The Tragedy of Arrogant in The Tragedy of Pudenda Wilson Mark Twain is a famous writer of the 19th century American literature. He is known by its complex stories; the same book contains more than one plot along it. Some of the characters he created are very elaborated; readers get their attention’s caught by characters in the novel due to their strong personalities and their ambiguity.
Besides being a writer, Twain was also a humorist, and that may have influenced him because he used to add several ironical aspects in his books. Concerning the topics he used to approach, his themes most of the time involved slavery and naggers since he was Ron and grew up in Missouri in 1835, one of the south state strongly characterized by slavery. . The Tragedy of Pudenda Wilson is an appropriate example of one of his books that embraces all these characteristics mentioned above.
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Pudenda Wilson takes place in Missouri, more specifically in Dawson Landing, between the sass and sass. The novel has six main characters, which is an interesting fact of the narrative; even though six main characters are generally too many for a novel, each of them is very relevant for the story to flow and has her/his peculiar resonantly, among them are Tom, Arrogant, Wilson, Judge Drill, Lugging and Angelo (the last two could be considered a single character since they always appear together).
These characters create a three-line plot in the novel, one around Tom’s life, another one around Willow’s life, and the last one starts when the foreigners Angelo and Lugging arrive in the small Dawson Landing city and it gives place to another plot around them. This paper aims at describing and discussing about one of the main characters of the book The Tragedy of Pudenda Wilson, Arrogant. She is considered the most complex, ambiguous and intriguing character. Moreover, she plays a major role in the plot’s construction and in the understanding of the novel.
This paper will focus on Aurora’s character as a tragedy. Although she is really clever and does everything in order to reach a better life, she ends up Just assuring her miserable life in each of her attempts to get out of the slavery destiny. Perhaps Mark Twain wanted to show how hard and tragic life was for slaves no matter how much they would fight for a better life. The implication is that they would get nowhere, as if slavery condemned African Americans even when they were no longer slaves.
Arrogant or Rosy is a pretty slave one sixteenth black, who could be considered a white person if it was not for society’s conventions in that slavery period. At the beginning of the narrative, someone steals money from her owner; she feels tempted to do the same, but decided not to for religious reasons (p. 16). Because of this happening, Percy Drill, the owner, threatens to “sell down the river” (p. 17) all the slaves of the house since no one have assumed his/her guilt.
At that point, Rosy fears Percy would do the same with her little son Chambers, and decides to switch Chambers to Tom. The former is thirty-one parts white and one part Niger, who even though looked like a white person was doomed to be a slave, as well as Rosy; and the latter is Percy Drill’s son, a rich child from an important family in the city. No one besides Tomb is one of the three plot lines brought up by the writer that moves the novel by the end. Rosy is an ambiguous character, as she swings from motherhood to selfishness.
When Rosy switches the babes, she thinks about her babe’s future; as a mother she does not want him to be sold down the river, which in the novel implies having even a harder destiny as a slave. In one hand, she shows her love and care for her child, and on the other hand, she is selfish, because she does not even consider the other kid and what would happen with the real Tom if they were switched; she Just follows her mother’s instincts in order to save her son’s life. Because of selfishness not only does she switch the babes, but also she tells Tom the truth about who are his real parents (p. 1) and blackmails him. Rosy pretends there is someone who knows the truth, Tom believes in it and they have a deal; he would give her a few dollars every month, so that she would not need to work anymore and would survive having a little none per month to buy food. Rosy has ambiguous feelings towards Tom, what she feels for her son Tom seems to be always going from hate to love and vice versa. This blackmail situation leads to the understanding that perhaps she does it because it is the only way she finds to get closer to her son.
She knew that though she had looked after him when he was a child, he would never accept her and would always exclude her from his life, since he has become a mean and evil person who would never be in contact with naggers/slaves. She knows pretty much how to survive; it is clear in the evolve that she could steal some food here and there, now and again. So, she blackmails Tom in order to be frequently in contact with him. Furthermore, it seems that she starts liking him more when he becomes a swindler, a thief, as if she is teaching him.
When Tom needs money to save his life, she proposes him to sell her as if she was not already free, take the money and pay his debts. Then, he is supposed to buy her freedom after he recovers the necessary amount of money to do it. But he does not worry about buying her freedom and she has to find a way to escape on her own from her new owner (p. 28); the owner’s wife was making her suffer and work as she never did before. It makes her really angry with Tom. She hated him when he sold her down the river and did not come back to pay her freedom again.
Additionally, there is a scene that Rosy exposes her thank to Judge Drill because he had took care of Tom so well; she does not assume that it was because of him that Tom was so spoiled, and became a person who had no feelings or respect toward others. Then, at the end, she actually knows that Tom is not mean because of his uncle, she even mentions that Judge Drill had treated him way utter than he deserved (p. 150). She is aware of what her son had become and also conscious that it is her fault; besides she never seems to be sorrowful because of that, she Just accepts it as a fact.
Arrogant surprises readers, she acts many time unexpectedly. At some points of the novel, it is expected her to think about Tom or other people, but on the contrary, she shows a cold and selfish personality. This type of behavior happens when she switches the babes, and she does not worry about the other child; she suggests Tom he can steal little things to save money and pay his debts; she blackmails her own on to get money; and she makes detailed plans in order to reach what she or Tom wants. Finally, her reaction at the moment Tom is unveiled in the trial is her last and admirable guess, but not disturbed by it.
To guess the exchange was one thing, to guess who did it quite another. Pudenda Wilson could do wonderful things, no doubt, but he couldn’t do impossible ones. Safe? She was perfectly safe. She smiled privately. ” (p. 166). Again readers are in doubt if Arrogant loves her son or not due to her attitude towards Tom’s misfortune. Cleverness is a crucial characteristic of Aurora’s character as it appears all novel long. As an example, the babes’ switch as an attempt to save her son. She is the first to notice that though the city calls Wilson a pudenda (p. 0), he is very intelligent and has an outstanding knowledge about many topics. Moreover, the several times she makes plans for Tom to follow it, such as volunteering her to be sold again as a slave even being already free. The way she knows Tom, and because of that she knows exactly how to blackmail him and how to lead him to fully believe her; how she used to say that there was someone who knew the whole truth and would tell his uncle Judge Drill) if something happened to ere or if he would not act the way she was ordering.
In these cases, she is both trying to help her son to pay his debts, and help herself to have a comfortable life (she was free of slavery since her owner Percy Drill had died, and she could not work in any place else because her body was already too tired of so much work due to the many years she served as a slave). Irony also plays an important role in Roux’s character. For instance, when Tom was coward refusing to go on a duel with one of the twins, she mentions “Thirty-one parts o’ you is white, en non one part Niger, en adapt’ little one part is you’ soul.
Taint with savings’; taint with toting’ out on a shovel en throwing’ en De gutter. You has disgraced you’ birth. What would you’ pa think o’ you? It’s enough to make him turn in his grave” (p. 104), she thinks he is a coward because of that one little Niger part he has in his blood, which is a underestimation of her own race, since she is a African American descendent and is always struggling for her life, showing strength. Moreover, quite ironic is her claim that: “”Dad now! Xi’s a-swine to make you walk as straight as a string, Chambers, ones Xi’s Bonn, you entwining to kit no bad example out o’ you’ mamma.
I toll you you couldn’t go into no bad company. Well, yoga’s swine into my company, en Xi’s swine to fill De bill. Now, den, trot along, trot along! “” (p. 1 17), which means that Rosy does not want Tom to do anything bad influenced by others, but she is aware she is a bad company. Thus, it seems that he can do bad things, but only under her orders and only things which are profitable for both of them. The hugest irony of the whole book is how the novel ends. Bearing in mind that everything Arrogant does is for the good of herself or for Tom. At the end of the narrative everything she struggles for turns back to her when Tom is unveiled by
Wilson, and the city discovers the real story that Tom is actually a Niger, and Chambers, the real heir of Drill’s family. As a result, Tom is sold down the river, which is what Arrogant so feared for at the beginning of the novel; the crucial point that gave birth to the whole plot and that changed people’s lives ends all as a vain attempt of having a better life. Considering Rosy tragedy, this paper brought some of her actions in the novel, and it related them to her complex personality. As if even her harmful actions bear a Justification in her love for her son and in the struggle for a better life.