Friday, March 5, 2010

Only shades of black and white

First, let me say that I enjoyed Pudd'nhead Wilson. What I enjoyed most in how deliberate Twain is in his use of little details. Take the illustrations in the book, for example. At first, I thought them completely unshaded, leaving only a world of black and white. While an appropriate commentary for Twain, looking over the images again I realized many of them ARE shaded. That is to say, everything except the characters in the pictures are shaded. Only the characters remain only black and while throughout.

There are only two images where a character has notable shading on any part of them. In both cases, it is "Tom" depicted. The first is the image of Tom in women's clothing robbing his neighbors. Here is depicted in black gloves. This is the only black clothing any character in the entire book a character is illustrated wearing that I noticed. The second is shown immediately after "Tom" decides to rob the judge. The rain in the image covers him, darkening his image significantly. All other depictions of people beyond a handful of slaves are stark white. To me, this seems to signify how both those acts, he gave in to how he expected someone of his heritage would be forced to act. It interests me the subtle commentary hidden in a handful of simple images.

1 comment:

  1. You mentioned the shading of the pictures in class, Steve, and it does seem as though the pictures have meaning for the action.