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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.
a_mute_banshee on February 23rd, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
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(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2011 11:09 am (UTC)
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