Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have to admit when I first started reading McTeague it was a little on the dull side for me. I understand the certain appeal of reading a more realistic view of daily life for someone living on Polk street, but it didn't really appeal to me as a reader. That is to say, the story was a little too dry, and the romance with Trina didn't really help that much.

It wasn't until around page 143 that things started to get interesting, McTeague losing his ability to practice dentistry without having gone to school seemed to start a train of events that really got me into the book so much so that I could hardly put it down without finishing it. I was quite surprised that Trina was killed by McTeague though, I was expecting someone like Marcus to be involved with something like that. Seeing as though Marcus and McTeague never got along very well, McTeague married Trina, who Marcus liked at first... and Marcus notified the Government that McTeague was practicing dentistry without a license... it sort of makes sense that Marcus would want to throw another wrench into McTeague's life. Though, I suppose one could argue that Marcus would never want to hurt Trina as he loved her as well.

All in all, I thought the book was a reasonably good read after the first few chapters. It starts off a little slow but it gets very interesting about halfway through.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trend in Theme?

After reading Puddn'head wilson and Iola Leroy, I can't help but wonder if novels that dealt with the same issues, that being blacks being raised as whites only to discover they are actually black... was a popular one in those years.

I suppose one could argue that novels with slightly taboo subjects would be popular, but it could be a way to educate people. There was no TV, no internet in those times, so I am sure escape reading was very much the vogue in those days, especially with books being so widespread what with the printing press. Mass printing would have been an easy thing to accomplish.

Because of this, writing books that show that one learned how to live by being around the culture, regardless of race, people are just the same as the person next to you. I am sure women and many african americans read these novels, perhaps helping to give them inspiration to pursue equal rights in America in the end.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pudd'nhead Wilson

I have to admit I wasn't really all that interested in Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain. The first half of the novel was not very interesting for me to read, and the southern accent made it even more difficult to read smoothly.

The second half of the novel was much more interesting, but I think my favorite part was the trial and eventual conclusion of the novel. I thought the use of fingerprints at that period in history was very interesting, and I can only imagine Pudd'nhead trolling through all the fingerprint records of the town in order to find a match, that must have taken a week at least.

I also found it interesting how, at the very end, Pudd'nhead reveals Tom's true identity rather than Roxy who had been holding that trump card of hers for so many years only to never have the chance to use it.

The fates of Tom and Chambers is also interesting. Regardless of who they turned out to be in reality, they are still the people they were raised to be. I can only imagine how Tom adjusted to his new slave lifestyle after being sold and shipped down the river. And poor Chambers, having to have lived as a slave for so long only to discover he is actually white and has the opportunity to live a new, free life... but he dosen't even know how or dosen't seem to want to live amongst whites.