Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
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First serialized in “The Century Magazine” between 1893 and 1894, Mark Twain’s “Pudd’nhead Wilson” is a murder mystery set before the American Civil War in Missouri, more specifically, on the Mississippi River. During infancy, a light-skinned black baby and a white-skinned baby were switched at birth by a slave mother. Because the black baby grows up thinking he is white, he is highly racist toward his slaves. The white baby, who thinks he is a slave, grows up with no guidance and makes a living stealing, drinking, and doing other immoral things. During a murder trial, the town lawyer Puddn’head Wilson, who is seen as a peculiar fellow by the townsfolk, is able to expose the boys’ true identities. “Puddn’head Wilson” is a story carried by themes of racism, Southern customs, and questions of identity. On the surface it is a witty and satirical tale but as one digs deeper a biting social commentary of racial inequality can be found.