Nature v. Nurture in Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

Nature v. Nurture in Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

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Nature v. Nurture in Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins


What makes a person who they are is a difficult dilemma. Mark Twain's novel, "Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins" is a critical analysis of how nature and nurture can cultivate emotions and free will, which in turn affects the life of individuals. "Twain's faltering sense of direction began about slavery, moral decay, and deceptive realities (Kaplan 314). The debate of `nature versus nurture' has been one of the most intriguing scientific and cultural issues for most of the twentieth century, in determining the behavioral aspects of human beings. The changes in environment, society, education, political influences, family values and morals and other external influences, combined with physical genes determines how mankind will evolve into adulthood. Both nature and nurture, in combination with emotions and free will, control the behavior of human beings and determines who we are.

Anthropologists, who study humans and their origins, generally accept that the human species can be categorized into races based on physical and genetic makeup. For example, many slaves had physical differences from their counterpart white race, such as dark skin and wiry hair. Throughout history, the study of Sociology has had a significant impacted the `nature versus nurture' debate. Social Darwinism based its theory on genetic determinism and natural selection, advocating a capitalist economy, promoting racism and the inherent inequality of such as society. Karl Marx, also an advocate for capitalism and slavery, applied the Marxist philosophy to the practice of science, emphasizing environmental influences determined behavior. Max Weber is known his ...


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...lard Stern, Nahra, Nancy. American Lives. New York, NY: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 1997

Sandler, Martin W., Rozwenc, Edwin C., Martin, Edward C. The People Make A Nation. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, Inc. 1975.

Skinner, B.F. A Brief Survey of Operant Behavior. Cambridge, MA: B. F. Skinner Foundation. 1938

Skinner, Ellen A. Perceived Control, Motivation, & Coping. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 1995.

Twain, Mark. Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins. New York, NY: W. W. Norton and Company, 2005.

Wachs, Theodore D. The Nature of Nurture. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 1992.

Wilson, Jim. Criminal Genes. Popular Science. Pars International Corp. New York, NY. November 12, 2002. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1282176.html

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