served by slavery. This history should be put behind us, and should only serve as an example of human behavior and what we should not let happen. Uncle Tom's Cabin characterized gracious people in the South as the solely responsible; however, without slavery, the demands of the North and around the world would not been met. Thus, a hypocrisy has been formed. The father of this country, as well as many other founding-fathers, owned slaves.
08 October 2005 @ 07:37 am
"What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one whom your love will be most meaningful---what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus...is you?"

-- Excerpt from The Ragamuffin Gospel referencing Carl Jung, Brennan Manning
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