bup's Reviews > Pudd'nhead Wilson

Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain
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's review
Jun 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, novella
Read from June 22 to July 02, 2010

If you want Mark Twain's version of a sociopath, this is the book for you. Tom Driscoll may be Twain's most evil villain.

The other reason to read this is that what opens each chapter is a quote or two from "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar," which contain some of Twain's best-known and funniest bitter one-liners.

******************SPOILERS START HERE********************

OK, so everyone talks about how bitter Mr. Twain was in this book. But I think it's not bitter enough. Tom Driscoll should have gotten off. In real life, he would have, and nobody would have believed the switch-at-infancy happened, nor that the fingerprints on the knife proved anything. People don't let go of their beliefs that easily.

In real life, Charlie Chaplin lost a paternity suit when blood tests proved he was not the father of the child in question. Why? Because the science was new, and people wanted him to be found 'guilty' (in quotes because it was a civil trial, but in the public's mind a criminal one).

In real life, O.J. Simpson got off although Ron Goldman's blood (proven by DNA) was in O.J. Simpson's Ford Bronco. One of the jurists after the trial said that could have been anybody's blood.

In real life, Pudd'nhead's clients could have gotten off if the D.A. was a decent man who recognized he was prosecuting the wrong guys. But convicting Tom Driscoll? No way.

I must admit, though, that the twist at the end where Tom Driscoll was treated differently because he was property and not a person was a nice, bitter twist. Although in real life they would have just lynched him.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Tamikia (new)

Tamikia True but keep in mind there are several cases where fingerprints and blood have been a deciding factor of guilt in court that's just a couple of cases in comparsion to tons of others were people have been found guilty but however because of the time of this novel it wouldn't have been possible though since people didn't use prints back then.

message 2: by bup (new) - rated it 4 stars

bup I get that. I'm saying that when a scientific forensic method is new, juries reject it. They consider it mumbo-jumbo. Chaplin's jurors rejected sound blood-typing when it was new, and Simpson's jurors didn't understand DNA and rejected it, when it was still pretty new.

I don't believe a jury of bumpkins would accept this fingerprinting done by that guy they always knew was a nut anyway.

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