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Providence in the novels of Samuel Clemens

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Providence in the novels of Samuel Clemens
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Cody, Robert Lee, 1944-
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English
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vii, 144 leaves : 28 cm.

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American literature ( jstor )
Literary criticism ( jstor )
Morality ( jstor )
Novels ( jstor )
Poverty ( jstor )
Providence ( jstor )
Rafts ( jstor )
Religion ( jstor )
Slavery ( jstor )
Writing ( jstor )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 130-143).
General Note:
Typescript.
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Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
Robert Lee Cody.

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University of Florida
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PROVIDENCE IN THE NOVELS OF SAMUEL CLEMENS








By

ROBERT LEE CODY




















A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLM4ENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY






UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1)~78






































Copyright
by Robert Lee Cody
1978







































To my mother and father, who instilled a desire for learning and gave me the opportunity to fulfill that desire, and to Diane, who helps me continue to learn and grow.
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS




I would like to thank Dr. Ruthellen Crews and Dr. Ward Hellstrom f or the helpful suggestions they have provided for this study. And I especially would like to thank Dr. Ben Pickard, whose perceptive criticism and constant faith were both necessary for the successful completion of this dissertation.











































iv

















TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv

ABSTRACT .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vi

CHAPTER I: DIE PROVIDENTIAL BACKGROUND . . . . . . . 1

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

CHAPTER II: THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER . . . . . . . 20

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

CHAPTER III: ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN . . . . . 37

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

CHAPTER IV: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT . . 62

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83

CHAPTER V: PUDDTHEAD WILSON . . . . . . . . . 86

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104

CHAPTER VI: THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER . . . . . . . 110

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

CHAPTER VII: CONCLUSION: A FAILURE TO ADAPT . . . . . 124

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . . . . . . 144














v









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



PROVIDENCE IN THE NOVELS OF SAMUEL CLEMENS By

Robert Lee Cody

March 1978

Chairman: John B. Pickard
Major Department: English

Although much emphasis has recently been placed on the negativism in Samuel Clemens's life and works, his early extended fiction is in fact quite optimistic. This optimism is based on and.is most apparent in his use of the concept of providence as a controlling principle in his early novels. Both thematically and structurally, the providential concept plays an important role in Clemens's early development as a novelist. The best example of this essential optimism is provided by The Prince and the Pauper; but the providential theme and structure is also evident in Clemens's two more famous works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Even as early as Huck Finn, however, there are indications that Clemens is beginning to doubt the continued value of literary applications of the providential concept. It is not surprising, therefore, that in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Clemens's next novel, the importance of this concept is significantly reduced; for Hank Morg'an, though he pays lip service to Christianity, actively seeks to supplant Providence as the controlling force in his world. And in Pudd'nhead Wilson, the doctrine of providence is further diminished as vi









Hank Morgan gives way to an even more deterministic and in some ways more chaotic world view.

Finally, there is the last stage of Clemens's literary career, best represented by the nihilistic note of The Mysterious Stranger. Here, the element of providence is not so much diminished as destroyed; the concept of providential control is finally lost as a thematic and structural device. Here, the central theme is that there is no contr ol of the universe. This message is reflected by the form; for Clemens left only fragments and instructions that his biographer and literary executor, Albert Bigelow Paine, might combine these fragments in whatever manner he thought best. Thus, there can be no definitive text mirroring the author's intentions in.The Mysterious Stranger. Or rather, the fragmentary nature of this work might be said to best reflect Clemens's final intentions.

There is a central movement apparent in Clemens's major fiction, therefore. It is the movement from the strict order of providential guidance and control in his early works to the chaotic secularism of his middle period to the orderless nihilism of the dream world Twain created in his late fiction.




















vii
















CHAPTER I
THE PROVIDENTIAL BACKGROUND



"As used in religion, Providence is understood in a theistic

sense to denote the care of God for His creatures, His general supervision over them, and the ordering of the whole course of things for their good." 1 The development of the providential concept, although closely connected to the rise of Christianity, actually pre-dates theChristian era. As a philosophical concept, it appeared at least 350 years before Christ's birth; Paul Tillich noted this when he wrote the following in A History of Christian Thought: "The fourth point in which the Platonic tradition was important was its idea of providence. This seems to us to be a Christian idea, but it was already formulated by Plato in his later writings. It was a tremendous attempt to overcome the anxiety of fate and death in the ancient world." 2 And as a religious concept, providence was a well-established part of the Judaic tradition into which Christ was born. 3 Thus, the providential concept cannot be originally ascribed to Christianity; nevertheless, it has been central to the thought and practice of Christianity from the initial founding of this religion. This is evident throughout the New Testament, which W. T. Davison considers "continuous with the OT, but its doctrine of Providence is more minute, more personal, more tender." 4 Further evidence for the centrality of this doctrine is provided by the early Churchmen who commented on or interpreted these Scriptures, or who




2


derived from them a distinct theology. For example, Origen, usually regarded as the first great theologian of the Christian Church, reduced his system to two essentials: free will and providence. 5 Augustine, like Origen, was interested in the question of providence. Unlike Origen, however, Augustine approached the idea of providence less as a speculative issue than as a practical concern. 6 For in Augustine's lifetime, the idea that struggle and suffering--de agone Christiano--was necessary became all too real. This is evident from his belief that the cruelties inflicted upon contemporary Romans by Germanic invaders "came from that Divine Providence who makes use of war to reform the corrupt lives of men. [The Roman citizens] ought to see that it is the way of Providence to test by such afflictions men of virtuous and exemplary life, and to call them, once tried, to a better world, orto keep them for a while on earth for the accomplishment of other purposes.' 7 In order to sustain the faithful in their often difficult quest of the City of God, therefore, it was necessary to show that God was not only in total control but also had a loving concern for His creation; Augustine emphasized this whenhe wrote:

Similarly, all things are governed according to their
proper nature and position, both living and non-living,
being subject to the laws of Divine Providence.
Therefore, the Lord says: "And are not the sparrows
sold for a farthing? And yet not one of them will
fall to the ground without your Father's leave.
So also are the birds of the air fed by Him and the lilies of the field clothed by Him. It is the voice
of Truth that speaks, declaring that even our hairs
are numbered. God exercises a direct Providence over holy, rational natures (whether the most exalted and
excellent of angels, or men who serve Him wholeheartedly) . . 8

Thomas Aquinas, while providing a more definitive foundation for
9
the concept of providence in Roman Catholic doctrine, was nevertheless
A






3


heavily indebted to Augustine for his understanding and explanation of that concept; this is especially evident in the connection he showed between providence and the concepts of foreordination and reprobation. 10 And by emphasizing this connection, Aquinas served as a link between Augustine and a central figure in the Protestant Reformation, John Calvin. Thus, despite the changes brought about by the Reformation, the providential concept maintained a central place in Protestant theodicies. This is illustrated by Institutes of the Christian Religion, in which Calvin devotes separate chapters to proving and explaining in traditional terms the idea of providence and to examining how this doc11
trine might benefit his followers.

If such a cataclysmic event as the Protestant Reformation could not disrupt the continuum of the providential concept, then the transportation of Christianity to the American colonies could not be expected to. The concept of Divine Providence has thus been a vital doctrine in American culture since at least 1620. As the framers of the Mayflower Compact stated, one of the principal reasons for the Pilgrims' migration to the New World was for "the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith." 12 An integral part of this faith was the belief that God was watching over and guiding them, as William Bradford indicated when he wrote of the Pilgrims' early troubles:

What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God
and His grace? May not and ought not the children of
these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but*they cried unto the
Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity," etc. "Let them therefore praise the Lord,
because He is good: and His mercies endure forever."
"Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord,
shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the deser.t.






4


wilderness out of the way, and found no city to
dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the
Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works
before the sons of men. -l

The Pilgrims thus felt that they were, as a modern incarnation of Moses

and the Israelites, the beneficiaries of a special providence which

preservedd both their lives and their healths." 14

This idea of special providences, as opposed to God's more general

concern for and control of all His creation, was not new, of course.15

Nor was it viewed, as the previous example might suggest, as a onesided concept of divine beneficence. The Puritan fathers included misfortune in the idea of special providences, and it could serve two purposes. Many times the misfortune was thought of as the traditional test

or trial of one's faith. More often, however, it was seen as a punishment for evil; and its value here consisted in the object lesson it provided. Increase Mather, in his Remarkable Providences Illustrative of

the Earlier Days of American Colonization,-presented vivid examples of

providential retribution. The following suitably illustrates God's

interposition in the life of the evildoer:

A thing not unlike to this hapned (though not in NewEngland) yet in America, about a year ago; for in September 1682, a man of the isle of Providence, belonging to a vessel, whereof one Wollery was master, being
charged with some deceit in a matter that had been
committed to him, in order to his own vindication, horribly wished "that the devil might put out his eyes if he had done as was suspected of him." That very
night a rhume fell into his eyes, so that within a
few dayes he became stark blind. His company being
astonished at the Divine hand which thus conspicuously
and signally appeared, put him ashore at Providence,
and left him there. A physician being desired to undertake his cure, hearing how he came to lose his sight,
refused to meddle with him. This account I lately received from credible persons, who knew and have often
seen the man whom the devil (according to his own wicked wish) made blind, through the dreadful and
righteous judgment of God.15






5


And the response of those who witnessed this incident shows that Mather's understanding of and attitude toward the workings of Providence was typical. His purpose was not to explain an unfamiliar concept. Rather, it was to provide sufficient illustrations of an accepted doctrine to encourage the practice of good lives; this is indicated by the design of this project: "In order to the promoving [sic] of a design of this nature, so as shall be intended for Gods glory and the good of posterity, it is necessary that utmost care be taken that all and only Remarkable. Providences be recorded and published.",17

As the New England colonies moved toward independence, changes 18
naturally took place in the contemporary religious scene. As V. L.

Parrington has pointed out, the early development of the New England colonies "would seem to have been determined by an interweaving of [Puritan] idealism and Yankee economics. 19But beginning in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and perhaps culminating in the figure

of Benjamin Franklin, there was a shifting emphasis; Parrington perceived this change as follows:

Following the Revolution of 1688 a new theory of the
political state was rising in England--the theory that the state originated in private property and
exists primarily for the protection of property;
and this conception, thrust upon New England, was
to cut sharply across the cleavages of the old order and create new ones. It substituted the
dominance of wealth for the stewardship of righteousness; the stake-in-society principle for the
Mosaic code. It set a premium upon acquisitiveness
and subordinated the Puritan to the Yankee.20

In general, then, the Covenant of Works, which, while not itself providing salvation, was a sign that the follower of God's laws was a parti21
cipant in the Covenant of Grace and thus saved, was replaced by a Protestant work ethic. Special providences and material successes were






6


equated, and they were thought to be the result of hard work. The New

England colonies, in essence, were moving from a theocratic to a secular

state.

These were the changes, of course, that Jonathan Edwards was attempting to combat in his ministry. In line with his interest in reinstituting more strictly Calvinistic principles, Edwards's view of

providence was distinctly traditional and definitely not materialistic.

In explaining the correspondence between spiritual and material worlds,

he replaced the emphasis on the former when he wrote:

It is a great argument with me that God, in the creation and the disposal of the world and the state and
course of things in it, had great respect to a showing
forth and resembling spiritual things, because God in
some instances seems to have gone quite beside the
ordinary laws of nature in order to it [sic];particularly that in serpents' charming birds and squirrels
and such animals. The material world, and all things pertaining to it, is by the creator wholly subordinated to the spiritual and moral world. To show this,
God, in some things in providence, has set aside the
ordinary course of things in the material world to
subserve to the purposes of the moral and spiritual,
as in miracles. And to show that all things in heaven
and earth, the whole universe, is wholly subservient,
the greater parts as well as the smaller, God has
once or twice interrupted the course of the greater
wheels of the machine, as when the sun stood still in Joshua's time. So, to shew how much he regards things
in the spiritual world, there are some things in the
ordinary course of things that fall out in a manner
quite diverse and alien from the ordinary laws of
nature in other 4 ngs, to hold forth and represent
spiritual things.

Edwards thus illustrated the traditional belief in a God who totally

sustains and controls the universe--by general laws, special providence,

or even occasional miracles. He tried, by the analogies he drew between 23
God's providence and such natural phenomena as rivers and trees, to

reawaken in eighteenth-century Americans the sense that they were still

dependent on Divine Providence, in spite of their personal achievements






7


and increasing prosperity. In this effort, of course, Edwards enjoyed only a qualified success. But he did provide a continuing alternative to the secular wisdom of Poor Richard's Almanac.

Nor was this alternative lost as the American people, with their newly won independence, prepared to open a new country and to face different though equally serious problems. This continuing belief iq the importance of providence is evident from the various sermons preached and tracts written on the subject in the nineteenth century. A typical example is provided by Gardiner Spring, who clearly stated his conviction that man is totally dependent on Divine Providence for his bodily needs:

The Providence of God mingles itself with all the affairs and circumstances of men. It extends itself alike to the drop of a bucket and to the ocean, to the dust of.the balance and to the whole material universe; to every individual of the human family,
and to the entire race.
Nature herself teaches us, that our insufficience is
absolute, while God's sufficiency is boundless. How many second causes, not one of which is under human control, must be preserved in perfect operation, to
secure daily subsistence to a single individual.24

And Spring later pointed out that man is equally dependent on God for the fulfillment of his spiritual needs:

My brother, if our heavenly Father is so willing to
supply our earthly necessities, He is not the less so
to satisfy our soul's desires. We need the Bread of
Life for our souls, as well as food for our bodies.
If we hunger and thirst after righteousness, He will
fill us.25

And in a confession of faith before a regular meeting of the New York and Brooklyn Association of ministers and churches, Henry Ward Beecher stated: "I hold and I teach that there is a general and a special providence of God which overrules human life by and through natural laws, but, also, I believe that there is an overruling and special providence of God in things pertaining to human life as well as to the life of the






8


world by a direct action of His own will; by such a use of laws in the

first place upon us, such a use as may not be known by us, but is perfectly known to God, by such a use of natural laws as is wisely adapted

to effect needed results." 26 Even better proof that the providential

concept remained a viable part of American religious thought in the

nineteenth century is provided by Horace Bushnell, a Congregational

minister and a founding member of the Monday Evening Club to which

Samuel Clemens belonged. In his Nature and the Supernatural, Bushnell

devoted a separate chapter to the explanation and proof of providential

control and care. And though the terms of his explanation and proof

might have differed from those of his predecessors, Bushnell would have

had the agreement of the Bradfords, the Mathers and even the Edwardses

when he concluded:

Wha t we find then as the result of our inquiry is,
that the government of the world shows the same hand
which appears in the character and work of Jesus. In the first place, we discover that nothing takes place
in the world that ought to take place, and even must
take place, if the government and supreme law of things
were confined to mere nature and her processes. Next,
we find that the issues of wars and discoveries, the
migrations, diplomacies, and great historic eras of
races and nations, the extinctions and revivals of learning, and the persecutions and corruptions, not less than the reformations of churches, are all so
modulated by the superintending government of the world, as to perpetuate the gospel of Christ, and, as far as we
can see, to insure its ultimate triumph. Then passing
into the interior history of souls, which, after all, is
the chief field of God's government in the earth, we
meet vast myriads of witnesses in all walksof life, and in all past ages, who profess to know God in the witness of their internal life and show, by tokens manifold and
clear, that they are raised above themselves, in all
that makes the character of their life. To sum up all in one brief expression, we have found a New Testament
in the government of the world. It penetrates all depths
of matter, heaves in the roll of the sea, administers back
of the thrones, tempers the courses of history, restraining remainders and excesses of wrath, overturning, conserving, restoring, healing, and reaffirming thus, in all






9


the grand affairs of human life, without and within,
just what Christ the Word declares, when ascending
to reign-7All power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth. What, in fact, do we see with our eyes, but that the scheme of the four gospels is the scheme of
universal government itself.27

The idea of providence, then, was a well-known part of the American religious culture in Clemens's day. And Clemens was introduced to this culture quite early and emphatically, as Ferguson DeLancey pointed out when he made the following comments: "Jane Clemens was an ardent Presbyterian; all her children had to go to Sunday school, and the older ones had to stay for the sermon. . The preaching was apt to be dull and certain to be long-winded; in the Presbyterian fold its emphasis was strongly upon the Calvinistic doctrines . . But the preaching and teaching bit deep; all of his life [Samuel] thought of theology and philosophy in terms of the Hannibal Presbyterian Church." 28 An indication of just how deeply the preaching and teaching on providence.affected Clemens is provided by the following remark he made near the end of his life in his autobiographical dictations: "My teaching and training allowed me to see deeper into these tragedies than an ignorant person could have done. I knew what they were used for. I tried to disguise it from myself but down in the troubled deeps of my heart I knew--and I knew I knew. They were inventions of Providence to beguile me to a better life. It sounds curiously innocent and conceited now, but to me there was nothing strange about it; it was quite in accordance with the judicious and thoughtful ways of Providence as I understood them." 29 Clemens's early religious experiences, then, introduced him to a God who was directly involved with the daily activities of His creation; to a God who not only exerted a general providence over all His creation but who also interposed in the lives of individuals through special






10


providence; to a God, finally, who rewarded and punished in this world as well as the next.

As Clemens grew older, his attitude toward religion underwent drastic changes. As early as 1860, he could write to his brother, Orion, "What a person wants with religion in these breadless times surpasses my understanding." 30 And though he did return to organized religion when he married Olivia Langdon, he could not maintain the religious pose long; Kenneth Andrews noted this in his Nook Farm: Mark Twain's Hartford Circle: "But the radiant mood of surrender to Olivials religion, to the luxurious softness of sentiment, to the way of life it represented and the satisfaction in it which may somehow be related to the exaltation of his courtship were to fade in the first year of his marriage. Amid the minor disasters that were partly responsible for his move to Hartford, Mark rebelled against family Bible readings and
31
confessed his skepticism." Nor would Clemens ever become less skeptical of institutionalized religion, which too often failed to meet his own humanitarian and ethical requirements. Even his participation in the Asylum Hill Congregational Church once he moved to Hartford was 32
primarily social rather than religious.

In the context of his changing attitude toward organized religion, it is quite natural that Clemens's views on providence would change. From the implicit faith of childhood which his autobiographical remarks illustrate, Clemens eventually began to question the validity of the providential concept; this is suggested in a letter he wrote to 'Nother" Mary Fairbanks which contains a humorous and mildly facetious discussion of Providence's part in Clemens's own life:









But don' t you know that the hand of Providence is in
it somewhere? You can depend upon it. I never yet
had what seemed at the time to be a particularly aggravating streak of bad luck but what it revealed itself to me later as a piece of royal good fortune.
Who am I, Mother, that I should take it upon myself
to de-termine what is good fortune &.what is evil?
For about a week, Providence headed me off at every
turn. The real object of it, & the real result, may not transpire till you & I are old, & these days forgotten--and therefore is it not premature, to call it
bad luck? We can't tell, yet. You ought to have
heard me rave & storm at a piece of "bad luck" which
befel me a year ago--& yet it was the very means of
introducing me to Livy!--& behold, now am I become a
philosopher who, when sober reflection comes, hesitateth
to rail at what seemdeth to feeble finite vision ill
luck, conscious that "the end is not yet.",33

The tone of this letter indicates the developing skepticism Clemens

had about the doctrine. Later, his doubt turned to outright rejection

of the traditional concept of God's guidance of and concern for "His

creation"; Clemens indicated this in the mid-1870's, when he wrote as

follows: "Special Providence: That phrase nauseates me--with its implied importance of mankind and triviality of God. In my opinion these

myriads of globes are merely the blood corpuscles ebbing and flowing

through the arteries of God and we the animalculae that infest them,

disease them, pollute them. And God does not know we are there and

would not care if He did."3 This, of course, would be the attitude

elicited when Clemens felt disgust and contempt for "the damned human

race."1 But he alternately felt a great sorrow for the lot of mankind;

in meditating upon Susy's death, he acknowledged this feeling:

There--that is something I have noticed before: He never does a kindness. When He seems to do one, it
is a trap which He is setting; you will walk into it
some day, then you will understand, and be ashamed
to remember how stupidly gratified you had been. No, He gives you riches merely as a trap; it is to quadruple the bitterness of the poverty which He has
planned for you. He gives you a healthy body and you
are tricked into thanking Him for it; some day, when






12


He has rotted it with disease and made it a hell of pains, you will know why He did it. He gives you a wife and children whom you adore, only that
through the spectacle of the wanton shames and
miseries which He will inflict upon them He may
tear the palpitating heart OuS50f your breast and
slap you in the face with it.

While his attitude toward providence thus seems to have varied considerably in his lifetime, Clemens did show a keen awareness of the traditional idea of providence; however much he ultimately disagreed with it,

Clemens was totally familiar with the Christian concept of God's direct

concern for the welfare of His creatures and His governance ofthe crea36
tion for His divine purposes.

In addition to his religious training in the concept of providence,

Clemens also seems to have been familiar with a number of writers who

relied on this doctrine in their works. 37 Henry Fielding, for example,

is a notable part of the providential tradition in literature; as Aubrey

Williams has pointed out, Fielding used his fictive world as a microcosmic reflection of the real world in which Providence quite obviously

operated:

I would argue that the design of Tom Jones, with all its quite remarkable course of chance encounters and
fortuitous mi-shaps, its long list of extraordinary
accidents and coincident and revelations, is finally
artfully contrived to make us see a fictive world that offers a close analogy to that "real" world
wherein, in Archbishop Tillotson's words, "There are many things, indeed, which to us seem chance and accident; but in respect to God, they are providence and
design; they may appear to happen by chance, or may
proceed from the ill-will and malicious intent of second causes, but they are designed wisely." In sum, we must recognize, I think, that Fielding has
structured Tom Jones, as well as his other novels, in such a way as to demonstrate the truth of Allworthy's declaration when he learns the secret of Tom's birth:
"Good Heavens! Well! The Lord disposeth all things."38






13


In effectively combining form with function, then, Fielding based the structure of Tom Jones and his other novels on the traditional concept of providence. Clemens was familiar at least with Tom Jones; and similarities which critics have noted between *these two authors suggest that Fielding's works might have exerted a greater influence on his development as a novelist than Clemens would ever have been willing to admit. 39

Clemens was perhaps even more familiar with the'writings of James Fenimore Cooper. And Cooper' s works provide abundant proof that the idea of providential guidance and control continued to be used significantly in nineteenth-century American fiction. For instance, Cooper's most important fictional creation, Natty Buxnppo, shows a notably complete and enduring acceptance of providential governance. Specific illustrations abound in the Leatherstocking Tales; a typical example is provided when Natty expresses some regret at not being able to relate the adventure of the first killing scene in The Deerslayer: "Hawkeye: That's not a bad name for a warrior, sounding much more manful and valiant than Deerslayer! 'Twouldn't be a bad title to begin with, and it was fairly 'arned. If 'twas Chingachgook, now, he would go home and boast of his deeds, and the chiefs would name him Hawkeye in a minute; but it don't become white blood to brag, and 'tisn' t easy to see how the matter can be known unless I do. Well, well-everything is in the hands of Providence; this affair as well as another; I'll trust to that for getting MY desarts in all things." 40In fact, Natty trusts to Providence for all things throughout his life. The extent to which this is true is indicated by the respectful, almost apologetic manner in which he discusses the one change he would wish to see in the providential design





14


as he approaches his death in The Prairie: "Ah's me! if I could choose a change in the orderings of Providence--which I cannot, and which it would be blasphemy to attempt, seeing that all things are governed by a wiser mind than belongs to mortal weakness--but if I could choose a change, it would be to say, that such as they who have lived long together in friendship and kindness . should be permitted to give up life at such times, as when the death of one leaves the other but little reason to live." 41Perhaps even more significant than Natty's personal dependence on the concept of providence is the fact that Cooper's narrative personae consistently offer a providential explanation of the world. An example is provided by the narrator of The Deerslayer when he says: "Little did Deerslayer know, while thus indulging in feelings that were so natural to man, and so in accordance with his own unsophisticated and just principles, that, in the course of the inscrutable Providence which so uniformly and yet so mysteriously covers all events with its mantle, the very fault he was disposed so severely to censure, was to be made 42
the means of determining his own earthly fate." Cooper, then, depends

on the concept of providence as an important thematic element in his .fiction.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose work Clemens was familiar enough with to classify him with Howells, Motley, and Holmes for his fine and pure English, provides examples of still another way in which the idea of providence might be applied to fictional uses. Hawthorne was primarily interested in "man's accidents," or the events which occur in the everyday world, in his fiction; but he was interested in these events because they provide the only insight man has into "God's purposes," as James K. Folsom indicated when he wrote about the importance of Providence for Hawthorne:






15


In 1843, on one of the windows of the Old House,
Sophia Hawthorne scratched with a diamond an apparently commonplace maxim: "Man's accidents are Cod's
purposes." This rather platitudinous axiom represents, in capsule form, a commonplace of nineteenthcentury metaphysical thought, here given expression
in some type of divine Providence, namely that God is
in His nature unknowable to man, although man's actions reflect, in some mysterious way, His purpose.
Sophia Hawthorne's short statement very aptly summarizes Hawthorne's own attitude toward the relation
between God and man, or, to expand the definition, between ultimate Reality and reality as it is knowable
in.its finite, experiential forms. Father Leonard
Fick has shown that "the keystone . of Hawthorne's
theology is an unshakable belief in an inscrutable.
Providence," which, although Hawthorne does not apparently equate it with God, is certainly God as He is manifested in this world. As B. Bernard Cohen
points out, "Hawthorne's God is Inscrutable. Man must
not attempt to fathom the mysteries of His actions,
but instead must trust to His kindness," and this
trust, for Hawthorne, takes the form of blind reliance on a Providence whose workings man is unable to comprehend. For purposes of the following discussion the inscrutability of this Providence is what must be
insisted upon, the idea that God's purposes are unknowable except insofar as they are visible through their
workings, man's accidents. 44

Hawthorne would occasionally tack onto his stories a moral which indicated that the portrayed events were representations of God's purposes

for the world; an example of this is the conclusion of "David Swan":

"Sleeping or waking, we hear not the airy footsteps of the strange things

that almost happen. Does it not argue a superintending Providence that,

while viewless and unexpected events thrust themselves continually

athwart our path, there should still be regularity enough in life to

render foresight even partially available."' 45 More often, however,

Providence is not mentioned. Rather, He stands as the invisible principle

behind the way Hawthorne's fiction works, providing a subtle structure

both for this world and for Hawthorne's fiction.






16


In addition to his thorough exposure to providence as a religious

concept, then, Clemens had a solid acquaintance with writers who relied

on the providential-tradition in literature. With this background in

mind, it seems quite reasonable to suggest that Samuel Clemens looked

to the thematic and structural devices of the providential novel when

he began writing extended fiction of his own. 46



Notes



1
W. T. Davison, "Providence,"' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. John Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955), X, 415. The term "providence" will be used in different ways in this dissertation. In an attempt to avoid confusion, therefore, I will capitalize the term (Providence) only when it is used as a synonym for "God." When used adjectivally or when referring to the concept, the term (providence) will be used without capitalization unless, of course, it begins a sentence or is part of a quotation.

2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 6.

3C. A. Beckwith, "Providence," The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson (New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1911), IX, 307.

"Providence," Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 416.
5
Jean Dani~Lou, Origen, trans. Walter Mitchell (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1955), p. 206.
6
Beckwith, p. 308.
7
The City of God: Books I-VII, trans. Demnetrius B. Zema and
Gerald G. Walsh, The Fathers of the Church (New York: Cima Publishing Company, Inc., 1950), VIII, 19.

81,The Christian Combat," Itrans. Robert F. Russell, The Fathers of the Church (New York: Cima Publishing Company, Inc., 1947), 11, 324-325.

9Davison, p. 417.

10 Beckwith, p. 308.

1Chapter XVI: God By His Power Nourishes and Maintains the World
Created by Him, and Rules Its Several Parts By His Providence," and "Chapter XVII: How We May Apply This Doctrine to Our Greatest Benefit": throughout these chapters, there is reference to the work of Augustine.






17


120f Plymouth Planation: 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), p. 76.
13 Ibid., pp.,62-63.

14 Ibid., p. 122.

15 Augustine provided an example of special providence when he
pointed out that many Romans were spared in the barbarian attacks by taking refuge "in places dedicated to Christ's Name--which by a merciful Providence were spacious enough to afford refuge to large numbers." Likewise, Calvin made a distinction between "general" and "special" providence in Chapter XVI of his Institutes.
16 Remarkable Providences Illustrative of the Earlier Days of American Colonization (London: Reeves and Turner, 1890), pp. 252-253.
17 Ibid., unnumbered preface.

18 The New England colonial situation is cited because of its influential position in the development of American culture. As V. L. Parrington stated in Main Currents in American Thought: An Interpretation of Literature from the Beginning to 1920 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1930), p. 3: "Common report has long made out Puritan New England to have been the native seat and germinal source of such ideals and institutions as have come to be regarded as traditionally American. Any critical study of the American mind, therefore, may conventionally seek its beginnings in the colonies clustered about Massachusetts."
19 Main Currents of American Thought, p. 3

20
Ibid., p. 125.
21
A full discussion of the relation between the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace is contained in Perry Miller's The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939), pp. 365-397.
22 Images or Shadows of Divine Things, ed. Perry Miller (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1948), p. 54.
23
Ibid., pp. 75-79.
24,, On Divine Providence. Psalm xxxiv. 10," One Hundred Sermons Selected from the Published Works of Fifty Eminent American Preachers by an English Clergyman (London: Thomas Baker, 1861), p. 228.
25 Ibid., pp. 231-232.

26 Lyman Abbott, D. D. and S. B. Halliday, Rev., Henry Ward Beecher, A Sketch of His Career, new ed. (Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company, 1887), p. 497.
27 Nature and the Supernatural as Together Constituting the One System of God (New York: Charles Scribner, 1858), pp. 444-445.






18


2Mark Twain: The Man and His Work (Indianapolis, Ind.: BobbsMerrill, 1943), p. 25.

29 The Autobiography of Mark Twain, ed. Charles Neider (New York: Washington Square Press, 1961), p. 45.
30
Mark Twain's Letters, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1917), 1, 45.

31(Archon Books, 1967), p. 69.

3Ibid., p. 70.

3 3Mark. Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, ed. Dixon Wecter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952), pp. 79-80.

34Mark Twain's Notebook, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935), p. 190.

3,,In My Bitterness," Fables of Man, ed. John S. Tuckey (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), p. 131.
36 This definition is simply a merging of the definitions of "providence" provided by Davison and Beckwith.

37used Fielding, Cooper, and Hawthorne because these three writers are influential figures in literary history; because they did make obvious and effective use of the providential concept, each in his own way; and because Clemens was quite familiar with at least some of the works of these three.

38,"Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's Novels," SAQ, LXX, ii (Spring 1971), pp. 281-282.

39In Mark Twain, Son of Missouri (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1934), p. 239, Minnie Brashear provided an early comparison of Clemens with Fielding when she wrote that "there are remarkable resemblances in the mental and emotional trends of the two men and in the themes they choose." More recently, Gilbert Rubenstein, in "The Moral Structure of Huckleberry Finn,".CE, XVIII, 75, comp-ared Clemens's world view to that of Dickens and Fielding, "those other novelists of the realistic tradition that he resembles most closely." Finally, in examining Clemens's use of the deus ex machina in the course of his article on "The Character of Jim and the Ending of Huckleberry Finn," MR, V, 59, 'Chadwick Hansen pointed to Fielding's use of the same device "to rescue Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews."
40 TeWorks of James Fenimore Cooper (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912), I, 121.






19

4lThe Works of James Fenimore Cooper, V, 295. In Cooper's Americans (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1965), p. 285, Kay Seymour House affirmed Natty's normally unquestioning reliance on Providence when she wrote: "Rebellion, perversity, willfulness, all such attempts to destroy predetermined order are to Natty irreligious. Furthermore, to struggle against such an order is futile, and Natty consistently (like the seamen) finds his freedom within the governance of Providence and his own self-control."
42 The Works of James Fenimore Cooper, 1, 495.

43Clemens's opinion is contained in Mark Twain's Notebook, p. 157: "Nobody writes a finer and purer English than Motley, Howells, Hawthorne and Holmes."
44
Man's Accidents and God's Purposes: Multiplicity in Hawthorne's Fiction (New Haven: College and University Press, 1973), p. 13.

45Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1882), p. 218.
461n this dissertation, I will deal with the principal novels of .Samuel Clemens. This category includes The Prince and the Pauper, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and The Mysterious Stranger; I will devote a separate chapter to each of these works. The-other major piece of extended fiction, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is more briefly discussed since this work serves a prefatory function in Clemens's use of the providential tradition. Other works will be dealt with as they support the discussion of these major works.
















CHAPTER II
THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER



Clemens's background in the concept of providence is evident even

in his early writings. In Innocents Abroad, for instance, there is the

narrator's obvious familiarity with the concept when he says, "There

were those among the unregenerated who attributed the unceasing head

winds to our distressing choir music. There were those who said openly

that it was taking chances enough to have such ghastly music going on,

even when it was at its best; and that to exaggerate the crime by letting

George help, was simply flying in the face of Providence." 1 And in

Roughing It, an incident that Jim Blaine relates during the rambling

narrative about his grandfather's old ram is based on his absolute faith

in and equally absolute misunderstanding of the idea of providence:

Don't tell me it was an accident that he was biled.
There ain't no such thing as an accident. When my
Uncle Lem was leaning up agin a scaffolding once, sick,
or drunk, or suthin, an Irishman with a hod full of
bricks fell on him out of the third story and broke the
old man's back in two places. People said it was an
accident. Much accident there was about that. He didn't know what he was there for, but he was there
for a good object. If he hadn't been there the Irishman would have been killed. Nobody can ever make me
believe anything different from that. Uncle Lem's
dog was there. Why didn't the Irishman fall on the
dog? Becuz the dog would a seen him a coming and
stood from under. That's the reason the doo wasn't
appointed. A dog can't be depended on to carry out
a special providence. Mark my words, 2 it was a put-up
thing. Accidents don't happen, boys.

But.in general these early uses of the providential concept are infrequent and contribute only in minor ways to the development of the works

in which they appear. 20






21


But the situation is quite different in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Clemens's initial collaborated attempt at the novel form. In Tom Sawyer., Clemens quite obviously relies on providence as a serious literary device. The characters in the novel, for example, firmly believe that God is in control of their world. They pray to Him when in trouble, as when Tom and Becky were lost in McDougal's cave: "The lost children had not been found. Public prayers had been offered up for them, and many and many a private prayer that had the petitioner's whole heart in it." 3 They show Him gratitude for favors received, as when the community shows its collective thankfulness for the safe return of Tom, Huck, and Joe Harper by singing, appropriately, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," or when Aunt Polly expresses her personal gratefulness for the return of her wandering "pirate" as follows: "Here's a big Milum apple I've been saving for you, Tom, if you was ever found again--now go 'long to school. I'm thankful to the good God and Father of us all I've got you back" (p. 175). Throughout, they acknowledge His total power over His creation, as when Aunt Polly says, "The Lord giveth and the Lord hath taken away--Blessed be the name of the Lord!" (p. 146). In fact, their devotedness to the providential concept is so complete that they see the hand of Cod everywhere, even in a summer's electrical storm:

And that night there came on a terrible storm, with
driving rain, awful claps of thunder and blinding
sheets of lightning. Tom covered his head with the
bedclothes and waited in a horror of suspense for his
doom; for he had not the shadow of a doubt that all
of this hubbub was about him. He believed that he
had taxed the forbearance of the powers above to the
extremity of endurance and that this was the result.
It might have seemed to him a waste of pomp and ammunition to kill a bug with a battery of artillery,
but there seemed nothing incongruous about the getting
up of such an expensive thunderstorm as this to knock the turf from under an insect like himself
(p. 206)




22


Nor is this simply the fearful response of a misguided or misinformed youth, for any event at all out of the ordinary is invariably interpreted in the same way in this community: "It was a judgment; His hand is here" (p. 70).

In addition to this thematic use of providence, the concept also has an effect on the structure of thenovel; Clemens used several devices from the providential tradition in literature. For example, in an analogue of providential justice, rewards and punishments are distributed during the concluding action of Tom Sawyer. Injun Joe, the only truly malicious character in the novel, suf fers an appropriately horrible death: "When the cave door was unlocked, a sorrowful sight presented itself in the dim twilight of the place. Injun Joe lay stretched upon the ground, dead, with his face close to the door, as if his longing eye had been fixed, to the latest moment, upon the light and the cheer of the free world outside" (p. 294) And Injun Joe's partner in crime is also punished, though his death scene is neither vividly described nor given the aura of horror Injun Joe's was: "At home Tom learned of the Cardiff Hill event; also that the 'ragged man's' body had eventually been found in the river near the ferry-landing;he had been drowned while trying to escape, perhaps" (p. 292). Conversely, the characters with the best hearts, Huck and Tom, are rewarded at the conclusion of the novel for the goodness they had displayed; this reward comes in the form of the traditional treasure-box, filled in this case with over $12,000 worth of gold coins.

Even before the end, though, there are a number of apparent accidents which, by their fortunate effects, suggest the influence of Divine Providence. For instance, Injun Joe would have discovered Huck and Tom






23


in the haunted house but for the fortuitous collapse of the stairs he

was using:

"Who could have brought those tools here? Do you
reckon they can be up-stairs?"
The boys' breath forsook them. Injun Joe put his
hand on his knife, halted a moment, undecided, then turned toward the stairway. The boys thought of the closet, but their strength was gone. The steps came
creaking up the stairs--the intolerable distress of
the situation woke the stricken resolution of the lads-they were about to spring for the closet, when there
was a crash of rotten timbers and Injun Joe landed on the ground amid the debris of the ruined stairway. He gathered himself up cursing, and his comrade said:
"Now what's the use of all that? If it's anybody,
and they're up there, let them stay there--who cares?"
(pp. 238-239).

And when, soon after, Huck nearly runs into Injun Joe's arms, he is

saved from this fearful danger just in the nick of time by a "fortunate"

and well-timed cough. 5 Finally, Tom's escape from McDougal's cave "five

miles down the river below the valley the cave is in" depended on just

such a miraculous concurrence of events typical of the providential

tradition:

Tom . closed with a description of how he left
Becky and went on an exploring expedition; how he
had followed two avenues as far as his kite-line
would reach; how he followed a third to the fullest
stretch of the kite-line, and was about to turn back
when he glimpsed a far-off speck that looked like daylight; dropped the line and groped toward it, pushed his head and shoulders through a small hole, and saw the broad Mississippi rolling by! And if it had only
happened to be night he would not have seen that
speck of daylight and would not have explored that
passage anymore! (pp. 290-291).

Even Tom realizes the providential nature of his and Becky's escape,

then. And it seems likely that Clemens did, too, since he used providential techniques so readily in Tom Sawyer..






24


Yet all of his earlier works utilizing the idea of providential care and concern seem to serve only as a preparation for The Prince and

the Pauper, which marks Clemens's fullest use of the providential concept as a structural and thematic element. Clemens had long since abandoned the formal observ ance of his religion when, on November 23, 1877, he made the following entry in a notebook: "Edward VI and a little pauper exchange places by accident a day or.so before Henry VIII's death. The Prince wanders in rags and hardships and the pauper suffers (to him) horrible miseries of princedom, up to the moment of crowning in Westminster Abbey, when proof is brought and the mistake rectified." 6 As Howard Baetzhold has shown, Clemens owed much to Charlotte M. Yonge's The Little Duke (1854) for the idea expressed in this notation. 7But Albert Stone has indicated that Clemens owed an even larger debt to Yonge; according to Stone, it was from Yonge that Clemens took the re8
ligious atmosphere that pervades The Prince and the Pauper. It is

this religious atmosphere that, in spite of the fact that The Prince and the Pauper can be read on the level of children's literature, supports
9
the moral seriousness of this novel. And without this religious aura, it is unlikely that the concept of providence could function as effectively as it does in the novel.

The earliest indication that Clemens did in fact use the traditional concept of providence in The Prince and the Pauper is contained in the supposed historical document which precedes the story proper. In this letter, the Bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer, suggests that the birth of the Prince of Wales is but another example of the special providence England enjoys when he writes the following: "Code gyffe us alle grace, to yelde dew thankes to our Lorde Gode, Gode of Inglonde,






25


or rather an Inglyssh Code, yf we consydyr and pondyr welle alle Hys proceedynges with us from tyme to tyme." 10From the very first, then, Clemens was establishing a basis for the providential interpretation of his fictive world.

It can thus be expected that providence will be displayed in a number of ways in this novel.- An obvious indication of this concept's importance is the various characters' firm belief in God' s control of the world. Examples of this abound: Tom Canty feels that his ultimate dream of seeing a real prince will be fulfilled "if Heaven were willing" (p. 27); the Lord Hertford explains to King Henry VIII, in reporting upon the "madness" of the supposed prince, Tom Canty, that "it is the will of God that the Prince's affliction abideth still" (p. 70). Miles Hendon therefore expresses a generally accepted contemporary attitude when he says to Edward, "Peace! and forebear to worsen our chances with dangerous speech. What God wills, will happen; thou canst not hurry it, thou canst not alter it; therefore wait, and be patient--'twill be time enow to rail or rejoice when what is to happen has happened" (p. 218).

God's control is only one side of the providential coin, however.

The inhabitants of Clemens's fictive world also acknowledge God's concern for the care of His creatures. This is obvious from their appeals to Him when they are troubled and from their thanksgiving to Him for favorable occurrences. Illustrations of this appear throughout the text. An example of their faith in the efficacy of prayer is presented by the Lord St. John when he brings the following message to the supposed prince from Henry VIII: "Thus saith the king's majesty, who sendeth greeting to your royal highness and prayeth that God will of His mercy quickly 11
heal you and have you now and ever in His holy keeping" (p. 53).






26


Nor do Clemens's characters forget their God when they receive benefits; young Tom Canty's spontaneous response upon awakening from what he thought to be a bad dream is, "Now God be thanked, I am indeed awake at last! Come, joy! vanish sorr ows!" (p. 118). 12

Such petitions and gratitude indicate the characters' daily dependence upon a Providence who acts as the benevolent ordering principle of their universe. This does not mean that there was no misfortune in Clemens's sixteenth-century world. For one thing, a complete concept of providence admits the necessity of justice. The narrator illustrates the idea that reward and punishment, in this world as well as the next, are viable parts of the providential system when he says of Tom Canty's new activities:

Tom put on the greaves, the gauntlets, the plumed helmet, and such other pieces as he could don without assistance, and for a while was minded to call for help and complete the matter, but bethought him of the nuts he had brought
away from dinner and the joy it would be to eat them
with no crowd to eye him, and no Grand Hereditaries
to pester him with undesired services; so he restored
the pretty things to their several places, and soon
was cracking nuts, and feeling almost naturally happy
for the first time since God for his sins had made him
a prince (p. 67).13

And even if the victim is guiltless, misfortune does not negate the presence of God. For man cannot always see the ultimate ends of God's design or understand His mysterious ways. Immediate misfortune may ultimately serve a good purpose; for example, Edward's humiliating experiences upon aimlessly wandering into Christ's Hospital show him the drastic need for reform: "And now and then his mind reverted to his treatment by those rude Christ's Hospital boys, and he said, 'When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books; for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved, and the






27


heart. I will keep this diligently in my remembrance, that this day's lesson be not lost upon me, and my people suffer thereby; for learning
14
softeneth the heart and breedeth gentleness and charity"' (pp. 39-40).

The characters' belief in a God who wisely and justly governs His world and shows benevolent concern for its creatures is only part of the providential element in The Prince and the Pauper, though. For the structure of the novel is essentially a reflection of this belief; the unfolding of the plot depends on just as remarkable a series of "chance encounters and fortuitous mishaps," and a similar list of "extraordinary accidents and coincident and revelations" as Williams noted in Fielding's novels. The story begins, in fact, by laying the foundation for the most important coincidence: "In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him" (p. 17). This coincidence becomes apparent several pages and "a number of years" later, when it is discovered that the two boys share more than just a birthday; as one of the boys, Edward, Prince of Wales, points out during the chance encounter with Tom Canty, they also have "the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and countenance" (p. 34). The extremely unlikely conjunction of these two look-alikes further provides an opportunity for the first in a string of apparent accidents, as the Prince of Wales, dressed in Tom Canty's clothing, is mistaken for the pauper and evicted fromhis palatial home. Perhaps the Lord Hertford offers the best statement of the improbability of these events when lie reflects as follows on the matter: "Tush, he [Tom] must be the






28


prince! Will any he in all the land maintain there can be two, not of one blood and birth, so marvelously twinned? And even were it so, Itwere yet a stranger miracle that chance should cast the one into the other's place" (p. 62'). But in traditional*Christian terms, nothing happens by chance; the coincidence, chance meeting, and accident which led to the good Lord Hertford's speculations would all be considered a part of the providential plan. As James Fortuna has written: "Thus, a belief in Providence precludes the 'coincidental' or 'accidental' (though not such events as 'seem' to be coincidence or accident), for such things have no valid 'meaning' for reasonable creatures, and imply simply a lack of understanding of the particular workings of Providence. In the T real' world, whether it be a shipwreck or the fall of a prince,

15
it was Providence and not fortune at work." Sufficient proof that the hand of God is indeed behind this role reversal is provided as the plot unfolds and it becomes increasingly clear that a wise purpose is served by having Edward cast into the role of a pauper. For the young prince, by being thrown into the life of a poor English subject, learns the quality of mercy which would distinguish his rule later; this is illustrated when he says to an old and unjustly persecuted lawyer whom he encounters in jail: "None believe in me--neither wilt thou. But no matter--within the compass of a month thou shalt be free; and more, the laws which have dishonored thee, and shamed the English name, shall be swept from the s statute books. The world is made wrong--kings should go to school to their own laws at times, and so learn mercy" (p. 253).

Before he could learn this lesson, however, Edward underwent a series of adventures which introduced him to the half-spectrum of unfamiliar English life and which further confirmed that God was guiding




29


and protecting His future secu lar representative. In other words, Clemens sets up a pattern of near disasters and timely rescues in the course of Edward's wanderings which suggests that providential element which is so important to the meaning and structure of the novel.

The first example of this providential intervention occurs when

Edward is threatened by a mob for "proclaiming his rights and his wrongs, denouncing the imposter [Tom Canty], and clamoring for admission at the gates of Guildhall!" (p. 91). Here Miles Hendon makes his first appearance. Miles's attempted defense of the little prince only incites the wrath of the mocking crowd, however. In fact, Miles as well as the prince seems in real danger when "suddenly a trumpet-blast sounded, a voice shouted, 'Way for the King's messenger!' and a troop of horsemen came charging down upon the mob, who fled out of harm's reach as fast as their legs could carry them. The bold stranger caught up the prince in his arms, and was soon far away from danger and the multitude" (p. 93). Miles, then, aided ironically by the messenger bringing word of Henry VIII's death, is the means of Edward's deliverance from his first real threat.

But Edward is quickly lured from Miles's protection by John Canty, who thinks that the new king is his son. The little king escapes Canty's band of rogues only to become a prisoner of a thoroughly insane hermit who poses the next imminent danger to Edward's safety. Again Providence intervenes, as only Miles's timely and inexplicable appearance

at the secluded forest cabin prevents the hermit frommurdering Edward:

The dawn was coming now; the hermit observed it,
and spoke up sharply, with a touch of nervous apprehension in his voice:
"I may not indulge this ecstasy longer! The night
is already gone. It seems but a moment--only a moment;
would it had endured a year! Seed of the Church's
spoiler, close thy perishing eyes, an' thou nearest to
look upon.




30


The rest was lost in inarticulate mutterings. The
old man sunk upon his 1-nees, his knife in his hand,
and bent himself over the moaning boy-Hark! There was a sound of voices near the cabin-the knife dropped from the hermit's hand; he cast a
sheepskin over the boy and started up, trembling.
The sounds increased, and presently became rough and
angry; then came blows, and cries for help; then a
clatter of swift footsteps retreating. Immediately
came a succession of thundering knocks upon the cabin
door, followed by:
"Hull-o-o! Open! And despatch, in the name of all
the devils!"
Oh, this was the blessedest sound that ever made
music in the king's ears; for it was Miles Hendon's
voice! (pp. 200-201).

Of course, Edward only obtains temporary relief. Hendon, not

realizing that the king is in the bedroom, leaves with the hermit and

thus allows the king to be recaptured by John Canty, a fate scarcely

better than that the hermit had planned for him. But this provides yet

another opportunity for Edward to be rescued. His third dilemma is precipitated by the bitter resentment that the elder Canty's accomplice,

Hugo, feels for Edward; thus, Hugo "frames" the young king by making it

appear that Edward has stolen a pig, a crime punishable by death at that

time. For his supposed crime, Edward is threatened by a mob. And again

Miles providentially appears at just the right time:

The crowd closed around, threatening the king and calling him names; a brawny blacksmith in leather apron,
and sleeves rolled to his elbows, made a reach for him,
saying that he would trounce him well, for a lesson;
but just then a sword flashed through the air and
fell with convincing force upon the man's arm, flatside down, the fantastic owner of it remarking pleasantly at the same time:
"Marry, good souls, let us proceed gently, not with
ill blood and uncharitable words." (p. 213).

Each time, then, that Edward faces a serious danger and seems

finally beyond the pale of aid, he is miraculously rescued. Each of

these three rescues follo ws the traditional pattern of providential






31


intervention; Williams pointed out this formula when he explained that lithe Rev. Isaac Barrow, in an enumeration of the 'distinctive marks or characteristics' by which we 'may perceive God's Hand,' instructs us thus: 'Another character of special Providence is, the Seasonableness and Suddenness of Events. When that which in it self is not ordinary, nor could well be expected, doth fall out happily, in the nick of an exigency, for the relief of innocence, the encouragement of goodness, the support of a good cause, the furtherance of any good purpose. When such an event occurs, he continues, it 'is a shrewd indication, that God's hand is then concerned."' 16 Therefore, Miles Hendon's otherwise inexplicable appearances at just the right moment are justified, and the subplot for which Miles serves as the principal character is provided with a raison d"'etre; Miles is the obvious instrument of a special providence, functioning as a guide and protector to Edward in the young king's wanderingsthrough his kingdom.

In summary, then, it is Edward's seemingly haphazard wanderings

which form the substance of what Franklin Rogers refers to as the little king's "moral pilgrimagee" 17 Through this literal and figurative journey, Edward is able to understand the conditions in which the common people of his realm live. This would not have been possible if the fortunate accident which thrust the Prince of Wales into a pauper's role had not occurred. The hand of God is thus suggested in this initial reversal of roles; and it continues to be shown in the assiduous and often extraordinary means taken to preserve Edward, principally through the instrumentality.of Miles Hendon, during the educative process he undergoes.

Before Edward can resume his proper place, however, there is the traditional recognition scene, so familiar in the providential novel.




32


As with the rescues, the revelation of true identities occurs only at

the last possible moment:

At last the final act was at hand. The Archbishop
of Canterbury lifted up the crown of England from
its cushion and held it out over the trembling mock king's head. In the same instant a rainbow-radiance
flashed along the spacious transept; for with one impulse every individual in the great concourse of nobles lifted a coronet and poised it over his or
her hand,--and paused in that attitude.
A deep hush pervaded the Abbey. At this impressive moment, a startling apparition intruded upon
the scene--an apparition observed by none in the absorbed multitude, until it suddenly appeared, moving
up the great central aisle. It was a boy, bare-headed,
ill shod, and clothed in coarse plebeian garments that
were falling to rags. He raised his hand with a solemnity which ill comported with his soiled and sorry aspect, and delivered this note of warning:
"I forbid you to set the crown of England upon
that forfeited head. I am the king of England!"
(pp. 281-282).

There follows, of course, the typical sequence of tests and explanations.

Finally and inevitably, though, Edward is recognized as the true heir

and crowned the King of England. And the concluding words of the novel

indisputably prove that Edward's adventures as a pauper did indeed

benefit the whole of the nation: "The reign of Edward VI was a singularly merciful one for those harsh times. Now tha t we are taking leave

of him let us try to keep this in our minds" (p. 308).

The final chapter presents abundant examples to show that the

newly crowned monarch was indeed merciful; yet the narrator also indicates that this quality was balanced by an appropriate measure of justice

where necessary. An example of this balance is given when the narrator

explains that Edward "took that old lawyer out of prison and remitted

his fine [in fulfillment of his earlier promise]. He provided good

homes for the daughters of the two Baptist women whom he saw burned

at the stake, and soundly punished the official who laid the undeserved






33


stripes on Miles Hendon's back" (p. 306). 18 Though this concluding chapter was meant to illustrate Edward's enlightened reign, it is more than a mere showcase of his wise rule. The title, "Justice and Retribution," does anticipate Edward's actions in the chapter. But it also suggests the idea of providential reward and punishment. This is seen in those dispensations which serve as macrocosmic analogues of Edward's actions but which are beyond the power of any earthly ruler to grant. For example, Edward could overthrow Hugh Hendon's title to the family estate; but only God could dissolve that union between Hugh and the Lady Margaret which stood in the way of Miles Hendon's complete happiness: "Hugh deserted his wife and went over to the continent, where he presently died; and by and by the Earl of Kent married his relict. There were grand times and rejoicings at Hendon village when the couple paid their first visit to the Hall" (p. 305). And immediately after this, the narrator points out that "Tom Canty's father was never heard of again" (p. 306); this juxtaposition suggests that the happiness of the new King's Ward and his mother and sisters is completed by an equally providential event, the mysterious and permanent disappearance of John Canty. The concluding chapter of the novel therefore shows poetic justice at work, with God rewarding the good and punishing the wicked in a fictive representation of that eternal justice and retribution which will conclude the creation.

A final indication of the essential part the concept of providence plays in The Prince and the Pauper is the narrator's role. In this novel, the narrator is totally aware of all that the characters think and feel as well as what they do; he is able to transcend the limits of time and space in describing the unfolding of the plot; he imposes




34


himself within the action of the novel as an interested commentator in addition to functioning as an observer. In all this, he reminds the reader of the omniscient narrator of Tom Jones; they both control their fictive worlds in a manner analogous to that dominion God exerts over His creation. What Martin Battestin wrote about Tom Jones thus also seems to apply to The Prince and the Pauper: "What Thackeray and Booth regard as a useful analogy for describing the effect of the narrative in Tom Jones is with Fielding himself a deliberate metaphor; the authornarrator of Tom Jones stands in relation to the world of his novel as the divine Author and His Providence to the 'Book of Creation."' 19 In the context of the author-narrator's total control in The Prince and the Pauper, therefore, he can be said to mirror Providence's "supervision and superintendence of His Cr nation." 20

In The Prince and the Pauper, then, Samuel Clemens used the concept of providence in developing both the thematic content and the structure of his novel. Never before had he depended on providence so fully, nor would he ever again produce such a thoroughly providential novel. Still, providence would continue to exert a significant influence on his writing even as he began to question the premises on which the providential novel was built; this is illustrated in his next major work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.



Notes


1
(New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1911), 1, 75.
2 (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913), VIII, 125-126.





35

3 (New York: Harper & Brotliers Publishers, 1903), XII, 289. Subsequent references to this work will be cited in the text. That prayer is not reserved for emergencies is humorously illustrated when "The Terror of the Seas" and the "Black Avenger" pray before going to sleep: "They said their prayers inwardly, since there was nobody there with authority to make them kneel and recite aloud; in truth, they had a mind not to say them at all, but they were afraid to proceed to such lengths as that, lest they call down a sudden and special thunderbolt
from heaven" (p. 133).
4
A similar fear of providential justice is displayed during a Sunday morning church service, when Tom refrains from catching a fly during the prayer out of fear of God's punishment: "[Flor as surely as Tom's hands itched to grab it they did notdare--he believed his soul would be instantly destroyed if he did such a thing while the prayer was going on" (p. 51). And Tom and Huck are quite surprised when Injun Joe is not immediately struck down upon lying about Dr. Robinson's murder: "Then Huckleberry and Tom stood dumb and staring, and heard the stony-hearted liar reel off his serene statement, they expecting every moment that the clear sky would deliver God's lightnings upon his head, and wondering to see how long the stroke was delayed" (pp. 111-112).
5 "Injun Joe and his partner plunged into the narrow path between
the tall sumach bushes, and were at once hidden in the gloom. Huck closed up and shortened his distance, now, for they would never be able to see him. He trotted along awhile; then slackened his pace, fearing he was gaining too fast; moved on a piece, then stopped altogether; listened; no sound; none, save that he seemed to hear the beating of his own heart. The hooting of an-owl came over the hill--ominous sound! But no footsteps. Heavens, was everything lost! He was about to spring with winged feet, when a man cleared his throat not four feet from him! Huck's heart shot into his throat, but he swallowed it again; and then he stood there shaking as if a dozen agues had taken charge of him at once, and so weak that he thought he must surely fall to the ground" (pp. 257-258).
6 Mark Twain's Notebook (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1935).

p. 129.
7 Mark Twain and John Bull (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,

1970), p. 48.
8 The Innocent Eye: Childhood in Mark Twain's Imagination (New

Haven: Yale University Press, 1961). p. 114.
9
Critics other than Stone have noted this element of the novel. In Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1960), p. 125, for example, Franklin Rogers pointed out that Edward's journey was an education in moral truth: "Thus the journey becomes what may be called a 'moral pilgrimagee' for the moral consequences of Edward's disillusionment are the important matter of the book." And William C. Spengeman pointed to the moral element of this novel in his Mark Twain and the Backwood Angel: The Matter of Innocence in the Works of Samuel Clemens (Kent State University Press, 1966)2 p. 55, when he wrote: "Edward's moral journey begins in ignorant pride and ends in enlightened humility."




36


10 (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1909), XV, xv.. Further references to this work will be cited in the text; all further citations in the text are to this work.

11 Other examples of this attitude can be found on pages 60, 217, and 243.

12Other examples of this attitude can be found on pages 130, 164, and 174-175.

13On page 126, Tom expresses this same attitude.

14mTis shows the influence on W. E. H. Lecky on Clemens.

15 James L. Fortuna, Jr., "'The Unsear chable Wisdom of God': A Study of Providence in Richardson's Pamela," Diss. University of Florida 1973, p. 56.

16 Aubrey Williams, "Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's Novels," SAQ, LXX, ii (Spring, 1971), p. 270.
17
Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns, p. 125.
18
In "Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's
Novels," p. 282, Williams defines this balance as "a concept pervasive in both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that of poetic justice, the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice." He goes on to state that this reward and punishment does occur "in this world and in worldly terms."

9"'Tom Jones': The Argument of Design," The Augustan Milieu:
Essays Presented to Louis Landa, ed. Henry Knight Miller et al. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 292.

20 Ibid., p. 291.
















CHAPTER III
ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN



Perceptive critics recognized the greatness of Adventures of

Huckleberry Finn quite early. In a review appearing in the May, 1885, issue of Century Magazine, for example, Thomas Sargeant Perry praised the unity and the "evident truthfulness of th.e.narrative" and "the humor of Mark Twain," and summarized his opinion of the novel by stating that It the story is capital reading, and the reason of its great superiority

1
to Tom Sawyer is that it is, for the most part, a consistent whole." And in an article entitled "The Art of Mark Twain," published in the 14 February 1891 issue of the Illustrated London News, Andrew Lang went even further when he wrote: "What is it we want in a novel? We want a vivid and original picture of life; we want character displayed naturally in action, and if we get the excitement of adventure into the bargain, and that adventure possible and plausible, I so far differ from the newest school of criticism as to think that we have additional cause for gratitude. If, moreover, there is an unrestrained sense of humour in the narrator, we have a masterpiece and Huckleberry Finn is nothing
2
less." But even these commentators, so complimentary to the novel as a whole, found fault with the ending of Huckleberry Finn. Lang, though he did note the-real weakness of the ending, managed to justify it somewhat when he wrote: "The story, to be sure,.ends by lapsing into burlesque, when Tom Sawyer insists on freeing the slave whom he knows to be already free, in a*manner accordant with 'the best authorities.'

37






38


But even the burlesque is redeemed by Tom's real unconscious heroism." 3 Perry, however, made no attempt to excuse the final portion of the novel; as he stated, "It is possible to feel, however, that the fun in the long-account of Tom Sawyer's artificial imitation of escapes from prisons is somewhat forced; everywhere simplicity is a good rule, and while the account of the Southern vendetta--the Shepherdson-Grangerford feud--is a masterpiece, the caricature of books of adventure leaves us cold. In one we have a bit of life; in the other Mark Twain is demolishing something that has no place in the book." 4

Dismay over the ending continued. In Mark Twain at Work, Bernard DeVoto declared that "in the whole reach of the English novel there is no more abrupt or more chilling descent [than the ending of Huckleberry
5
Finn]." Despite the ring of finality to this statement, however, DeVoto's remark only signaled that the battle was about to begin in earnest; for the ending of the novel was to have defenders as well as detractors. In introductions to separate editions of Huckleberry Finn, Lionel Trilling and T. S. Eliot advanced the idea that the novel was not flawed to any serious extent by the final sequence of events, that, indeed, those events formed a quite appropriate ending to Huckleberry Finn. Writing in 1948, Trilling said that, while the Phelps Farm episode was "too long" and "a falling-off," "it has a certain formal aptness . . It is a rather mechanical development of an idea, and yet some device is needed to permit Huck to return to his anonymity, to give up the role of hero, to fall into the background which he prefers . . For this purpose nothing could serve better than the mind of Tom Sawyer with its literary furnishings, its conscious romantic desire for experience and the hero's part, and its ingenious






39


schematization of life to achieve that aim." 6 And two years later, Eliot was even more insistent that the need to make Huck disappear makes this conclusion appropriate when he stated: "But it is right that the mood of the end of the book should bring us back to that of the begin7
ning." And he continued that, for "Huckleberry Finn, neither a tragic nor a happy ending would be suitable. No worldly success or social satisfaction, no domestic consummation would be worthy of him; a tragic, end also would reduce him to the level of those whom we pity. Huck Finn must come from nowhere and be bound for nowhere. . He has no beginning and no end. Hence, he can only disappear; and his disappearance can only be accomplished by bringing forward another performer to
8
obscure the disappearance in a cloud of whimsicalities."

In response to Eliot's and Trilling's defense of the Phelps Farm episode in Huckleberry Finn, Leo Marx devoted an entire article to dissecting the weaknesses of the end of this novel. He wrote that "the flimsy devices of plot, the discordant farcical tone, and the disintegration of the major characters all betray the failure of the ending. These are not aspects merely of form in a technical sense, but of mean9
ing.ty For the ending fails to recognize and resolve satisfactorily the essential issue of the journey down the river--the quest for freedom "from society and its imperatives." In contradiction to Mr. Eliot, Marx in fact suggested that the only right ending for the novel would be the failure of this quest; an unhappy ending is projected throughout the novel and therefore demanded. As Marx stated it, "In any case, the geography of the novel, the raft's powerlessness, the goodness and vulnerability of Huck and Jim, all prefigure a conclusion quite different in tone from that which Clemens gave us . . Through the symbols we 10
reach a truth which the ending obscures: the quest cannot succeed."






40


And the debate over the final chapters of Huckleberry Finn has

continued. A number of commentators have followed Marx's lead and condemned the ending of the novel as unsatisfactory, providing quite a
11
variety of reasons for this criticism. But an even larger number of critics have offered even more various reasons to defend the ending. Most of these support the Phelps Farm se quence on the basis of thematic interpretations of the novel that they provide. 12 Still others argue that the ending provides an essential structural device or is necessary 13
to maintain the structural integrity of the novel. And one firm advocate, in perhaps the most comprehensive justification of the ending, states that "to call the last chapters anti-clima ctic would be to neglect the novel's main theme and its subtly dev eloped pattern." 14

In spite of the variety of critical efforts applied to the novel and its ending, however, no one has yet examined Huckleberry Finn from 15
the perspective of the providential tradition in literature. When the novel is viewed from this critical angle, especially if we consider Huckleberry Finn as the midpoint in the development of Samuel Clemens's 16
ideas about writing and life, the conclusion of this work is explicable if not totally acceptable or aesthetically satisfying.

Structurally, Clemens carried over most of the techniques of the providential novel from The Prince and the Pauper. In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there are "fortunate accidents," some fairly amazing coincidences, a number of fortuitous events which occasionally lead to rescue from trying circumstances and always lead to the fulfillment of providential purposeseventual recognition, and the ultimate distribution of rewards and punishments.




41


An early example of the providential concept in Huckleberry Finn is seen when Huck receives two "gifts" from the Mississippi River at a time he desperately needs some help. On the very morning after his father, while in a drunken stupor, tried to kill him, Huck luckily spies a canoe adrift on the water: "Well, all at once here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. . I judged I'd hide her good, and then, 'stead of taking to the woods when I run off, I'd go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on
-17
foot." And almost immediately after Huck has secured this potential means of his deliverance, the river yields "part of a log raft" and the very opportunity he needs to make his escape: "By and by along comes a log raft--nine logs fast together. We went out with the skiff and towed it ashore. Then we had dinner.* Anybody but pap would a waited and seen the day through, so as to catch more stuff; but that wasn't pap's style. Nine logs was enough for one time; he must shove right over to town and sell" (p. 55). So Huck is aided in his successful escape from pap--and the imminent danger his father represents--by the propitiously coordinated appearance of a canoe and a partial raft just when he needs
18
them.

Huck's escape thus frees him from the threat of physical harm.

Even more important to the development of Clemens's purpose in the novel, however, it also releases him from the morally corrosive influence of pap. What Huck escapes into, therefore, is a moral journey; Martin-Schockley noted this when he wrote: "The conflict, then, is between right and wrong. The theme is the individual's struggle to know and to do right. Stated in other terms, it is man's universal




42


journey from innocence to wisdom, or, if you prefer, the salvation of the human soul." 19 But Huck's moral character cannot develop in a vacuum. One of the things he will need for moral maturity is the guide or mentor his father never was. By sheer coincidence, just such a figure is readily available; for Jim, Miss Watson's runaway slave, has also sought refuge on Jackson's Island. 20 Jim will, of course, be the most significant force in Huck's moral development. It is fortunate indeed, therefore, that Huck stumbles upon Jim's campfire.

But for an extremely fortuitous decision, however, Huck would neither have made his moral pilgrimage nor have enjoyed the benefits of Jim's guidance. A short time after he and Jim had become comfortably settled together on Jackson's Island, Huck decided to row over to the Missouri shore to "find out what was going on." By good fortune, he is led to the shanty of a family that is new to the area; therefore, even when Mrs. Loftus penetrates his disguise as "Mary Sarah Williams," Huck's true identity remains hidden. Even more unlikely, Huck has come to the only cabin where he could have discovered the plan to search Jackson's Island for "a runaway nigger named Jim," a search that is to take place that very night: "'Is your husband going over to-night?' 'Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was telling you of, to get a boat and see if they could borrow another gun. They'll go over after midnight"' (p. 88). Huck had prepared a grisly scene at pap's cabin so that his father, the widow Douglas, and the townspeople of St. Petersburg would think that he had been murdered. Had he not picked the particular cabin hedid, it is possible that Huck would have suffered the loss of his well-planned anonymity. Had he not come to this cabin on the particular night he did, it is probable that he would have lost Jim






43


and the moral guidance this runaway slave would eventually provide. Only by the merest of coincidences was this double loss prevented.

Having just escaped capture by Mr. Loftus and his companion, Huck and Jim proceed down the Mississippi River. Much of the time this raft provides the quiet security and peace that Huck was looking for. But for one reason or another, Huck occasionally risks the loss of this comfortable world. For example, the influence of Tom Sawyer is still sufficiently strong to cause Hluck to board the wrecked Walter Scott: "Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing? Not for pie, he wouldn't. He'd call it an adventure--that's what he'd call it; and he'd land on that wreck if it was his last act" (p. 98). And landing on the wreck in fact nearly is Jim and Huck's last act. For of course the wreck has already drawn the attention of a gang of desperadoes; and when Huck barely escapes detection by this gang and makes for the raft, Jim has yet another surprise for him: "Oh, my lordy, lordy! Raf'? Day ain't no raft no mo', she done broke loose en gone!--en here we is!" (p. 102). Naturally there is another boat,--the gang's--so there is no miracle in Huck and Jim's discovering one. But the extraordinary help they need to escape again comes a moment later when the gang, ready to occupy this single boat themselves, is "fortunately" drawn back into the Walter Scott at the very last moment:

He flung a bag of something into the boat, and
then got in himself, and set down. It was Packard.
Then Bill he come out and got in. Packard says, in
a low voice:
"All ready--shove off!"
I couldn't hardly hang onto the shutters, I was
so weak. But Bill says:
"Hold on--'d you go through him?"
"No. Didn't you?"
"No. So hie's got his share o' the cash yet."
"Well, then, come along; no use to take truck
and leave money."




44


"Say, won't he suspicion what we're up to?"
"Maybe he won't. But we got to have it anyway.
Come along."
So they got out and went in.
The door slammed to because it was on the careened
side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim
come tumbling after me. I out with my knife and cut
the rope, and away we.went! (pp. 103-104).21

Once again, Huck and Jim avoid detection and disaster by a fortuitous 22
concurrence of events.

But perhaps the most extraordinary coincidence of the entire trip downriver occurs, appropriately enough, at the very outset of the controversial Phelps Farm episode. By this time, Huck has come to depend on Providence to get him out of all the tight spots, as he indicates when he says, "I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but just trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth when the time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did put the right words in my mouth if I left it alone" (p. 285). But this time, it finally appears as if Huck has run out of good luck and/or providential guidance: "Well, I see I was up a stump--and up it good. Providence had stood by me this fur all right, but I was hard and tight aground now. I see it wasn't a bit of use to try to go ahead--I'd got to throw up my hand" (p. 288). This lack of confidence immediately proves to be unjustified, however, as Huck's surrender to truth is prevented by the timely appearance of Silas Phelps: "So I says to myself, here's another place where I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth to begin: but [Mrs. Phelps] grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed, and says: 'Here he comes! Stick your head down lower--there, that'll do; you can't be seen now. Don't you let on you're here. I'll play a joke on him"' (pp. 289-240). And the potential victims of Huck's continued disguise then unwittingly inform him of his supposed identity:




45


He sprung to the window at the head of the bed,
and that give Mrs. Phelps the chance she wanted. She stooped down quick at the foot of the bed and give me a pull, and out I come; and when he turned back from
the window there she stood, a-beaming and a-smiling
like a house afire, and I standing pretty meek and
sweaty alongside. The old gentleman stared, and says:
"Why, who's that?"
"Who do you reckon 't is?"
"I hadn't no idea. Who is it?"
IlItIs Tom Sawyer!" (pp. 289-290).

Huck has traveled over a thousand miles downriver; he wandered into the unfamiliar southeastern Arkansas countryside in an attempt to locate and hopefully to steal Jim from an unknown family; and he has, by the most unimaginable of chances, been mistaken for his closest companion and thus escaped detection once more in his bid to achieve freedom. Incredible? No; Providential! 23

Huck, then, has been able to escape danger and detection continually through an amazing series of fortuitous opportunities and coincidences. However, Huck's adventures as he travels downriver do not always turn out to his immediate advantage. The true benefit of a number of "fortunate accidents" is only revealed when we see the moral growth Huck ultimately attains. The first of these occurs when Huck and Jim unknowingly pass Cairo. Critics have, of course, questioned Clemens's carrying his two principal characters past their intended destination into the deep South. Some have even wondered at the fact that Jim did not simply cross over from Jackson's Island to the Illinois shore in his bid for freedom. But these criticisms arerelevant only if the primary purpose of Huck and Jim's trip really is escape. If, as it seems to me, Clemens's real intention is to send Huck on a journey to moral maturity, these objections are not valid. In fact, Huck required the continued presence of Jim while they are in slave territory




46


where he still has a choice about what to do with Jim--in order to work out his own moral and ethical values. At Cairo, Huck would still have been willing to follow the conventional perceptions and the value system of his society; this is obvious from comments he makes just before he discovers they have passed Cairo:

It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn't
ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just
see what a difference it made to him the minute he
judged he was about free. It was according to the old saying, "Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell."
Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking.
Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped
to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying
he would steal his children--children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever
done me no harm.
I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a
lowering of him. My conscience got to stirring me
up hotter than ever. . (p. 126).

While Huck might not turn Jim over to slave hunters at this point, it is obvious that he is still not ready to decide irrevocably against the standards of his society. He will be ready to do so only after he had continued downriver under Jim's subtle influence and his sure example. He will be ready to only after he also has journeyed extensively in the Deep South and actually seen the social foundations of the institution of slavery. The apparent misfortune which carried Huck and Jim past Cairo is necessary for Huck's continued moral growth and thus must be viewed as an ultimately fortunate event.

Affirmation of this is provided soon after when Clemens dramatically ended Chapter 16--and his work on the novel for a time--by the collision of a Mississippi steamboat into Huck and Jim's raft. This accident forces Huck from the security of the raft to the jeopardy of the shore. 24 But, more importantly, it forces him to witness the Shepherdson-Grangerford






47


feud and learn just how "awful cruel" humans can be to one another; the best example of this comes when Huck witnesses the killing of Buck and his cousin as they try to swim to safety: "The boys jumped for the river--both of them hurt--and as they swum down the current the men run along the bank shooting at them and singing out, 'Kill them, kill them!' It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree" (p. 158). As quick as he could, Huck returned to Jim and the rebuilt raft, whose qualities he has now come to realize and appreciate more than ever:

It was Jim's voice--nothing ever sounded so good
before. I run alonS the bank a piece and got aboard,
and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad
to see me.

I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below
there and out in the middle of the Mississippi. . .
I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and
so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there
warnTt no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't.
You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a
raft (pp. 159-160).

Huck and Jim don't get the opportunity to enjoy their pleasure long, however; almost as soon as they get comfortable again, they suffer an intrusion by "the rightful Duke of Bridgewater" and "the pore disappeared Dauphin." The appearance of these two reprobates provides the framework for a continuation of the social satire begun on the Kentucky shore. But even more significantly, their appearance provides the impetus for Huck's continued moral growth. For they will not allow him to remain isolated on the raft, as he wishes to do. And in accompanying them on their fraudulent adventures ashore, Huck is forced to learn more and more about the society which formed his conscience. This series of alternations between the raft and the shore, begun when the steamboat smashed his raft and continued with the intrusion of the






48


king and the duke on the raft, is therefore essential to Huck's ultimate decision to oppose conventional morality and free Jim. Though Huck himself would have been hard pressed to define any advantages he received from his contact first with the Grangerfords and then with two old con artists, the reader can see that these catalysts were necessary if Huck was to free his superior intuitive perceptions--the insights of his basically good heart--from the influence of his societally deformed
1 25
conscience.

In addition to the ultimately fortunate mishaps, the fortuitous

events, and the miraculous coincidences, Clemens also used another traditional device of the providential novel in HuckleberryFinn--the recognition scene. From the time Huck creates the illusion of his own murder, he lives in a world of disguises. To Mrs. Loftus, he is Sarah Mary Williams and, when she pierces that disguise, George Peters. To the Grangerfords, he is George Jackson. Then he becomes the unnamed, orphaned owner of Jim to satisfy the curiosity of the Duke and the Dauphin. At the Wilks's, he is the supposed valet of the false Harvey Wilks. And at the last, in the most telling disguise of all, he becomes Tom Sawyer. Throughout the story, then, Huck has assumed a wide variety of disguises. As James Cox has pointed out, these disguises protect Huck from physical and psychic harm. 26But even more important, they allow him to wander freely through a variety of social situations in the ante-bellum South, and therefore to penetrate the masks of his society. And this has been an essential factor in Huck's growth as an independent moral and ethical being. By seeing the South as it really is, he finally reaches the point where he can reject its value system--by accepting Jim as a fellow human--and suffer its subsequent condemnation--




49

27
to the hell of conventional morality. His disguises having served

their purpose, therefore, Huck's true identity is revealed during the

denouement of the novel; Aunt Polly provides the requisite explanations

which return everyone--including Huck--to his proper identity and/or

role when she arrives at the Phelps's farm:

Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the
head off of her, and cried over her, and I found a good enough place for me under the bed, for it was getting pretty sultry for us, seemed to me. And I peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Folly shook herself loose and stood there looking across
at Tom over her spectacles--kind of grinding him
into the earth, you know. And then she says:
"Yes, you better turn y'r head away--I would if
I was you, Tom."
"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "is he changed
so? Why, that ain't Tom, it's Sid; Tom's--why, where
is Tom? He was here a minute ago."
"You mean where's Huck Finn--that's what you mean!
I reckon I ain't raised such a scamp as my Tom all
these years not to know him when I see him. That
would be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from under that
bied, Huck Finn." 28
So I done it. But not feeling brash (p. 370).

Clemens used the structural devices and techniques of the providential novel through the first two-thirds of Adventures of Huckleberry

Finn. Therefore, it is natural to assume that he would have continued

this dependency on the providential concept through the final, controversial section of the novel. And to an extent, he does. In addition

to the recognition scene just discussed, there is the typical providential bestowal of rewards and punishments at the end of the tale. This

is first seen in the tar-and-feathering of the Duke and the Dauphin:

I told Tom all about the Royal Nonesuch rapscallions, and as much of the raft voyage as I had time to; and as we struck into the town and up through the middle of it--it was as much as half-after eight then--here
comes a raging rush of people with torches, and an
awful whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans and blowing horns; and we jumped to one side to let them







50


go by; and as they went by I see they had the king and the duke astraddle -of a rail--that is, I knowed
it was the king and the duke, though they was all over
tar and feathers, and didn't look like nothing in the
world that was human--just looked like a couple of
monstrous big soldier-plumes (p. 299).

And though it made Huck sick to see this, it probably does not have the same effect on the reader looking for providential justice. For the two rapscallionsns" far from being the humorous yet harmless wags this term might suggest, eventually are revealed as truly evil when they try to steal everything from the orphaned Wilks girls and, when this fails because of the propitious arrival of the real Harvey and Peter Wilks, as they sell Jim back into slavery. So their punishment is well deserved.

Though the punishment was meted out much earlier, it is only during the resolution of the action that we discover another malevolent character has received his just dues; for in the concluding chapter, after the other rewards and punishments have been distributed, Jim informs Huck--and the reader--of pap?'s murder. Huck is therefore permanently secure from the morally corrosive influence of his father, and pap finds an appropriate end to his thoroughly degenerate life at the hands, apparently,of equally malevolent companions.

Tom Sawyer is another who deserves the punishment he receives.

Tom has concealed the fact that Jim is already free in order to rescue him in a fashion agreeable to "all the best authorities"; thus, he forces Jim to suffer various torments and needless captivity so that he can continue his romantic adventures. Finally Tom is shot, quite appropriately, during the unnecessary escape attempt. But as an indication that the punishment of a truly just Providence is proportionate to the seriousness of the crime, Tom's wound is not ultimately serious.






51


In fact, because he is only a mischievous boy whose faults result from wrong-headed romantic notions and thoughtlessness, Tom is even allowed a tangible benefit from his suffering; this is suggested when Huck reports, "Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on a watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is" (p. 374).

Just as the wicked are punished, so the good are rewarded. Jim is the most truly Christian character in the book: He shows an almost fatherly love in his relationship with Huck he teaches moral lessons both by word and by deed; and he demonstrates exceptional forebearance throughout his numerous trials and tribulations. Finally, he receives a suitable reward for this exemplary behavior; for just when his situation seems to be once more desperate, he is freed: "They ain't no right to shut him up! Shove!--and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth!" (p. 369). 29

The only major character left is, of course, Huckleberry Finn. And Huck does receive some tangible rewards: He is finally freed of Pap; he has his $6,000 back, plus interest; and he gains social acceptance and a new family. But there is still a tentativeness about the ending. For the rewards in store for Huck do not adequately reflect his merit; they are not appropriate to his developed character. Ultimately Huck--and Clemens as well--is not sure he wants this traditional sort of happy ending. Indeed, Huck has struggled long and hard to escape the conventional society and its mores. And for all their goodnatured naivete the Phelpses do represent the slaveholding society and do uphold the very moral code which Huck has finally overcome. Thus, there is the indication that Buck will reject the traditional




52


and socially acceptable happy ending planned for him; Richard Adams suggested this when he wrote: "This aspect of the conclusion is exactly right. It would have been wrong--impossible in fact--for Clemens to bring the story to a stop, as he might have tried to do by having Huck accept the moral values of society and return to it uncritically as a 'happy ending."' 30 Neither providential nor genteel expectations are fully met at the very end of Huckleberry Finn.

This tentativeness at the very end may provide a key to the apparently faulty ending of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Prince and the Pauper was praised by critics because it presented conventional material and used traditional techniques and devices based on the patterns of the. providential novel. Clemens wrote according to this formula to impress and win the acceptance of the genteel audience of Nook Farm in particular and of the Eastern literary establishment in general. In Huckleberry Finn, however, Clemens began to move away from a traditional formula with his principal character; Linda Hood Talbott suggested this change when she wrote: "In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain's perspective on man would change, as his characterization of Huck developed. As the 'pen warmed up in hell' satirized the ante-bellum. South, Twain, the humorist, would move toward his later view of the damned human race. And as Huck, the boy with 'as good a heart as ever any boy had,' struggled with his conscienceMark Twain would struggle with his. In the course of this struggle, Mark Twain's perspective would reach midstream--and the riverboat pilot would chart the course which his later work would follow." 31 Even though he had begun to ignore the requirements of a genteel audience, Clemens was not yet willing to reject the stable and proven literary formula totally, however. He was truly






53


caught in midstream. And the most obvious sign of this conflict is the concluding section of the novel. For after the climactic scene in which Huck determines to go to hell to keep Jim from slavery, Clemens did not know where to take his novel. Unsure ofan appropriate ending to this significant action, he fell back on traditional patterns. The first of these,.as we have seen earlier, is the recognition scene. But Clemens was faced with the problem of penetrating Huck's various disguises when he was some 1100 miles from St. Petersburg and anyone who would recognize him. He solved it simply by bringing St. Petersburg to Huck--first in the person of Tom Sawyer and then through Aunt Polly, who finally unmasks Huck. Once Clemens is forced to reintroduce Tom into the narrative, young Sawyer dominates the action. 32 And after all the extravagant activity which Tom has inspired, Clemens chooses another traditional technique to draw the action to a close; the happy ending, in which all the wicked receive appropriate retribution for their sins and the good are rewarded with increased and continuing happiness, is in keeping with the providential tradition. But the particular ending planned for .Huck would have been false to the development of his character, and it seems that Clemens realized this. So Huck's intended escape to the 33
Territory, suggested at the conclusion of the novel, is Clemens's limited break with the providential structure. In developing the structure of Huckleberry Finn, Clemens did make significant use of the providential tradition. But he could not finally force Huck to accept the rewards of a society that he had just rejected in a display of his moral development.

The fault of the ending, therefore, is that Samuel Clemens was indeed caught at midstream. He finally came to understand that the






54


providential tradition was not an appropriate vehicle for a vernacular character-such as Huck. Yet he had no substitute for the structural techniques and devices of the providential novel at this time. And that he is thus caught between dependence on and rejection of this tradition-much as Huck is caught between dependence on and rejection of his society's norms--is even more apparent in the thematic use Clemens makes of the providential concept.

Throughout the book, Huck has a full awareness of the concept of providence. This is obvious from references he makes to his own dependence on Providence for protection; for example, in reporting on his initial approach to the Phelps's farm, he says: "I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but just trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth when the time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did put the right words in my mouth if I left it alone" (p. 285). But his flimsy grasp of this basic Christian concept is even more obvious. His confusion about what Providence precisely represents is initially illustrated when Huck discusses the contradictor y .explanations of it supplied by the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson:

Sometimes the widow would take me to one side and talk
about Providence in a way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe next day Miss Watson would take
hold and knock it all down again. I judged I could see that there was two Providences, and a poor chap
would stand considerable show with the widow's Providence, but if Miss Watson's got him there wasn't no
help for him any more. I thought it all out, and
reckoned I would belong to the widow's if he wanted me, though I couldn't make out how he was a-going to
be any better off then than what he was before, seeing
I was so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery
(p. 29).

A later confrontation with yet another version of Providence suggests that, while Huck is intuitively perceptive, he is theologically






55


naive; for he responds to the Dauphin's remark that he will "just trust in Providence to lead him to the profitable way" by interpreting the term "Providence" to mean "the devil, I reckon" in this instance (p. 210). 34 But perhaps the most significant instance of Huck's confusion about the providential concept occurs when he misinterprets the pangs of his socially developed conscience--the conscience of a slave-holding society--for the warnings of Providence: The more I studied about this the more my conscience
went to grinding me, and the more wicked and lowdown and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when
it hit me all of a sudden that here was the plain
hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the
time from up there in heaven, whilst I was stealing
a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't ever done me no harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always
on the lookout and ain't a-going to allow no such
miserable doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared
(p. 277).

This confusion about Providence in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is readily explainable, of course. Huck has had only a limited contact with religious doctrines; and his quite informal training in this particular concept has come from extremely diverse sources. There is, of course, the Widow Douglas with her joyful Providence and Miss Watson .with her vengeful Providence. But there is also the Dauphin with his diabolical Providence; this version is seen when the Dauphin gives credit to God for his and the Duke's early success at the Wilks's: "It ain't no use talking; bein' brothers to a rich dead man and representatives offurrin heirs that's got left is the line for you and me, Bilge. Thish yer comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the best way, in the long run" (p. 220). And finally there is Jim's forgiving Providence; Jim suggests this aspect of Cod when, in relating how he struck his






56


daughter, he says, "Oh, de po' little thing! de Lord God Almighty forgive po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to forgive himself as long's he live" (p. 208). The narrative has to reflect his confusion since Huck is the point of view through which we see and understand the action of the novel. But there is a further reason for the thematic confusion regarding providence; it in effect reflects Clemens's own feelings toward the concept. He is not quite willing to abandon this traditional theme. Yet he is beginning to question the validity of the providential ideal in his published fiction. 35 Because Tom Sawyer is such a conventional and ultimately conforming individual, he could never represent this skeptical position. Nor could Edward, Prince of Wales and later King of England, because he is such a thoroughly genteel hero. But Clemens's attitude toward providence could be carried into literature by a character such as Huck Finn. For Huck, from his theologically naive yet thoroughly practical perspective, can reveal the contradictions of the providential concept. Even more significant, Huck can ultimately reject a Providence which supports slavery. It is as much Samuel Clemens as it is Huck Finn, then, who says: "All right, then, I'll go to hell" (p. 279).

Clemens thus has reached a midpoint in his literary career, as reflected in both his techniques and theme. He is starting to depart from the traditional handling of his fictive world. While he had early come to the conclusion that his world--which is so surely reflected in his fiction--was not controlled as benevolently as he wished, he had not found the proper voice and/or he was insufficiently sure of himself as an artist to communicate this radical truth in his earlier works; rather, he had employed traditional techniques and conventional themes.




57


And in Huckleberry Finn, Clemens in the main depends upon the structural devices and techniques of the providential novel. Only at the last, by having Huck reject a perfectly providential "happy ending," does Clemens cast some doubt on the sufficiency of the providential structure. And there is a correspondent doubt cast upon the theme of providence, conveyed by Huck's confusion about the God who controls the world and reflecting Clemens's own skepticism about the providential concept. Clemens is thus starting to move upstream, a direction that will take him initially to the more secular, mechanistic control of The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Pudd'nhead Wilson. But in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens has taken the first step toward the disintegrating structure and nihilistic message of TheMysterious Stranger.



Notes



Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage, ed. Frederick Anderson (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971), pp. 129-130.
2
Ibid., pp. 133-134.
3
Ibid., p. 135.
4 Ibid., p. 130.

5 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942), p. 92.

6, 'The Greatness of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., rpt. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962), p. 318.
7
[An Introduction to Huckleberry Finn], Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., p. 326.
8
Ibid., p. 327.
9
"Mr. Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., p. 333.




58


10 Ibid., p. 340.

11
These include Robert Ornstein in his article "The Ending of Huckleberry Finn," NLN, LXXIV, 698-702; William Van O'Connor in "Why Huckleberry Finn Is Not the Great American Novel," Adventures of HuckleBerry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 371-378; Kenneth Lynn in "You Can't Go Home Again," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,. ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 421-436; Henry Nash Smith in his chapter "A Sound Heart and a Deformed Conscience," Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer (New York: Atheneum, 1967), pp. 113-137; and Maxwell Geismar in Mark Twain: All American Prophet abridged edition (New York: McGrawHill Book Co., 1973), p. 102.

12These include Spencer Brown in "Huckleberry Finn for Our Time: A Re-Reading of the Concluding Chapters," tMQR, VI, 41-46; Thomas Arthur Gullason in "The 'Fatal' Ending of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 357-361; Harold P. Simonson in Huckleberry Finn as Tragedy," YR, LIX, 532-548; and Eric Solomon in "The Search for Security," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 436-443.

13Included in this group are Clarence A. Brown in "Huckleberry Finn: A Study in Structure and Point of View," MTJ, XII, ii, 5, 10-15; Victor A. Donyo in "Over Twain's Shoulder: The Composition and Structure of Huckleberry Finn," MFS, XIV, i (Spring 1968), pp. 3-9; Martin Shockley in "The Structure of Huckleberry Finn," Critics on Mark Twain: Readings in Literary Criticism, ed. David B. Kesterson (Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 197.3), pp. 70-81; and Allen Stein in "Return to Phelps Farm: Huckleberry Finn and the Old Southwestern Framing Device," Miss Q, XXIV, 111-116.

14Warren Beck, Huck Finn at Phelps Farm: An Essay in Defense of the Novel's Form (Archives des Lettres Modernes, Nos. 13-15), Paris: Lettres Modernes, 1958, p. 6.

1In his article "The Two Providences: Thematic Form in 'Huckleberry Finn,"' CE, XI, 188-195, Edgar Branch mentions the dichotomy between Miss Watson's and the Widow Douglas's concepts of providence; but he simply converts these two concepts to a dramatic conflict within Huck between "self-centered conventional morality and humanitarian idealism."

16In "Huck Finn: Mark Twain at Midstream," Nassau Review, I, V, 44-60, Linda Hood Talbott suggests this movement in C lemens, though she does not take her idea in the same direction as I intend to in this discussion.

Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1912), XIII, 54. Further references to this work will be cited in the text.






59

18 Huck receives other gifts of this sort during the course of the
novel. For example, soon after his escape from his father he receives some bread which even the skeptical Huck'believes is providentially sent: "I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a log, munching the bread and watching the ferry-boat, and very well satisfied. And then something ng struck me. I says, now I reckon the widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it has gone and done it. So there ain't no doubt but there is something in that thing--that is, there's something in it when a body like the widow or the parson prays" (p. 62). And on at least four other occasions Huck uses a skiff, raft, or similar conveyance to escape danger, though those vessels don't always appear so suddenly or mysteriously.
19, 'The Structure of Huckleberry Finn," p. 75.

20
The coincidence is emphasized by the fact that Jim, a runaway
slave seeking free territory, is still on the island several days after he initially arrived, almost as if he were waiting for his moral protege. And several critics have noted that Jim plays a principal role in Huck's moral development. For example, Kenneth Lynn, in selections from Mark Twain and Southwestern Humor, reprinted in the Norton edition of Huckleberry Finn, p. 426, wrote: "But while Jim's relationship to Huck is fatherly in the sense that he constantly is correcting and admonishing the boy, forever telling him some new truth about the world, he is identified even more unmistakably as Huck's father by the love that he gives him." And in "Black Magic and White in Huckleberry Finn," also reprinted in the Norton edition of Huckleberry Finn, p. 402, Daniel Hoffman was even more direct when he wrote that "Jim is now free to take the place that Pap was never worthy to hold as Huck's spiritual father."
21
Note first that Huck had conveniently found this same knife just a little before he has such extreme need for one and secondly that Packard and Bill providentially suffer the same fate that they had planned for the third robber, Jim Turner.
22
Another example of such good fortune occurs when the lightning propitiously glares just as Peter Wilks's coffin is opened to reveal the lost bag of gold, thus distracting Huck's captors and allowing him the opportunity to escape: "All of a sudden the lightning let go a perfect sluice of white glare, and somebody sings out: 'By the living jingo, here's the bag of gold on his breast!' Hines let out a whoop, like everybody else, and dropped my wrist and give a big surge to bust his way in and get a look, and the way I lit out and shinned for the road in the dark there ain't nobody can tell" (pp. 265-266).
23
Another coincidence, although not so incredible, is the fact
that, as Huck luckily anticipated, Tom Sawyer arrives on the very next boat that lands--significantly, he is several days late--after Huck had appeared at the Phelps's. Through this fortunate bit of timing, Huck is enabled to head off Tom and thus maintain his disguise and his plan to rescue Jim.







60

24
This alternation between river and shore provides the basic movement of the plot in the middle section of the novel, from Chapters XVII to XXXI, or even, as some critics insist, of the entire novel; see, for example, Martha Banta, "Escape and Entry in Huckleberry Finn," MFS, XIV, (Spring 1968), pp. 79-91, and Warren Beck, Huck Finn at Phelps Farm: An Essay in Defense of the Novel's Form (Ar chives de Lettres Modernes,
Nos. 13-15), Paris, Lettres Modernes, 1958, pp. 1-32.
25
As Henry Nash Smith writes in the chapter "Sound Heart and Deformed Conscience," Mark Twain: The Development of a Wri ter, p. 122: "What is still sound in [Huck] is an impulse from the deepest level of his personality that struggles against the overlay of prejudice and false valuation imposed on all members of the society in the name of religion, morality, law, and refinement."

26In his article,"Remarks on the Sad Initiation of Huckleberry Finn," SR, LXII, p. 395, Cox suggested this basis for Huck's disguises when he wrote: "Huck is indeed the man without identity who is reborn at almost every river bend, not because he desires a new role, but because he must re-create himself to elude the forces which close in on him from every side."
27
This event is, of course, the climactic action of the novel; nor does Huck' s action come easy:

And [I] got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and
in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes
storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing
and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no
places to harden me against him, but only the other
kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and
when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where
the feud was; and such-like times; and would always
call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could
think of for me, and how good he always was; and at
last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men
we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and
said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the
world, and the only one he's got now; and then I
happened to look around and see that [letter to Miss
Watson].
It was a close place. I took it up and held it in
my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide,
forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I
studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then
I says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll go to hell"--and tore it up
(pp. 278-279).

The finality of Huck's decision is indicated by the fact that he next pledges to do that which earlier he had found so appalling when Jim mentioned it--stealing a person out of slavery:






61


It was awful thought and awful words, but they was
said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no
more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out
of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again,
which was in-my line, being brung up to it, and the other wasn't. And for a starter I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again. . (p. 279).
28 An integral part of the recognition sequence is Tom's revelation,

which immediately precedes the arrival of Aunt Polly, that Jim "ain't no slave; he's as free as any return that walks this earth" (p. 369).
29
The fact that Miss Watson freed Jim on her deathbed doesn't negate the providential nature of this event; rather, she is just the instrument through which God works. In his article "The Character of Jim and the Ending of Huckleberry Finn," MR, V, p. 59, Chadwick Hansen suggested this when he noted: "Jim has to be reunited with his family and the only way to accomplish this without writing another and very different novel is to use a machine, just as Fielding had to use a machine to rescue Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews."
30
The Unity and Coherence of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al. (New York: 14. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1971), p. 356.
31
Nassau Review, I, V, 47.
32
Several critics have seen Tom's domination of the action at the end of the novel as a necessary result of Clemens's own personality taking control for a variety of reasons. See, for example, Robert Ornstein, "The Ending of Huckleberry Finn," MLN, LXXIV, p. 702, and Henry Nash Smith, "A Sound Heart and a Deformed Conscience," Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer (New York: Atheneum, 1967), p. 133.
33,,
But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and civilize me,. and I can't stand it. I been there before."
34
This remark further suggests the direction that Clemens will take in future novels, where he more and more conveys the suggestion that the control of the world is diabolical rather than beneficent.
35 This direction can also be seen in such early short pieces as
"The Lost Ear-ring," The "Second Advent," and "The Holy Children" in Mark Twain's Fables of Man, ed. John S. Tuckey (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972).
















CHAPTER IV
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT



Following Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens settled into a period during which he was more interested and absorbed in commercial ventures than in fiction. As Justin Kaplan put it, "he submerged some of his goals in enterprises that appeared more rewarding than writing books: the [Charles L. Webster & Company] publishing house, the
1
[Paige] typesetting machine, and, in general, making money." During this time, however, Clemens still worked occasionally with an idea that was to become A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. And the uncertainty that he was feeling about his writing in 1885 and that he would soon come to feel about business and industry would be an essential ingredient in this next novel. Thus, though not as great a novel as Huck Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is perhaps an even more important document for those trying to reach an understanding of both the author and his times. The complexity of this task, however, is reflected in the extremely diverse critical commentary which has been written about A Connecticut Yankee. The one point on which most critics agree is that there is a distinct strain of satire within this novel. They cannot seem to agree, however, on the origin of the satiric intent, the success of the satire, or even the object(s) at which the satire is aimed.

This disagreement is evident even among those commentators who have tried to trace the genesis of A Connecticut Yankee. John Hoben 62






63

2
was the first to attempt such a study. Hoben felt that the novel began as a burlesque based on the possibilities for humor contained in a contrast between sixth-century Arthurian England and nineteenth-century industrial America. Proof, for Hoben, that the dominant tone and intent originally was burlesque rather than satire was provided by a letter written to "Mother" Mary Fairbanks; in this letter, written on November 16, 1886, only five days after he read the first three chapters of A Connecticut Yankee at a meeting of the Military Services Institute on Governors Island, New York, Clemens wrote:

The story isn't a satire, particularly, it is more
especially a contrast. It merely exhibits under high
lights, the daily life of the [imaginary Arthurian]
time & that of to-day; & necessarily the bringing them
into this immediate juxtaposition emphasizes the salients of both. Only two or three chapters of the
book have been written, thus far. I expect to write
three chapters a year for thirty years; then the book
will be-done. I am writing it for posterity only;
my posterity; my great grandchildren. It is to be my holiday amusement for six days every summer the rest 3
of my life. Of course I do not expect to publish it.

According to Hoben's chronology, Clemens did not work on the novel again until the fall of 1888--by which time he had developed an intense antagonism toward England, principally because of Matthew Arnold's attacks on the American scene. The material written at this time reflected this Anglophobia, so that the direction of the novel apparently changed from simple burlesque to energetic satire.

Hoben's study did not satisfactorily answer all of the questions about the genesis of A Connecticut Yankee, though. A central problem left unsolved was how Clemens had managed to develop sufficient material for the forty-one chapters supposedly written between the fall of 1888 and the summer of 1889, a period during which he was deeply involved in various business activities. Howard Baetzhold therefore offered a






64


revised time schedule, based on "new evidence." 4And while Baetzhold agreed with Hoben that there was a change of intention--from burlesque to satire--in the novel, he disagreed with him on the amount of influence Arnold's attacks had on the change; instead, he felt that the changed intention resulted as much from George F. Kennan' s series of articles on Russia and Siberia, which appeared in 1887 and 1888 issues of Century Magazine.

In a still later genetic study, James D. Williams opposed the view held by Hoben and Baetzhold that there was a distinct change of intention in A Connecticut Yankee following Chapter 3, or at any other point in the novel. 5He did admit that there is the "obvious intrustion of a satiric tone inappropriate to the narrator" in Chapter 8; but he interpreted this simply as the first of several losses of authorial control over the narrative persona, rather than the signal of a changing
6
intention. According to Williams, revisions of the novel and the finished novel itself indicate that A Connecticut Yankee was a working out of "ideas on chivalry, slavery, and progress which had been dominant in Mark Twain' s thinking for twenty years," and that satire was defi7
nitely not the outstanding or defining component of this novel.

It is fairly obvious, then, that commentators have been unable tc' reach any consensus on the genesis of satire in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. This lack of agreement is typical of the critical analysis and interpretation of the novel as well. While most critics would agree, in contradiction to Mr. Williams, that satire really is a significant element of A Connecticut Yankee, they do disagree on the general target(s) of Clemens's satire. The most obvious target would seem to be medieval England. And in fact a number of commentators have






65


based their interpretations of the novel on the premise that the author
8
was attacking the attitudes.and actions of sixth-century England. A number of other critics have agreed that Clemens was writing an indictment of England's medievalism in A Connecticut Yankee; however, they emphasize that the attack was directed at nineteenth-century Britain as much as or more than at sixth-century England. This idea was most
9
popular, of course, when the novel was first published. And a number of recent critics have offered a slightly different perspective; while agreeing with those commentators who read the novel as a satiric attack on sixth-century'and/or nineteenth-century England, these commentators cannot agree that Clemens was conversely offering nineteenth-century American democracy as an antidote to medieval abuses. The majority of these critics suggest that A Connecticut Yankee is not so much an indictment of nineteenth-century America as a recognition that not even this democratic and technologically oriented society provides satisfactory
10
answers to the questions man is eternally asking. On the other hand, a number of critics do not feel that Clemens's own society was handled quite so leniently in the novel;rather than viewing A Connecticut Yankee simply as a result of Clemens's recognition that nineteenth-century America had failed to fulfill the promise which he and so many others had earlier predicted for her, several commentators feel that Clemens often aimed his satire quite directly at the American system of the day. 11

This diverse commentary that critics have produced on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court indicates both the complexity and the unevenness of the novel. Additionally, these characteristics reflect, and thus give an insight into, the personality of the author. But however much Clemens and his work are defined by complexity and unevenness,






66


and however much these traits hinder a critic trying to grasp the central

meaning of A Connecticut Yankee., consistent targets of Clemens's satire

in this novel can be demonstrated.

Because of Clemens's humanitarian and republican inclinations,

he opposed any institution which undermined the dignity, worth, or freedom of the common man. Hank Morgan, the Connecticut Yankee, indicates

that the Established Church, the monarchy, and the nobility of sixthcentury England all conspired to that end:

The truth was, the nation as a body was in the
world for one object, and one only: To grovel before
king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go naked so that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared
from paying them, be familiar all their lives with
the degrading language and postures of adulation
that they might walk inlyride and think themselves
the gods of this world.

The nation as a whole, then, was led by these three institutions. But

the keystone of these three, and the one which therefore kept the people

totally subservient to the institutions of monarchy and nobility as

well, was the Roman Catholic Church. This Hank recognizes almost from

the beginning of his.tenure in the Arthurian kingdom, as is evident

from his explanation on the genesis of the Established Church and her

brother institutions in England:

Before the day of the Church's supremacy in the world, men were men, and held their heads up, and had a man's pride and spirit and independence; and what of greatness and position a person got, he got mainly by
achievement, not by birth. But then the Church came to the front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat--or a nation; she invented "divine right of kings," and
propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beatitudes--wrenching them from their good purpose to make
them fortify an evil one; she preached (to the commoner) humility, obedience to superiors, the beauty






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of self-sacrifice; she preached (to the commoner)
meekness under insult; preached (still to the commoner, always to the commoner) patience, meanness of
spirit, non-resistance under oppression; and she
introduced heritable ranks and aristocracies, and
taught all the Christian populations of the earth to
bow down to them and worship them (p. 67).

One of the central victims of satire in A Connecticut Yankee therefore is the Roman Catholic Church, the Established Church of Arthur's kingdom. As Hank says, "It being my conviction that any Established Church is an established crime, an established slave-pen, I had no scruples, but was willing to assail it in any way or with any weapon that promised to hurt it" (p. 124). And, while Hank cannot be said to voice Samuel Clemensts sentiments or represent his ideas at all times, the Connecticut Yankee does seem to have the agreement of his creator on this point. For in a notebook, Clemens suggested the method he would use against the Church--as well as the monarchy and nobility which Mother Church supported--when he wrote the following: "No god and no religion can survive ridicule. No church, no nobility, no royalty or 13
other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field and live." Neither Hank nor Clemens was interested in the total destruction of organized religion, however. Instead, Hank planned to replace the Established Church with a number of Protestant sects; significantly, Clemens stated in another notebook entry, "I use compulsion in establishing my several

breeds of Protestant churches, because no missionarying has ever been accomplished except by force which was not contemptible by comparison of the paltry result with the gigantic outlay of cash and labor." 14

In the face of such a systematically planned dismantling of the Established Church in A Connecticut Yankee, a central question is how the doctrine of providence is affected as a thematic and structural






68


device. We still do see the thematic use of providence as flank wanders through his adventures in this Roman Catholic kingdom. Certainly the people of the kingdom are continually pr aying to God, occasionally to thank Him for some benefit received but more often to petition Him for some favor. For example, when the Holy Fountain in the Valley of Holiness goes dry for a second time in its history, a pilgrim relates, "'None.may describe [the feeling of the people] in words. The fount is these nine days dry. The prayers that did begin then, and the lamentations in sackcloth and ashes, and the holy processions, none of these have ceased nor night nor day; and so the monks and the nuns and the foundlings be all exhaustedand do hang up prayers writ upon parchment, sith that no strength is left in man to lift up voice"' (p. 180). 15 Nor are the people unaware of the providential concept, which serves as the foundation for the act of praying. This is obvious when a candidate for a military post, in responding to a question Hank asks him, says, "Verily, in the all-wise and unknowable providence of God, who moveth in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, have I never heard the fellow to this question for confusion of the mind and congestion of the ducts of thought" (p. 223). 16 Thus, a sixth-century Briton is quite familiar with the concept of God's concern for and control over manys destiny; it is supposedly an essential underpinning of his whole view of life.

But while providence is a familiar concept, it is not presented as a spiritually viable one in A Connecticut Yankee. The prayers of the people, based ideally on a firm belief in a providential God, are often performed ritualistically and out of habit rather than as an essential function in the life of many of the characters. Morgan le Fay






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provides the most notable example of this; in her palace, grace before meals and an evening benediction are just as regularly observed as the atrocities she commits. But Hank sarcastically notes that Morgan le Fay. is no anomaly in this seemingly contradictory behavior when he relates the following:

Madame, seeing me pacific and unresentful, no doubt
judged that I was deceived by her excuse; for her
fright dissolved away, and she was soon so importunate to have me give an exhibition and kill somebody, that the thing grew to be embarrassing. However, to
my relief she was presently interrupted by the call to prayers. I will say this much for the nobility: that, tyrannical, murderous, rapacious, and morally rotten as they were, they were deeply and enthusiastically religious. Nothing could divert them for
the regular and faithful performance of the pieties enjoined by the Church. More than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage,
stop to pray before cutting his throat; more than once I had seen.a noble, after ambushing and despatching his enemy, retire to the nearest wayside shine and humbly give thanks, without even waiting
to rob the body (p. 131).

And, though this tendency is initiated by the nobility, it is not limited to them. For members of the lower classes of citizens, strong practi-tioners of the rituals of Roman Catholicism, do things just as morally reprehensible. Dowley the blacksmith, for example, only moments after indicating his recognition of "the grace and providence of God," would have killed Hank and King Arthur had not he and his fellows been stopped by a passing "gentleman." Thus, the ideal contrasts with the practice in much of Arthur's realm, and providence is less a viable doctrine than a part of a hollow rhetoric for many in the kingdom.

The reasons for this lack of spiritual viability in the providential concept are clear. The first, of course, is the influence exerted by the Established Church. As Hank explains, and as Clemens illustrates, this influence is primarily a negative one. The Church's main purpose






70


should be spiritual leadership. However, spiritually dedicated Churchmen are not nearly prevalent enough; and since they lack powerful positions in the Church hierarchy, they cannot affect the direction of the Church. That this is so is evident when Hank ironically wishes there were fewer good priests: "Something of this disagreeable sort was turning up every now and then. I mean, episodes that showed that not all priests were frauds and self-seekers, but that many, even the great majority, of those that were down on the ground among the common people, were sincere and right-hearted, and devoted to the alleviation of human troubles and suffering. Well, it was a thing which could not be helped . . But I did not like it, for it was just the sort of thing to keep people reconciled to an Established Church" (p. 142). Rather than concentrating on its spiritual mission, the Roman Catholic Church was most interested in developing reverence for the institutions of Church, monarchy, and nobility. And conversely, it also prevented the growth.of any progressive or civilizing influences, such as Hank's projects. This, of course, reflects a standard conflict, as W. E. H. Lecky pointed out in his study of European moral-ethical systems:

Yet the habits of advancing civilization are, if I mistake not, on the whole inimical to [reverence's]
growth. For reverence grows out of a sense of constant dependence. It is fostered by that condition of religious thought in which men believe that each incident that befalls them is directly and specially
ordained and when every event is therefore fraught with
a moral import. It is fostered by that condition of
scientific knowledge in which every portentous natural event is supposed to be the result of a direct divine
interposition, and wakens in consequence emotions of
humility and awe. It is fostered in that stage of
political life when loyalty or reverence for the
sovereign is the dominating passion, when an aristocracy, branching forth from the throne, spreads habits of deference and subordination through every village,
when a revolutionary, a democratic, and a skeptical.
spirit are alike unknown.17






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That this conflict is present in.A Connecticut Yankee is most obvious when the Roman Catholic Church finally declares war on Hank Morgan, named as "a revolutionary, a democratic, and a skeptical spirit" in the Interdict. In such a situation, the concept of providence is used by the Church to preclude "a revolutionary, a democratic, or a skeptical spirit,"while instilling a reverential one. This is evident throughout ,.the novel, especially when Hank mourns the fate of the captives in Morgan le Fay's dungeon cells: "Consider it: among these forty-seven captives there were five whose names, offenses, and dates of incarceration were no longer known! One woman and four men--all bent, and wrinkled, and mind-extinguished patriarchs. They themselves had long ago forgotten these details; at any rate they had vague theories about them, nothing definite and nothing that they repeated twice in the same way. The succession of priests whose office it had been to pray daily with the captives and-remind them that God had put them there, for some wise purpose or other, and teach them that patience, humbleness, and submission to oppression was what He loved to see in parties of a subordinate rank, had traditions about these poor old human ruins, but nothing more" (P. 152; my italics). In A Connecticut Yankee, then, Clemens indicated that the providential concept can be used as an instrument for the suppression of the masses, and as a result can become spiritually sterile.

An even more important influence in the undermining of the providential concept, however, is the arch opponent and eventual victim of the Established Church, Hank Morgan himself. While Hank recognizes the secular tendencies of the Church--her desire for power and support of the monarchic and aristocratic establishments--and her resultant






72


victimization of the common people, he has a secular philosophy himself. In spite of his opposition to the Established Church and in spite of his plan to replace it with a variety of sects, Hank is also unconcerned with the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants of sixth-century England. Rather, as a republican and a humanitarian, Hank is mainly interested in improved living conditions and freedom for the masses. In order to accomplish these goals, he depends on education and industrialization. Hank does realize the need for religion as a part of his general scheme, as he indicates in the following observations: "We must have a religion-it goes without saying--but my idea is, to have it cut up into forty free sects, so that they will police each other, as had been the case in the United States in my time" (p. 142). But he merely views religion as another social function, one that demands stringent control so that it does not disrupt other equally or more important social functions; as Hank says, "I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sundayschools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of Protestant congregations all in a prosperous and growing condition. Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teaching to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it in my other educational buildings" (p. 78). 19 Were Hank to supplant the Established Church, then, it would simply be the replacement of a nominally religious but actually secular power by a more obviously secular control.

And Hank does plan to gain such control. Soon after his arrival at King Arthur's Court, he says, "I made up my mind to two things: if it was still the nineteenth century and I was among lunatics and couldn't






73


get away, I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why; and if, on the other hand, it was really the sixth century, all right, I didn't want any softer thing: I would boss the whole country inside of three months" (p. 25). As it turned out, three months was a little quick. Eventually, though, Hank did receive the recognition and concomitant title he desired:

I couldn't have felt really and satisfactorily fine and proud and set-up over any title except one that should
come from the nation itself, the only legitimate source;
and such a one I hoped to win; and in the course of years of honest and honorable endeavor, I did win it
and wear it with a high and clean pride. This title
fell casually from the lips of a blacksmith, one day, in
a village, was caught up as a happy thought and tossed
from mouth to mouth with a laugh and an affirmative
vote; in ten days it swept the-kingdom, and was become as familiar as the king's name. I was never known by
any other designation afterward, whether in the nation's
talk or in grave debate upon matters of state at the
council-board of the sovereign. The title, translated
into modern speech, would be THE BOSS (pp. 68-69).

His control at this time was still incomplete. But he was continually preparing for the eventual sway he would hold over this country, guarding always against the discovery of his intentions until the right time; as he puts it, "I was pretty well satisfied with what I had already accomplished . . I was training a crowd of ignorant folks into experts--experts in every sort of handiwork and scientific calling. These nurseries of mine went smoothly and privately along undisturbed in their obscure country retreats, for nobody was allowed to come into their precincts without a special permit--for I was afraid of the Church" (pp. 77-78).

Ultimately, Hank does think the time is right and reveals his plans openly. This comes, of course, after he has returned from his odyssey across the English countryside, accompanied first by Sandy and






74


then by the King, to face Sir Sagramour le Desirous, along with Merlin, and finally the massed chivalry of England. In defeating all these, Hank insists that "knight-errantry was a doomed institution. The March of Civilization was begun" (p. 359). And so he feels secure in declaring the beginning of a new era, his era: "When I broke the back of knighterrantry that time, I no longer felt obliged to work in secret. So, the very next day I exposed my hidden schools, my mines,.and my vast system of clandestine factories and workshops to an astonished world. That is to say, I exposed the nineteenth century to the inspection of the sixth" (p. 360). Hank has now reached the apex of his control over sixth-century England.

With the Roman Catholic Church exerting the predominant influence, providence was not a spiritually viable concept. With Hank Morgan in control, the concept would be weakened further. For Hank Morgan came to deliver the gospel of an industrialized society. This is obvious from the religious fervor with which he describes his projects: "In various quiet nooks and corners I had the beginnings of all sorts of industries under way--nuclei of future vast factories, the iron and steel missionaries of my future civilization" (p. 77; my italics). And Hank functions not merely as the prophet of that promised state, but as its BOSS. As such, he is the earthly analogue to "the heavenly despot": "Unlimited power is the ideal thing when it is in safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same, namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual . . My works showed what a despot could do with the resources of a kingdom at






75


his command" (p. 79). And therefore, he is sufficient to provide for the inhabitants of his earthly kingdom, sixth-century England.

Hank Morgan, then, sees himself as a nineteenth-century style

substitute for the providential God of the Established Church in sixthcentury England. This fact is subtly presented but still obvious throughout A Connecticut Yankee. It is first suggested even before Hank works his first "miracle": "I was as happy a man as there was in the world. I was even impatient for tomorrow to come, I so wanted to gather in that great triumph and be the center of all the nation's wonder and reverence.' Besides, in a business way it would be the making.of me; I knew that" (p. 47; my italics). And the eclipse of the sun was the making of Hank, a fact testified to by his title THE BOSS and by his ultimate control of the kingdom. But Hank is not satisfied to be boss of the A.rthurian kingdom. Rather, he sets about to create a new world and a new people, as evidenced by his "Man-Factories" and his various other projects: "My schools and churches were children four years before; they were grown-up now; my shops of that day were vast factories now; where I had a dozen trained men then, I had a thousand now; where I had one brilliant expert then, I had fifty now. I stood with my hand on the cock, so to speak, ready to.turn it on and flood the midnight world with light at any moment" (p. 79). Another sign of his own feeling of omnipotence is his retention of the power finally to destroy the technologic world he had created: "Time for the second step in the plan of campaign! I touched a button, and shook the bones of England loose from her spine. In that explosion all our noble civilizationfactories went up in the air and disappeared from the earth" (p. 393). But the most obvious indication of his belief that lie can substitute






76


effectively for Providence is seen when he discusses his plans to offer

a nineteenth-century version of God's concern for and care of His followers:

Fires interested me considerably, because I was
getting a good deal of an insurance business started,
and was also training some horses and building some
steam fire-engines, with an eye to a paid fire department by and by. The priests opposed both my fire and life insurance, on the ground that it was an insolent
attempt to hinder the decrees of God; and if you pointed
out that they did not hinder the decrees in the least, but only modified the hard consequences of them if you took out policies and had luck, they retorted that that
was gambling against the decrees of God, and was just
as bad. So they managed.to damage those industries more or less, but I got even on my Accident business.
As a rule, a knight is a lummox, and some times even a labrick, and hence open to pretty poor arguments when they come glibly from a superstition-monger, but even
he could see the practical side of a thing once in a while; and so of late you couldn't clean up a tournament and pile the result without finding one of my accident tickets in every helmet (pp. 268-269).20

As a result of the influence exerted by both the Roman Catholic

Church and Hank Morgan, then, the significance of the providential concept has been reduced as a philosophical/religious construct in sixthcentury England and consequently lessened as a thematic element in

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The providential concept

still structures the novel, but its use is modified by the secularism

of the Church and Hank.

Indeed, there are a number of fortunate accidents, timely rescues,

and miracles which move the action of the novel forward and which show

the providential element in A Connecticut Yankee. The first important

incident of the novel is the accident which transported Hank Morgan

from nineteenth-century Connecticut to sixth-century England; the

wizened Hank explains the incident to Mark Twain as follows:






77


Well, a man like that is a man that is full of
fight--that goes without saying. With a couple of
thousand rough men under one, one has plenty of that sort of amusement. I had, anyway. At last I met my match, and I got my dose. It was a misunderstanding
conducted with crowbars with a fellow we used to call
Hercules. He laid me out with a crusher alongside the
head that made everything crack, and seemed to spring
every joint in my skull and made it overlap its
neighbor. Then the world went out in darkness, and
I didn't feel anything more, and didn't know anything
at all--at least for a while.
When I came to again, I was sitting under an oak
tree, on the grass, with a whole beautiful and broad
country landscape all to myself--nearly (p. 15).

Hank, of course, awakes in Camelot. And he soon realizes that having

been "accidentally" knocked into the sixth century is really a "fortunate

mishap," both for himself and the sixth century:

After that, I was just as mu ch at home in that country
as I could have been in any other; and as for preference, I wouldn't have traded it for the twentieth.
Look at the opportunities here for a man of knowledge,
brains, pluck, and enterprise 'to sail in and grow up
with the country. ...
W-hat a jump I had made! I couldn't keep from thinking about it, and contemplating it, just as one does who has struck oil. There was nothing back of me that could
approach it, unless it might be Joseph's case; and
Joseph's only approached it, it didn't equal it, quite.
For it stands to reason that as Joseph's splendid financial ingenuities advantaged nobody but the king, the
general public must have regarded him with a good deal
of disfavor, whereas I had done my entire public a
kindness in sparing the sun and was popular by reason
of it (pp. 63-64).L1

In order that he would be alive to reach these conclusions, though,

another series of fortunate accidents was necessary. For upon discovering the supposed date of his incarceration, Hank saves himself by using

a very fortuitous elipse to convince Arthur and his knights of his

powerful magic. But Amyas le Poulet, the page whom Hank renamed Clarence

and who would become Hank's right-hand man, had accidentally given Hank

the wrong date. Still, he manages to serve *as the providential






78


"instrument to the saving of Hank's life" when he convinces King Arthur's Court that Hank should be burned at the stake a day early, before his power has time to work against the sun. The ploy was meant to enhance Hank's reputation by showing that he was so powerful a magician he needed no time to prepare. Unwittingly, Clarence does accomplish his goal when the eclipse takes place on time but ahead of the schedule Hank had developed. Thus, Hank ironically is saved as much by a series of mishaps as by his first "miracle."

But the last rescue that Hank benefits from clearly illustrates the modification which the providential concept undergoes in the course of A Connecticut Yankee:

The fact is I did need to lean upon somebody. My
knights couldn't arrive in time. They would be as much
as three hours too late. Nothing in the world could save the King of England; nor me, which was more important. More important, not merely to me, but to the
nation--the only nation on earth standing ready to blossom into civilization.

In a minute a third slave was struggling in the air.
It was dreadful. I turned away my head a moment, and
when I turned back I missed the king! They were
blindfolding him! I was paralyzed; I couldn't move,
I was choking, my tongue was petrified. They finished
blindfolding him, they led him under the rope. I
couldn't shake off that clinging impotence. But when I saw them put the noose around his neck, then everything let go in me and I made a spring to the rescue-and as I made it I shot one more glance abroad--by
George! here they came, a-tilting!--five hundred
mailed and belted knights on bicycles! (pp. 343, 346).

Once again we have the traditional pattern of a rescue just in the nick of time. But the question naturally arising is whether it is truly providential intervention that has saved Hank and the. king, or whether it is instead the technological know-how which Hank brought from nineteenth-century America--represented here by the bicycles on which the knights arrive--which is chiefly responsible for this narrow escape. The balance is beginning to favor technology.






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This nineteenth-century influence is even more apparent in other modifications of the typical providential structure; an example of this modification is Hank's miracles. Miracles are a well-accepted part of the Christian tradition. Kenneth Scott Latourette pointed this out when he wrote: "In a confidence in miracles, both East and West [branches of the Catholic Church] were in accord. How far that can be ascribed to environment, especially to the environment peculiar to this period, may be debatable. It is clear, however, that while from the very beginning Christians had believed in the miraculous and the power of the Christian faith to work miracles was one of the factors in the conversion of the Roman Empire, in the years after 500 miracles loom more prominently in the writings of the educated leaders of the Church in 22
the West than in the centuries before that dividing line. And they occupy an integral place in the doctrine of providence as well. Jonathan Edwards illustrated this quite well when he wrote: "The material world, and all things pertaining to it, is by the creator wholly subordinated to the spiritual and moral world. To show this, God, in some things in providence, has set aside the ordinary course of things in the material world to subserve to the purposes of the moral and spiritual, as in miracles. And to show that all things in heaven and earth, the whole universe, is wholly subservient, the greater parts of it as well as the smaller, God has once or twice interrupted the course of the g greater wheels of the machine, as when the sun stood still in Joshua's
23
time." The sun did not stand still for Hank, of course; instead, it was temporarily blotted out. But this seemed miraculous to his sixthcentury audience. In reality, the eclipse was a very natural and explainable phenomenon which Hank's historical knowledge and technological






80


expertise allowed him to use. And this is true of the other 11miracles" that occur in this novel. The "miracle" that destroys Merlin's tower results from blasting powder detonated by lightning striking a lightning rod embedded in one of the batches of powder. The "miracle" which saw the Holy Fountain filled again depended on stone and mortar, a little iron pump and Greek fire, rockets, gunpowder, and a small electrical battery. And the "miracle" which produced the Camelot Weekly Hosannah and Literary Volcano was effected by the printing process. 24 So Hank feels that he can serve as an earthly and technologically based analogue of Providence, and those "miracles" which enhance his power do affect the structural as well as the thematic use of the providential concept in A Connecticut Yankee.

But Hank is mistaken, ultimately, about the extent of his power.

In spite of'his early caution, he had finally failed to gauge adequately the cunning and the strength of the Established Church. And so he was defeated by the Interdict and by the superstition of those whom he tried to free:

"The Church is master now. The Interdict included
you with Mordred; it is not to be removed while you remain alive. The clans are gathering. The Church has gathered all the knights that are left alive, and as soon as you are discovered we shall have business on
our hands.

When hose* knights come, those es*ablishm;nts'[Ha*k
has set up] will empty themselves and go over to the enemy. Did you think you had educated the superstition out of those people?" (p. 380).

But his defeat comes at "The Battle of the Sand-Belt," which provides the resolution of the action. In the typical providential novel, the resolution of the book provides an opportunity for justice finally to prevail, with the reward of the good and the punishment of the evil.






81


But in the Battle of the Sand-Belt, everyone suffers. The combined host of the "Churc h, the nobles, and the gentry" and even the common folk are destroyed:* "Within ten minutes after we had opened fire, armed resistance was totaly annihilated, the campaign was ended, we fifty-four were masters of England! Twenty-five thousand men lay dead around us" (p. 402). But the fifty-four were not to be spared, either. Clarence makes this clear when he writes, "We were in a trap, you see--a trap of our own making. If we stayed where we were, our dead would kill us; if we moved out of our defenses, we would no longer be invincible. We had conquered; in turn we were conquered. THE BOSS recognized this; we all recognized it" (p. 404). Only ThE BOSS does not die of the ensuing plague. He is provided with an even worse fate; for Merlin has cast a spell over him which would cause Hank to sleep for thirteen centuries, finally to awake to a now unfamiliar and terrifying situation:

"I thought that Clarence and I and a handful of my
cadets fought and exterminated the whole chivalry of
England! But even that was not the strangest. I
seemed to be a creature out of a remote unborn age,
centuries hence, and even that was as real as the
rest! Yes, I seemed to have flown back out of that age into this of ours, and then forward to it again,
and was set down, a stranger and forlorn in that
strange England, with an abyss of thirteen centuries
yawning between me and you! between me and my home and my friends! between me and all that is dear to
me, all that could make life worth the living! It was
awful--awfuler than you can ever imagine, Sandy. Ah,
watch by me, Sandy,--stay by me every moment--don't
let me go out of my mind again; death is nothing,
let it come, but not with those dreams, not with the torture of those hideous dreams--I cannot endure that
again. . Sandy?..... (p. 407).

Some might argue that this is indeed a providential ending, that all suffer because they all deserve punishment--the Church and nobility for their offenses against the common people, the commoners for so slavishly yielding to and even following the lead of the ruling institutions, and




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Hank, and by association Clarence and the fifty-two faithful lads, for a developing self-aggrandizement and a constant sense of pride. Significantly, though, at the same time that Hank is destroying his technological civilization, Samuel Clemens is beginning to have doubts about 25
the Paige typesetter. Thus, a more probable cause for the chaotic ending of A Connecticut Yankee is that Clemens was yielding to a disillusionment toward the "machine madness"'which Hank Morgan represented. Justin Kaplan indicated this relationship when he wrote as follows: "The Yankee and the (Paige typesetting] Machine were twinned in his mind. Both were tests of a perfectible world in which, contrary to all his insights and experience, friction and mechanical difficulties were equivalents of ignorance. and superstition. Both expressed a secular religion which had as an unexplained article of faith a belief 26
not in eternal life but in perpetual motion." By the end of.A Connecticut Yankee, Clemens has come to realize that the Paige typesetter, in which he had invested so much time, energy and money, cannot lead to the enlightened republic he had envisioned. So the short-lived secular reign of Hank Morgan comes to a catastrophic end.

The concept of providence, then, does continue to play a significant part in the novels of Clemens. But the concept is modified by the intrusion of Hank and his technological secularism. The significance of the providential concept as both a thematic and a structural device is thus lessened. And because of this, we see the beginning of a negativism and a concomitant chaos that affect the writings of Samuel Clemens for the rest of his career.






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Notes



Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain (New York: Pocket Books, 1968), p. 316.
21, Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee: A Genetic Study," AL, XVIII,
197-218.
3
Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, ed. Dixon Wecter (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1949), pp. 257-258.
4
Baetzhold summarized this schedule in "The Course of Composition of A Connecticut Yankee: A Reinterpretation," AL, XXXIII, p. 207, when he wrote: "This article will rechart the course of that composition to show that the first three chapters were planned and written (earlier than Hoben thought) between December, 1885, and March, 1886; that during the summer of 1887 when a Yankee supposedly lay untouched, Twain wrote some sixteen chapters; and that the manuscript was finished by May, 1889." In "Hawaiian Feudalism and Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," AL,, XXX, p. 51, Fred Lorch had earlier attempted to solve this problem by pointing to Clemens's continuing interest in the feudal practices of the Sandwich Islands and to a novel on the Sandwich Islands Clemens was apparently "busy at work on in the winter and spring of 1883-1884."
51t Revision and Intention in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee.."

AL, XXXVI, 288-297.
6
Ibid., p. 292.
7
Ibid., p. 297.
8
See James 11. Cox's "Yankee Slang," the ninth chapter of his book The Fate of Humor (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1966), pp. 198-221; the section on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in Philip Foner's Mark Twain: A Social Critic (New York: International Publishers Co., Inc., 1958), pp. 103-115; and Robert Wilson's "Malory in The Connecticut Yankee," Texas University Studies in Literature, XXVII, 185-206.
9
Like Clemens, several American reviewers seem to have been influenced by criticism such as Matthew Arnold's on America; see, for example, Sylvester Baxter's review for the Boston Sunday Herald, William Dean Howell's for Harper's Magazine, and an unsigned review for the Plumas National, all contained in Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage, ed. Frederick Anderson (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971), on pages 148-152, 152-156, and 174-176, respectively.
10 Included in this group are Henry Nash Smith's Mark Twain's Fable
of Progress: Political and Economic Ideas in "A Connecticut Yankee"
(New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964); Roger Salomon's chapter entitled "The Fall of Prometheus: A Connecticut Yankee" in






84


his book Twain and the Image of History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), pp. 95-132; Richard Rust's article on "Americanisms in A Connecticut Yankee," SAB, 33, iii, 11-13; Allan Guttmann's "Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee: Affirmation of the Vernacular Traditionll NEQ, XXXII, 232-237; and Pascal Covici's section on A Connecticut Yankee in Mark Twain's Humor: The Image of a World (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1962), pp. 91-109.
11 This is seen in Gladys Bellamy's Mark Twain as a Literary Artist

(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950), p. 309; Charles Holmes's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Mark Twain's Fable of Uncertainty," SAQ, LXI, 462-472; Gerald Allen's "Mark Twain's Yankee," NEQ, XXXIX, 435-446; and the sixth chapter of Robert Wiggins's Mark Twain: Jackleg Novelist (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964), pp. 72-82.
12
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1917), XrVI, 65-66. *Further references to this novel will be cited in the text. Pages 195-202 of Mark Twain's Notebook contain numerous entries indicating Clemens's personal antipathy to these three institutions for their pretensions and abuses of power.
13 Mark Twain's Notebook, ed. A. B. Paine (New York: Harper &

Brothers, 1935), p. 198.
14
Ibid., p. 199; my italics.
15 Another good example of this dependence on prayer is contained
on page 57 of the novel, which contains a description of the English population's reaction to Hank's eclipse. Still other examples of the sixth-century belief in the efficacy of prayer are contained on pages 37, 187, and 345.

Another reference, to 'the grace and providence of God," is contained on page 297. And the report carried on page 379 shows an understanding of the relationship between prayer and God's control. Finally, the discussion of insurance on pages 268-269 illustrates the traditional belief of the medieval Church that nothing happens by accident but that all is part of the mysterious and hidden plan of the all-wise Providence.
17 History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne, 3rd ed.,
rev. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895), 1, 141-142.
18 Also see page 101, where the Church explains the pitiful condition of freemen and the flourishing state of Church, monarchy, and nobility as "ordained of God"; pages 264-265, where the Church uses lithe chastening hand of God" to justify the chaos created by ecclesiastical and aristocratic institutions; and pages 268-269 where the Church opposes insurance as "an insolent attempt to hinder the decrees of God."
19 An indication of the relative unimportance of religion is suggested in Hank's remark on the necessities of a new country: "The first thing you want in a new country, is a patent office; then work up your school system; and after that, out with your paper" (p. 72).






85


20The concept of providence precludes the idea of accidents.

21
Although Hank might appear to be facetious here, he really did think that his coming to sixth-century England would be a benefit to the general population of the kingdom. See, for example, his description of the civilization he was building, on pages 77-81, or his explanation of the benefits of this civilization as it developed after he defeated knight-errantry, on pages 360-362.
22
A History of Christianity (New York: Harper & Row, 1953), p. 369.
23
Images or Shadows of Divine Things, ed. Perry Miller (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), p. 54.
24 Note that either Hank or an impartial observer applies the term 11miracle" to each of these incidents; see pages 60-61, 196 and 240 as well as page 44.
25
Significantly, Clemens had written the following to Orion in
January, 1889: "All the other wonderful inventions of the human brain sink pretty nearly into commonplace contrasted with this awful mechanical miracle" (Mark Twain's Letters, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine [New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 19171, 11, 508). In spite of his optimistic public statements, Clemens realized that the continual delays and predictable breakdowns could ultimately spell disaster. As Kaplan points out on page 330 of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain,, "the writer Mark Twain saw omens of disaster long before the promoter Mark Twain, who all his life believed that he was lucky and also, like inventors and prophets in general, maintained a mulish faith that despite constant delays and breakdowns his machine would turn up trumps eventually. 'I want to finish the day the machine finishes,' he kept saying of the new book, acknowledging a magical kinship between a writer writing words and a machine setting them in type. Yet he fatalistically accepted the fact that the life history of the machine would have to be written in terms of those delays and breakdowns. 'Experience teaches me that their calculations will miss fire, as usual,' he said of Paige and his workmen."
26
Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, p. 329. Also note that Hank finds himself in a secular version of heaven when his typeset newspaper is admired on pages 241-242 of A Connecticut Yankee.















CHAPTER V
PUDD'NHEAD WILSON



Even when it was.first published in 1894, Pudd'nhead Wilson caused a certain amount of disagreement among critics. On the one hand, William Livingston Alden insisted that "Pudd'nhead Wilson, Mark Twain's latest story, is the work of a novelist, rather than of a 'funny man.' There is plenty of humour in it of the genuine Mark Twain brand, but it is as a carefully painted picture of life in a Mississippi town in the days of slavery that its chief merit lies. In point of construction it is much the best story that Mark Twain has written, and of men and women in the book at least four are undeniably creations."1 Another revi ewer, however, felt that the characterization was really the only strength of the work: "And what has to be said about the book must be chiefly about the individuals in it, for the story in itself is not much credit to
2
Mark Twain's skill as a novelist." And still a third reviewer questioned whether the story was literature at all, much less an acceptable novel: "Pudd'nhead Wilson is ...admirable in atmosphere, local color and dialect, a drama in its way, full of powerful situations, thrilling even; but it cannot be called in any sense literature ... What is this? is it literature? is Mr. Clemens a 'writer' at all? must he not after all be described as an admirable after-dinner storyteller--humorous, imaginative, dramatic, like Dickens--who in an evil moment, urged by admiring friends, has put pen to paper and written down his stories?" 3

86






87


In view of this initial disagreement, then, it should not have been surprising that, when critics rediscovered Pudd'nhead Wilson some sixty years later, they would fail to agree on its meaning, its significance, and its merit. Instead, as with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, commentators have applied a wide variety of critical approaches, and within these approaches have displayed quite divergent opinions, in an effort to understand and to judge Pudd'nhead Wilson.

A quite popular approach, and one which provides a typical illustration of the critical disagreement over Pudd'nhead Wilson, is based on the element of determinism in the novel. One prominent critic, Gladys Bellamy, has written that Clemens "works out two kinds of determinism," heredity and environment or training, in Pudd'nhead Wilson. 4But a number of other critics feel that actually it is only environmental determinism that causes both the false and the true Tom Driscoll, as well as the rest of the characters in this novel, to behave as they
5
do. And Henry Nash Smith seems to have offered a possible resolution to this apparent conflict when, in explaining the similarity of Pudd'nhead Wilson to "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" and The Mysterious Stranger, he wrote: "The themes [of the three] are all connected with the notion of training--the shaping of the personality by society, a process that for Mark Twain embraced the cumulative social pressure he called heredity

(my italics). Training constantly threatens and often annihilates personal identity, the ultimate me, especially by implanting in the individual the sense of guilt, or moral sense, or conscience."

Determinism, of course, is only one angle of vision from which

to view Pudd'nhead Wilson. Other themes center on the effect of slavery and its supporting institutions on the ante-bellum South of Clemens's






88


youth; 7on the issue of appearance versus reality as it relates to the determination of identity; 8on the supposedly complementary ideas of property and popularity-power; 9and on Dawson' s Landing as lawless
10
wilderness. And, in addition to the thematic approach, critics have devoted studies to tracing and explaining various fictive techniques, 11
devices, and elements of this novel.

But perhaps the most significant disagreement, and a major cause of the variety of critical approaches and opinions as well, involves the quality of fiction Clemens produced with Pudd'nhead Wilson. George M. Spangler made a similar observation when he wrote the following: "The striking lack of agreement about the merits of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson is unquestionably related to the equally striking disagreements over interpretation of the novel, related in the crucial sense that all the thematic analyses so far presented leave important 12
aspects of the novel unaccounted for." Therefore, a number of critics

argue that it is obvious, once the appropriate interpretive key is realized, that Pudd'nhead Wilson is not a flawed but rather a masterly novel. 13Still other critics argue that, although flawed, Pudd'nhead 14
Wilson is still a great novel. And finally, there are those critics

who argue against the greatness of Puddtnhead Wilson because of its flawed condition.

In all of this discussion of the novel, however, even those critics who have recognized the flawed nature of Pudd'nhead Wilson may have failed to realize the central cause for this condition. Henry Nash Smith, for example, did suggest the central problem--lack of control-when he wrote: "While this deed [of Tom selling his own mother, Roxy, down the river] is not inconsistent with Tom's character, it does not






89


belong to the imaginative fabric of the novel or even to its ideological structure; it represents the infection by stereotypes from popular fiction and the theater to which Mark Twain was always exposed when he lost control of his materials." 16 But even Smith failed to look beyond this pervasive flaw to its cause, which may well be the reduced role the concept of providence plays in Pudd'nhead Wilson. In The Prince and the Pauper, the strict and effective authorial control of the fictive world mirrors the control of Providence in the larger world. In Pudd'nhead Wilson, conversely, the loss of authorial control which Smith noted can be seen as a reflection of the continued diminishment of the providential concept in Clemens's fiction.

The disintegration of the providential concept as a viable thematic element is initially suggested by the fact that there is little formal religious observance or sincere Christian practice in Dawson's Landing. John M. Brand pointed to this fact when he wrote: "Here is a chilling look at life in the Secular City, where we experience the anguish of an age lacking not only such giants as Bumppo and Bush, but also the 17
gods Cooper envisioned underlying even the savage wilderness." Instead, there are a number of well-defined substitutes for the religious institution--and its familiar doctrines such as that of providential control--in Dawson's Landing.

The most obvious substitute is of course the "cult of Southern

aristocracy," as Arlin Turner referred to it. There are four prominent .members of this cult when the story begins: Colonel Cecil Burleigh Essex, Pembroke Howard, Percy Northumberland Driscoll, and the chief representative of the F. F. V. in Dawson's Landing, Judge York Leicester Driscoll. These men lived, and were willing to die, primarily for one






90


thing--to uphold the "gentlemanly" traditions which def ined their role and status in the community; the narrator points this out early when describing Judge Driscoll: "He was very proud of his old Virginia ancestry, and in his hospitalities and his rather formal and stately manners he kept up its traditions. He was fine and just and generous. To be a gentleman--a gentleman without stain or blemish--was his only religion, and to it he was always faithful." 18

But this ideal of gentlemanly conduct was not without its unchristian aspects. The most obvious was of course slavery, which was supported by the members of the F. F. V. in Dawson's Landing. The reconciliation of the inherently cruel practice of keeping slaves with the concept of being "a fine and just and generous" gentleman illustrates how the aristocratic code of the F. F. V. could function as an ethical substitute for Christian doctrine. For example, when Percy Driscoll decides to sell his slaves in Dawson's Landing for stealing "a couple of dollars" from him, rather thanselling them down' the river as he had originally threatened, he narrow-mindedly views this as a virtuous act: "They were sincere, for like a god he had stretched forth his mighty hand and closed the gates of hell against them. He knew, himself, that he had done a noble and gracious thingand was privately well pleased with his magnanimity; and that night he set the incident down in his diary, so that his son might read it in after years, and be thereby moved to deeds of gentleness and humanity himself" (pp. 28-29).

Still another questionable aspect of the gentlemanly code was the practice of dueling. According to the code by which members of the F. F. V. lived, duels were necessary for preserving personal and family honor. The narrator indicates the importance given to honor when he





91


comments as follows: "Honor stood first; and the laws [making up the code] defined what it was and wherein it differed in certain details from honor as defined by church creeds and by the social laws and customs of some of the minor divisions of the globe that got crowded out when' the sacred .boundaries of Virginia got staked out" (p. 116). And in any battle between the antagonistic traditions of aristocracy and Christianity, the latter always loses where members of the F. F. V. are concerned: "These laws required certain things of him which his religion might forbid: then his religion must yield--the laws could not be relaxed to accommodate religions or anything else" (p. 116).

Of course, not all of the townspeople in Dawson' s Landing openly admit to or actively participate in such irreligiosity. But even those who do not worship directly at the temple of aristocracy still agree to its tenets. This is first indicated in an early description of Dawson's Landing, when the narrator points out that the basis of the town's economy is slavery. And it is later affirmed by the reaction of the townspeople to the duel fought between Judge Driscoll and Luigi Capello: "The people took more pride in the duel than in all of the other events put together, perhaps. It was a glory to their town to have such a thing happen there. In their eyes the principals had reached the summit of human honor. Everybody paid homage to their names; their praises were in all mouths. Even the duelists' subordinates came in for a handsome share of the public approbation: whereupon Pudd'nhead Wilson was suddenly become a man of consequence" (pp.1145-146).

The "cult of Southern aristocracy," practiced by the members of the F. F. V. and approved by the townspeople, is not the only false religion practiced in Dawson's Landing, though. Another notable






92


replacement for Christian doctrine and practice is Mammonism. Much of the novel revolves around acquisition. One image that emphasizes this principle, simply because it seems so out of character, is that of Judge Driscoll counting his money each evening, an image which David Wilson suggests while presenting his case at the concluding trial of the novel. 19

An even clearer image of the effect materialism has on Christian doctrine and practice in Dawson's Landing is presented through the character of Roxy, however. Materialistic values have taken firm root in Roxy's soul. Consequently, she corrupts the providential tradition by continually putting this concept to the use of her materialistic goals. This is first evident when she justifies thievery by linking it to this basic Christian concept: "[Roxyl was gone; but she came back, by and by, with the news of the grand reception at Patsy Cooper's, and soon persuaded ["Tom"] that the opportunity was like a special providence, it was so inviting and perfect. So he went raiding, after all, and made a nice success of it while everybody was gone to Patsy Cooper's" (P. 95). Still another example of Roxy's tendency to justify her materialism by applying Christian trappings to it occurs just a bit later, when she attempts to restore the false Tom Driscoll's flagging courage: "Den you's all right. If [Judge Driscoll] don't die in six months, dat don't make no diff'rence-Providence'll provide" (p. 144). 20 As these incidents suggest, then, Roxy's materialism cannot be viewed simply as, in Spangler's words, "her temporary acceptance of Tom's standards." 21 Rather, she had, up until her final repentance at the end of the novel, an aggrandizing nature developed independent of Tom's influence. For example, the fact that she hadn't stolen Percy Driscoll's 11couple of dollars" was the result of a very temporary religious fervor:




93


"Then she covered the tempter with a book, and another member of the kitchen cabinet got it. She made this sacrifice as a matter of religious etiquette; as a thing necessary just now, [only a fortnight after she 'got religion' at a revival,] but by no means to be wrested into a precedent; no, a week or two would limber up her piety, then she would be rational again, and the next two dollars that got left out in the cold would find a comforter--and she could name the comforter" (pp. 2627). And the possibility for an exchange of the infants, Tom and Chambers, resulted from Roxy dressing her own son in the finery of his master. While this exchange was made initially to preserve her baby from ever being "sold down the river," Roxy ultimately recognizes the material value of the deed. So when she returns to Dawson's Landing after eight years as a chambermaid aboard "a Cincinnati boat in the New Orleans trade," and discovers that her Tom has been disinherited, she is bitterly dejected:

"Dissenwhiched him?"
"Dissenhurrit him."
"What's dat? What do it mean?"
"Mean's he bu'sted de will."
"Bu's--ted de will! He wouldn't ever treat him so!
Take it back, you mis'able imitation nigger dat I bore
in sorrow en tribbilation."
Roxy's pet castle--an occasional dollar from Tom's
pocket--was tumbling to ruin before her eyes. She could
not abide such a disaster as that; she couldn't endure
the thought of it (p. 72).

Ultimately, though, "an occasional dollar" will satisfy neither her wounded pride nor her materialistic nature. For when Tom contemptuously refuses Roxy's request for "on'y jis one little dol[lar]," she begins to extract a return from the investment she had made in that exchange of 22
babies over some twenty years. And it is significant that, in addition to the show of filial affection and respect she requires of her son,23




Full Text
59
Huck receives other gifts of this sort during the course of the
novel. For example, soon after his escape from his father he receives
some bread which even the skeptical Huck believes is providentially
sent: "I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a log,
munching the bread and watching the ferry-boat, and very well satisfied.
And then something struck me. I says, now I reckon the widow or the
parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it
has gone and done it. So there ain't no doubt but there is something
in that thingthat is, there's something in it when a body like the
widow or the parson prays" (p. 62). And on at least four other occa
sions Huck uses a skiff, raft, or similar conveyance to escape danger,
though those vessels don't always appear so suddenly or mysteriously.
19
"The Structure of Huckleberry Finn," p. 75.
20
The coincidence is emphasized by the fact that Jim, a runaway
slave seeking free territory, is still on the island several days after
he initially arrived, almost as if he were waiting for his moral protege.
And several critics have noted that Jim plays a principal role in Huck's
moral development. For example, Kenneth Lynn, in selections from Hark
Twain and Southwestern Humor, reprinted in the Norton edition of
Huckleberry Finn, p. 426, wrote: "But while Jim's relationship to
Huck is fatherly in the sense that he constantly is correcting and
admonishing the boy, forever telling him some new truth about the
world, he is identified even more unmistakably as Huck's father by the
love that he gives him." And in "Black Magic and White in Huckleberry
Finn," also reprinted in the Norton edition of Huckleberry Finn, p. 402,
Daniel Hoffman was even more direct when he wrote that "Jim is now free
to take the place that Pap was never worthy to hold as Huck's spiritual
father."
21
Note first that Huck had conveniently found this same knife just
a little before he has such extreme need for one and secondly that
Packard and Bill providentially suffer the same fate that they had
planned for the third robber, Jim Turner.
22
Another example of such good fortune occurs when the lightning
propitiously glares just as Peter Wilks's coffin is opened to reveal
the lost bag of gold, thus distracting Huck's captors and allowing him
the opportunity to escape: "All of a sudden the lightning let go a
perfect sluice of white glare, and somebody sings out: 'By the living
jingo, here's the bag of gold on his breast!' Hines let out a whoop,
like everybody else, and dropped my wrist and give a big surge to bust
his way in and get a look, and the way I lit out and shinned for the
road in the dark there ain't nobody can tell" (pp. 265-266).
23
Another coincidence, although not so incredible, is the fact
that, as Huck luckily anticipated, Tom Sawyer arrives on the very next
boat that landssignificantly, he is several days lateafter Huck had
appeared at the Phelps's. Through this fortunate bit of timing, Huck
is enabled to head off Tom and thus maintain his disguise and his plan
to rescue Jim.


101
This autography consists of the delicate lines or
corrugations with which Nature marks the insides of
the hands and the soles of the feet" (pp. 212-213).
Then he demonstrates the connection between this science and the present
case:
"I have the finger-prints of the court, the sheriff,
and every member of the jury. There is hardly a
person in this room, white or black, whose natal sig
nature I cannot produce, and not one of them can so
disguise himself that I cannot pick him out from a
multitude of his fellow creatures and unerringly
identify him by his hands" (p. 215).
And finally, after carefully detailing the sequence of steps which led
to his discovery, he discloses the results of his scientific investiga
tion:
"The murderer of your friend and mineYork Driscoll
of the generous hand and kindly spiritsits in among
you. Valet de Chambre, negro and slave,falsely
called Thomas a Becket Driscollmake upon the window
the finger-prints that will hang you!" (p. 221).
While this recognition scene functions traditionally to reestablish
the proper roles, the real Thomas a Becket Driscoll becomes white and
free once more and Valet de Chambre returns to his black slavehood,
after twenty-three yearsit does so at the expense of moral growth
and development. True enough, society would seem to benefit from the
discovery of Judge Driscoll's true murderer. But Wilson's revelation
that "Tom Driscoll's" fingerprints mark him as both the assassin of
Judge Driscoll and the negro slave Valet de Chambre simply serves to
obscure the real canker which troubles Dawson's Landing. For just as
that one part of "nigger" in him can cause Tom to feel inferior when
he discovers his true parentage, and just as Roxy can blame her son's
cowardice on "de nigger" in him, so also can the residents of Dawson's
Landing use that 1/32 part of Tom as the cause, rather than the symptom,


132
"Mark Twain's Masks of Satan: The Final Phase." American
Literature, 45 (1973), [206]226.
Brooks, Van Wyck. The Ordeal of Mark Twain. Rev. ed. New York: E. P.
Dutton & Co., Inc., 1933; reprint ed., New York: Meridian Books,
1955.
Brown, Clarence. "Huckleberry Finn: A Study in Structure and Point of
View." Mark Twain Journal, 12 (Summer 1964), 10-15, 5.
Brown, Spencer. "Huckleberry Finn for Our Time: A Re-Reading of the
Concluding Chapters." Michigan Quarterly Review, 6 (1967), 41-46.
Budd, Louis. Mark Twain: Social Philosopher. Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1962.
Bushnell, Horace. Nature and the Supernatural as Together Constituting
the One System of God. New York: Charles Scribner, 1858.
Chapin, Harry B. "Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, Chapter VI." Explicator,
21 (April 1963), Item 61.
Chase, Richard. The American Novel and Its Tradition. Garden City,
N. Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, Inc., 1957.
Chellis, Barbara. "Those Extraordinary Twins: Negroes and Whites."
American Quarterly, 21 (1969), 100-112.
Clemens, Cyril. Mark Twain's Religion. Webster Groves, Mo.: Webster
Printing and Stationery Company, 1935.
Clemens, Samuel Langhorne. The Autobiography of Mark Twain. Ed. Charles
Neider. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc., 1961.
. The Love Letters of Mark Twain. Ed. Dixon Wecter. New
York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1949.
. Mark Twain-Howells Letters: the Correspondence of Samuel L.
Clemens and William D. Howells, 1872-1910. Eds. Henry Nash Smith
and William M. Gibson. 2 Vols. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press, 1960.
. Mark Twain's Fables of Man. Ed. John S. Tuckey; text
established by Kenneth M. Sanderson and Bernard L. Stein. The
Mark Twain Papers. Ed. Frederick Anderson. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1972.
. Mark Twain's Letters. Arranged with comment by Albert
Bigelow Paine. 2 Vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers,
1917.
. Mark Twain's Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts. Ed. William M.
Gibson. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970.


74
then by the King, to face Sir Sagraraour le Desirous, along with Merlin,
and finally the massed chivalry of England. In defeating all these,
Hank insists that "knight-errantry was a doomed institution. The March
of Civilization was begun" (p. 359). And so he feels secure in declaring
the beginning of a new era, his era: "When I broke the back of knight-
errantry that time, I no longer felt obliged to work in secret. So,
the very next day I exposed my hidden schools, my mines, and my vast
system of clandestine factories and workshops to an astonished world.
That is to say, I exposed the nineteenth century to the inspection of
the sixth" (p. 360). Hank has now reached the apex of his control over
sixth-century England.
With the Roman Catholic Church exerting the predominant influence,
providence was not a spiritually viable concept. With Hank Morgan in
control, the concept would be weakened further. For Hank Morgan came
to deliver the gospel of an industrialized society. This is obvious
from the religious fervor with which he describes his projects: "In
various quiet nooks and corners I had the beginnings of all sorts of
industries under waynuclei of future vast factories, the iron and
steel missionaries of my future civilization" (p. 77; my italics).
And Hank functions not merely as the prophet of that promised state,
but as its BOSS. As such, he is the earthly analogue to "the heavenly
despot": "Unlimited power _i£ the ideal thing when it is in safe hands.
The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An
earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government,
if the conditions were the same, namely, the despot the perfectest in
dividual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. ... My
works showed what a despot could do with the resources of a kingdom at


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTER I: THE PROVIDENTIAL BACKGROUND 1
Notes 16
CHAPTER II: THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER 20
Notes 34
CHAPTER III: ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN 37
Notes 57
CHAPTER IV: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT 62
Notes 83
CHAPTER V: PUDD'NHEAD WILSON 86
Notes 104
CHAPTER VI: THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 110
Notes 120
CHAPTER VII: CONCLUSION: A FAILURE TO ADAPT 124
BIBLIOGRAPHY 130
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 144
v


100
in the unfolding of the plot, are seen as the work of an active Provi
dence. On the other hand, the plot of Pudd'nhead Wilson largely chroni
cles the fall of the false Tom Driscoll and the related rise of Pudd'nhead
Wilson. But in neither case do we see any moral growth or the concomitant
social benefit of the earlier novel; Brand perceived this lack of change
as follows: "There can be no abiding constructive change in Wilson's
world, because there is no center to fix it to, no Divine Law serving
as the source and pattern of societal law. But even if such Law existed,
it is doubtful that even Wilson, the best of his community, would have
30
eyes to see and the will to apply it." We would not expect to see
the hand of God at work through the traditional pattern of fortuitous
accidents and timely rescues in Pudd'nhead Wilson. There is, of course,
the incident in which Tom "accidentally" puts his fingerprints on one
of Pudd'nhead's glass slides and thus reveals himself as the murderer
of Judge Driscoll. While this initially seems to fall within the scope
of the "Murder will out" tradition, it later becomes evident that no
moral or social benefits are derived from this revelation. Therefore,
it is clear that Providence has not been working here.
Nor do we see the hand of God in the recognition scene, an essen
tial part of the providential tradition. Rather, we see the work of a
careful and painstaking scientific detective. This fact is obvious
from Wilson's presentation in court. First he explains the science of
fingerprints:
"Every human being carries with him from his cradle to
his grave certain physical marks which do not change
their character, and by which he can always be identi
fiedand that without shade of doubt or character.
These marks are his signature, his physiological auto
graph, so to speak, and this autograph cannot be coun
terfeited, nor can he disguise it or hide it away, nor
can it become illegible by the wear or mutations of
time. . .


14
as he approaches his death in The Prairie: "Ah's me! if I could choose
a change in the orderings of Providencewhich I cannot, and which it
would be blasphemy to attempt, seeing that all things are governed by
a wiser mind than belongs to mortal weaknessbut if I could choose a
change, it would be to say, that such as they who have lived long to
gether in friendship and kindness . should be permitted to give up
life at such times, as when the death of one leaves the other but little
41
reason to live. Perhaps even more significant than Natty s personal de
pendence on the concept of providence is the fact that Cooper's narrative
personae consistently offer a providential explanation of the world.
An example is provided by the narrator of The Deerslayer when he says:
"Little did Deerslayer know, while thus indulging in feelings that were
so natural to man, and so in accordance with his own unsophisticated and
just principles, that, in the course of the inscrutable Providence which
so uniformly and yet so mysteriously covers all events with its mantle,
the very fault he was disposed so severely to censure, was to be made
42
the means of determining his own earthly fate." Cooper, then, depends
on the concept of providence as an important thematic element in his
fiction.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose work Clemens was familiar enough with
to classify him with Howells, Motley, and Holmes for his fine and pure
43
English, provides examples of still another way in which the idea of
providence might be applied to fictional uses. Hawthorne was primarily
interested in "man's accidents," or the events which occur in the every
day world, in his fiction; but he was interested in these events because
they provide the only insight man has into "God's purposes," as James K.
Folsom indicated when he wrote about the importance of Providence for
Hawthorne:


24
Yet all of his earlier works utilizing the idea of providential
care and concern seem to serve only as a preparation for The Prince and
the Pauper, which marks Clemens's fullest use of the providential
concept as a structural and thematic element. Clemens had long since
abandoned the formal observance of his religion when, on November 23,
1877, he made the following entry in a notebook: "Edward VI and a
little pauper exchange places by accident a day or so before Henry VIII's
death. The Prince wanders in rags and hardships and the pauper suffers
(to him) horrible miseries of princedom, up to the moment of crowning
in Westminster Abbey, when proof is brought and the mistake rectified."
As Howard Baetzhold has shown, Clemens owed much to Charlotte M. Yonge's
The Little Duke (1854) for the idea expressed in this notation. But
Albert Stone has indicated that Clemens owed an even larger debt to
Yonge; according to Stone, it was from Yonge that Clemens took the re-
8
ligious atmosphere that pervades The Prince and the Pauper. It is
this religious atmosphere that, in spite of the fact that The Prince and
the Pauper can be read on the level of children's literature, supports
9
the moral seriousness of this novel. And without this religious aura,
it is unlikely that the concept of providence could function as effec
tively as it does in the novel.
The earliest indication that Clemens did in fact use the tradi
tional concept of providence in The Prince and the Pauper is contained
in the supposed historical document which precedes the story proper.
In this letter, the Bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer, suggests that
the birth of the Prince of Wales is but another example of the special
providence England enjoys when he writes the following: "Gode gyffe us
alie grace, to yelde dew thankes to our Lorde Gode, Gode of Inglonde,


80
expertise allowed him to use. And this is true of the other "miracles"
that occur in this novel. The "miracle" that destroys Merlin's tower
results from blasting powder detonated by lightning striking a light
ning rod embedded in one of the batches of powder. The "miracle" which
saw the Holy Fountain filled again depended on stone and mortar, a little
iron pump and Greek fire, rockets, gunpowder, and a small electrical
battery. And the "miracle" which produced the Camelot Weekly Hosannah
24
and Literary Volcano was effected by the printing process. So Hank
feels that he can serve as an earthly and technologically based analogue
of Frovidence, and those "miracles" which enhance his power do affect
the structural as well as the thematic use of the providential concept
in A Connecticut Yankee.
But Hank is mistaken, ultimately, about the extent of his power.
In spite of his early caution, he had finally failed to gauge adequately
the cunning and the strength of the Established Church. And so he was
defeated by the Interdict and by the superstition of those whom he tried
to free:
"The Church is master now. The Interdict included
you with Mordred; it is not to be removed while you re
main alive. The clans are gathering. The Church has
gathered all the knights that are left alive, and as
soon as you are discovered we shall have business on
our hands.
When those knights come, those establishments [Hank
has set up] will empty themselves and go over to the
enemy. Did you think you had educated the supersti
tion out of those people?" (p. 380).
But his defeat comes at "The Battle of the Sand-Belt," which pro
vides the resolution of the action. In the typical providential novel,
the resolution of the book provides an opportunity for justice finally
to prevail, with the reward of the good and the punishment of the evil.


CHAPTER I
THE PROVIDENTIAL BACKGROUND
"As used in religion, Providence is understood in a theistic
sense to denote the care of God for His creatures, His general super
vision over them, and the ordering of the whole course of things for
their good."'' The development of the providential concept, although
closely connected to the rise of Christianity, actually pre-dates the
Christian era. As a philosophical concept, it appeared at least 350
years before Christ's birth; Paul Tillich noted this when he wrote the
following in A History of Christian Thought: "The fourth point in which
the Platonic tradition was important was its idea of providence. This
seems to us to be a Christian idea, but it was already formulated by
Plato in his later writings. It was a tremendous attempt to overcome
2
the anxiety of fate and death in the ancient world." And as a religious
concept, providence was a well-established part of the Judaic tradition
3
into which Christ was born. Thus, the providential concept cannot be
originally ascribed to Christianity; nevertheless, it has been central
to the thought and practice of Christianity from the initial founding
of this religion. This is evident throughout the New Testament, which
W. T. Davison considers "continuous with the OT, but its doctrine of
4
Providence is more minute, more personal, more tender. Further evi
dence for the centrality of this doctrine is provided by the early
Churchmen who commented on or interpreted these Scriptures, or who
1


138
Leavis, F. R. "Mark Twain's Neglected Classic: The Moral Astringency
of Pudd'nhead Wilson." Commentary, 21 (February 1956), 128-136.
Lecky, W. E. H. History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne.
3rd ed., rev. 2 vols. New York:, D. Appleton and Company, 1895.
Leiter, Louis. "Dawson's Landing: Thematic Cityscape in Twain's Pudd'n-
head Wilson." Mark Twain Journal, 13 (Winter 1965-66), 8-11.
Levy, Leo B. "Society and Conscience in Huckleberry Finn." Nineteenth-
Century Fiction, 18 (1964), 383-391.
Lewis, Stuart A. "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Election." Mark Twain's Journal,
15 (Winter 1969-70), 21.
The Library of Christian Classics. 26 Vols. Philadelphia: The West
minster Press, 1960. Vol. 20: Calvin's Institutes of the Christian
Religion, by John Calvin. Ed. John T. McNeill; trans. Ford Lewis
Battles.
Long, E. Hudson. Mark Twain Handbook. New York: Hendricks House, Inc.,
1957.
Lorch, Fred W. "Hawaiian Feudalism and Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee
in King Arthur's Court." American Literature, 30 (1958), 50-66.
Lynn, Kenneth. "You Can't Go Home Again." Chapter X, Sections iii, vii
and viii of Mark Twain and Southwestern Humor. Boston: Little,
Brown & Co., 1959; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An
Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism.
Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 421-436.
McKee, John DeWitt. "A Connecticut Yankee as a Revolutionary Document."
Mark Twain Journal, 12 (Summer 1964), 18-20, 24.
McKeithan, D. M. "The Trial of Luigi Capello in Pudd'nhead Wilson."
Court-Trials in Mark Twain and Other Essays. The Hague, Nether
lands: Martimus Nijhoff, 1958, pp. 26-40.
Manniere, William R. "Huck Finn, Empiricist Member of Society." Modern
Fiction Studies, 14 (1968), 57-66.
. "Parallel Scenes in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn." CEA Critic,
30 (November 1967), 1, 4, 6-7.
Marx, Leo. "Mr Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn." The American
Scholar, 22 (1953), 423-440; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:
An Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism.
Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 328-341.


52
and socially acceptable happy ending planned for him; Richard Adams
suggested this when he wrote: "This aspect of the conclusion is exactly
right. It would have been wrongimpossible in factfor Clemens to
bring the story to a stop, as he might have tried to do by having Huck
accept the moral values of society and return to it uncritically as a
30
'happy ending.'" Neither providential nor genteel expectations are
fully met at the very end of Huckleberry Finn.
This tentativeness at the very end may provide a key to the ap
parently faulty ending of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Prince
and the Pauper was praised by critics because it presented conventional
material and used traditional techniques and devices based on the pat
terns of the providential novel. Clemens wrote according to this formula
to impress and win the acceptance of the genteel audience of Nook Farm
in particular and of the Eastern literary establishment in general. In
Huckleberry Finn, however, Clemens began to move away from a traditional
formula with his principal character; Linda Hood Talbott suggested this
change when she wrote: "In Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain's
perspective on man would change, as his characterization of Huck de
veloped. As the 'pen warmed up in hell' satirized the ante-bellum South,
Twain, the humorist, would move toward his later view of the damned
human race. And as Huck, the boy with 'as good a heart as ever any boy
had,' struggled with his conscience, Mark Twain would struggle with his.
In the course of this struggle, Mark Twain's perspective would reach
midstreamand the riverboat pilot would chart the course which his later
31
work would follow." Even though he had begun to ignore the require
ments of a genteel audience, Clemens was not yet willing to reject the
stable and proven literary formula totally, however. He was truly


49
27
t the hell of conventional morality. His disguises having served
their purpose, therefore, Huck's true identity is revealed during the
/
denouement of the novel; Aunt Polly provides the requisite explanations
which return everyoneincluding Huckto his proper identity and/or
role when she arrives at the Phelps's farm:
Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the
head off of her, and cried over her, and I found a
good enough place for me under the bed, for it was
getting pretty sultry for us, seemed to me. And I
peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt Polly
shook herself loose and stood there looking across
at Tom over her spectacleskind of grinding him
into the earth, you know. And then she says:
"Yes, you better turn y'r head awayI would if
I was you, Tom."
"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "is he changed
so? Why, that ain't Tom, it's Sid; Tom'swhy, where
is Tom? He was here a minute ago."
"You mean where's Huck Finnthat's what you mean!
I reckon I ain't raised such a scamp as my Tom all
these years not to know him when I see him. That
would be a pretty howdy-do. Come out from under that
bed, Huck Finn." 2g
So I done it. But not feeling brash (p. 370).
Clemens used the structural devices and techniques of the provi
dential novel through the first two-thirds of Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn. Therefore, it is natural to assume that he would have continued
this dependency on the providential concept through the final, contro
versial section of the novel. And to an extent, he does. In addition
to the recognition scene just discussed, there is the typical providen
tial bestowal of rewards and punishments at the end of the tale. This
is first seen in the tar-and-feathering of the Duke and the Dauphin:
I told Tom all about the Royal Nonesuch rapscallions,
and as much of the raft voyage as I had time to; and
as we struck into the town and up through the middle
of itit was as much as half-after eight thenhere
comes a raging rush of people with torches, and an
awful whooping and yelling, and banging tin pans and
blowing horns; and we jumped to one side to let them


45
He sprung to the window at the head of the bed,
and that give Mrs. Phelps the chance she wanted. She
stooped down quick at the foot of the bed and give me
a pull, and out I come; and when he turned back from
the window there she stood, a-beaming and a-smiling
like a house afire, and I standing pretty meek and
sweaty alongside. The old gentleman stared, and says:
"Why, who's that?"
"Who do you reckon 't is?"
"I hain't no idea. Who ^Ls it?"
"It's Tom Sawyer!" (pp. 289-290).
Huck has traveled over a thousand miles downriver; he wandered into
the unfamiliar southeastern Arkansas countryside in an attempt to lo
cate and hopefully to steal Jim from an unknown family; and he has, by
the most unimaginable of chances, been mistaken for his closest com
panion and thus escaped detection once more in his bid to achieve free-
23
dom. Incredible? No; Providential!
Huck, then, has been able to escape danger and detection con
tinually through an amazing series of fortuitous opportunities and co
incidences. However, Huck's adventures as he travels downriver do not
always turn out to his immediate advantage. The true benefit of a num
ber of "fortunate accidents" is only revealed when we see the moral
growth Huck ultimately attains. The first of these occurs when Huck
and Jim unknowingly pass Cairo. Critics have, of course, questioned
Clemens's carrying his two principal characters past their intended
destination into the deep South. Some have even wondered at the fact
that Jim did not simply cross over from Jackson's Island to the Illinois
shore in his bid for freedom. But these criticisms arerelevant only
if the primary purpose of Huck and Jim's trip really is escape. If,
as it seems to me, Clemens's real intention is to send Huck on a journey
to moral maturity, these objections are not valid. In fact, Huck re
quired the continued presence of Jim while they are in slave territory


71
That this conflict is present in A Connecticut Yankee is most obvious
when the Roman Catholic Church finally declares war on Hank Morgan,
named as "a revolutionary, a democratic, and a skeptical spirit" in the
Interdict. In such a situation, the concept of providence is used by
the Church to preclude "a revolutionary, a democratic, or a skeptical
spirit," while instilling a reverential one. This is evident throughout
the novel, especially when Hank mourns the fate of the captives in
Morgan le Fay's dungeon cells: "Consider it: among these forty-seven
captives there were five whose names, offenses, and dates of incarcera
tion were no longer known! One woman and four menall bent, and
wrinkled, and mind-extinguished patriarchs. They themselves had long
ago forgotten these details; at any rate they had vague theories about
them, nothing definite and nothing that they repeated twice in the same
way. The succession of priests whose office it had been to pray daily
with the captives and remind them that God had put them there, for some
wise purpose or other, and teach them that patience, humbleness, and sub
mission to oppression was what He loved to see in parties of a subordi
nate rank, had traditions about these poor old human ruins, but nothing
more" (p. 152; my italics). In A Connecticut Yankee, then, Clemens
indicated that the providential concept can be used as an instrument for
the suppression of the masses, and as a result can become spiritually
sterile.
An even more important influence in the undermining of the provi
dential concept, however, is the arch opponent and eventual victim of
the Established Church, Hank Morgan himself. While Hank recognizes
the secular tendencies of the Churchher desire for power and support
of the monarchic and aristocratic establishmentsand her resultant


39
schematization of life to achieve that aim." And two years later,
Eliot was even more insistent that the need to make Huck disappear makes
this conclusion appropriate when he stated: "But it is right that the
mood of the end of the book should bring us back to that of the begin-
7
ning." And he continued that, for "Huckleberry Finn, neither a tragic
nor a happy ending would be suitable. No worldly success or social
satisfaction, no domestic consummation would be worthy of him; a tragic
end also would reduce him to the level of those whom we pity. Huck
Finn must come from nowhere and be bound for nowhere. ... He has no
beginning and no end. Hence, he can only disappear; and his disappear
ance can only be accomplished by bringing forward another performer to
8
obscure the disappearance in a cloud of whimsicalities."
In response to Eliot's and Trilling's defense of the Phelps Farm
episode in Huckleberry Finn, Leo Marx devoted an entire article to dis
secting the weaknesses of the end of this novel. He wrote that "the
flimsy devices of plot, the discordant farcical tone, and the disinte
gration of the major characters all betray the failure of the ending.
These are not aspects merely of form in a technical sense, but of mean-
9
ing." For the ending fails to recognize and resolve satisfactorily
the essential issue of the journey down the riverthe quest for free
dom "from society and its imperatives." In contradiction to Mr. Eliot,
Marx in fact suggested that the only right ending for the novel would
be the failure of this quest; an unhappy ending is projected throughout
the novel and therefore demanded. As Marx stated it, "In any case, the
geography of the novel, the raft's powerlessness, the goodness and vul
nerability of Huck and Jim, all prefigure a conclusion quite different
in tone from that which Clemens gave us. . Through the symbols we
10
reach a truth which the ending obscures: the quest cannot succeed."


131
Baker, Sheridan. "Fielding's Amelia and the Materials of Romance."
Philological Quarterly, 41 (1962), 437-449.
Baldanza, Frank. "The Structure of Huckleberry Finn." American Litera
ture, 27 (1955), 347-355.
Banta, Martha. "Escape and Entry in Huckleberry Finn." Modern Fiction
Studies, 14 (1968), 79-91.
. "Rebirth or Revenge: The Endings of Huckleberry Finn and
The American." Modern Fiction Studies, 15 (1969), 191-207.
Battestin, Martin. The Moral Basis of Fielding's Art: A Study of Joseph
Andrews. Middleton, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1959.
. "'Tom Jones': The Argument of Design." The Augustan Milieu
Essays Presented to Louis Landa. Eds. Henry Knight Miller, Eric
Rothstein [and] G. S. Rousseau. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970,
pp. 289-320.
Beck, Warren. Huck Finn at Phelps Farm: An Essay in Defense of the Form
of Mark Twain's Novel. Archives des Lettres Modernes, Nos. 13-15.
Paris: Lettres Modernes, 1958. [31-p. pamphlet.]
Beckwith, C. A. "Providence." The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of
Religious Knowledge. Ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson. New York:
Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1911.
Bellamy, Gladys. Mark Twain as a Literary Artist. Norman: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1950.
Blair, Walter. Mark Twain & Huck Finn. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1962.
. "On the Structure of Tom Sawyer." Modern Philology, 37
(1939), 75-88.
Blues, Thomas. Mark Twain & the Community. Lexington: The University
of Kentucky Press, 1970.
Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation: 1620-1647. Ed. Samuel Eliot
Morison. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963.
Branch, Edgar M. "The Two Providences: Thematic Form in 'Huckleberry
Finn.'" College English, 11 (1950), 188-195.
Brand, John M. "The Incipient Wilderness: A Study of Puddnhead Wilson."
Western American Literature, 7 (1972), 125-134.
Brashear, Minnie. Mark Twain, Son of Missouri. Chapel Hill: The Uni
versity of North Carolina Press, 1934.
Brodwin, Stanley. "Blackness and the Adamic Myth in Mark Twain's Pudd'n-
head Wilson." Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 15 (1973),
167-176.


126
Unfortunately, when he made this discovery, he lacked a substitute for
the providential structure. Thus, following Ruck's decision to go to hell,
Clemens, not really knowing where to take his novel after this climactic
action, simply fell back on such conventional techniques as the recogni
tion scene and the distribution of rewards and punishments to end Huckle
berry Finn. But like Huck, he managed a breaklimited though it might
befrom the traditional happy ending anticipated for Huck by having
him reject the Phelps's and head West. The ending of the novel, which
has caused so much critical controversy, is therefore understandable
when we recognize that Clemens had discovered the inadequacy of the
providential tradition for his fiction but could not develop techniques
which would allow him to end this work more appropriately.
Clemens hoped to make a more definite break with the providential
tradition in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In this
novel, he attempted to replace the concept of providence with the secular
philosophy of Hank Morgan. But even this could not resolve his dilemma.
For ultimately Clemens realized that Hank Morgan, like James Paige, could
not produce the vital changes he had promised; Clemens's loss of faith
in the Paige typesetter and the destruction of Hank's various civiliza
tion factories are thus closely connected, in an ironic reversal of
the plan Clemens had to link the successful completion of A Connecticut
Yankee with the eventual perfection of the Paige typesetter. But,
though he finally recognized that Hank's technological secularism would
not satisfactorily replace the traditional ideological structures support
ing Providence, Clemens could not find suitable replacements for the
providential devices and techniques. So he ended up simply modifying
these devices and techniques. Thus, there are still miracles, though


97
under the influence of a recent revival at the beginning of the novel
and is a dispirited penitent by the conclusion of the book, her Method
ist "enthusiasm" normally serves quite secular goals. For example, she
misinterprets the Biblical story of Moses and the concept of predesti
nation to justify the exchange of her own and Percy Driscoll's son, in
effect condemning the real Thomas Becket Driscoll to a lifetime of
slavery:
"Now I's got it; now I member. It was dat ole nigger
preacher dat tole it, de time he come over fum Illinois
en preached in de nigger church. He said dey ain't no
body kin save his own selfcan't do it by faith, can't
do it by works, can't do it no way at all. Free grace
is de on'y way, en dat don't come fum nobody but jis'
de Lord; en he kin give it to anybody he please, saint
or sinnerhe don't kyer. He do jis' as he's a mineter.
He s'lect out anybody dat suit him, an put another one
in his place, en make de fust one happy forever en
leave t'other one to burn wid Satan. De preacher said
it was jist like dey done in Englan' one time, long
time ago. De queen she lef' her baby layin' aroun'
one day, en went out callin', en one of de niggers
roun' 'bout de place dat was 'mos' white, she come in
en see de chile layin' aroun', en tuck en put her
chile's clo'es on de queen's chile, en put de queen's
chile's clo'es on her own chile, en den lef' her own
chile layin' around' en tuck en toted de queen's chile
home to de nigger-quarter, en nobody ever foun' it out,
en her chile was de king bimeby, en sole de queen's
chile down de river one time when dey had to settle up
de estate. Dah, nowde preacher said it his own self,
en it ain't no sin, 'ca'se white folks done it. Dey
done ityes, dey done it; en not on'y jis' common white
folks nuther, but de biggest quality dey is in de whole
bilin'. Oh, I's so glad I 'member 'bout dat!" (pp. 34-
35),28
And, as already mentioned, Roxy does not hesitate to invoke Providence
as an aid to even more obviously evil purposes. Even so, Roxy is no
more hypocritical than the rest of those townspeople who even bother
about organized religion. For instance, Judge Driscoll's wife and his
widowed sister, along with Pembroke Howard, are noted Presbyterians in
Dawson's Landing. But their piety is undercut by the fact that they all


87
In view of this initial disagreement, then, it should not have
been surprising that, when critics rediscovered Pudd'nhead Wilson some
sixty years later, they would fail to agree on its meaning, its signi
ficance, and its merit. Instead, as with A Connecticut Yankee in King
Arthur's Court, commentators have applied a wide variety of critical
approaches, and within these approaches have displayed quite divergent
opinions, in an effort to understand and to judge Pudd'nhead Wilson.
A quite popular approach, and one which provides a typical illustra
tion of the critical disagreement over Pudd'nhead Wilson, is based on
the element of determinism in the novel. One prominent critic, Gladys
Bellamy, has written that Clemens "works out two kinds of determinism,"
4
heredity and environment or training, in Pudd'nhead Wilson. But a
number of other critics feel that actually it is only environmental
determinism that causes both the false and the true Tom Driscoll, as
well as the rest of the characters in this novel, to behave as they
5
do. And Henry Nash Smith seems to have offered a possible resolution
to this apparent conflict when, in explaining the similarity of Pudd'nhead
Wilson to "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg" and The Mysterious Stranger,
he wrote: "The themes [of the three] are all connected with the notion
of trainingthe shaping of the personality by society, a process that
for Mark Twain embraced the cumulative social pressure he called heredity
(my italics). Training constantly threatens and often annihilates
personal identity, the ultimate me, especially by implanting in the in-
,6
dividual the sense of guilt, or moral sense, or conscience."
Determinism, of course, is only one angle of vision from which
to view Pudd'nhead Wilson. Other themes center on the effect of slavery
and its supporting institutions on the ante-bellum South of Clemens's


48
king and the duke on the raft, is therefore essential to Huck's ulti
mate decision to oppose conventional morality and free Jim. Though
Huck himself would have been hard pressed to define any advantages he
received from his contact first with the Grangerfords and then with two
old con artists, the reader can see that these catalysts were necessary
if Huck was to free his superior intuitive perceptionsthe insights of
his basically good heartfrom the influence of his societally deformed
25
conscience.
In addition to the ultimately fortunate mishaps, the fortuitous
events, and the miraculous coincidences, Clemens also used another tradi
tional device of the providential novel in Huckleberry Finnthe recog
nition scene. From the time Huck creates the illusion of his own murder,
he lives in a world of disguises. To Mrs. Loftus, he is Sarah Mary
Williams and, when she pierces that disguise, George Peters. To the
Grangerfords, he is George Jackson. Then he becomes the unnamed, or
phaned owner of Jim to satisfy the curiosity of the Duke and the Dauphin.
At the Wilks's, he is the supposed valet of the false Harvey Wilks.
And at the last, in the most telling disguise of all, he becomes Tom
Sawyer. Throughout the story, then, Huck has assumed a wide variety
of disguises. As James Cox has pointed out, these disguises protect
26
Huck from physical and psychic harm. But even more important, they al
low him to wander freely through a variety of social situations in the
ante-bellum South, and therefore to penetrate the masks of his society.
And this has been an essential factor in Huck's growth as an independent
moral and ethical being. By seeing the South as it really is, he
finally reaches the point where he can reject its value systemby ac
cepting Jim as a fellow humanand suffer its subsequent condemnation


Hank Morgan gives way to an even more deterministic and in some ways
more chaotic world view.
Finally, there is the last stage of Clemens's literary career,
best represented by the nihilistic note of The Mysterious Stranger.
Here, the element of providence is not so much diminished as destroyed;
the concept of providential control is finally lost as a thematic and
structural device. Here, the central theme is that there is no con
trol of the universe. This message is reflected by the form; for
Clemens left only fragments and instructions that his biographer and
literary executor, Albert Bigelow Paine, might combine these fragments
in whatever manner he thought best. Thus, there can be no definitive
text mirroring the author's intentions in The Mysterious Stranger. Or
rather, the fragmentary nature of this work might be said to best re
flect Clemens's final intentions.
There is a central movement apparent in Clemens's major fiction,
therefore. It is the movement from the strict order of providential
guidance and control in his early works to the chaotic secularism of
his middle period to the orderless nihilism of the dream world Twain
created in his late fiction.
vii


129
serve. And his attempts and failures at such adaptation explain many
of the problems critics have raised about the novels of Samuel Clemens.


137
Hunter, J. Paul. "The 'Providence' Tradition." The Reluctant Pilgrim:
Defoe's Emblematic Method and Quest for Form. Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins Press, 1966, pp. 51-75.
Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman, Rev., D. D. Great Sermons by Great Preachers:
The Greatest Sermons by the Greatest Preachers of the Christian
Faith in All Ases. Chicago: The John C. Winston Company, 1927.
Jeffries, William B. "The Montesquion Murder Case: A Possible Source
for Some Incidents in Pudd'nhead Wilson." American Literature,
31 (1960), 488-490.
Jensen, Franklin L. "Mark Twain's Comments on Books and Authors." The
Emporia State Research Studies, 12 (June 1964), 5-53.
Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain. Pocket Books ed. New York:
Pocket Books, 1968.
Knox, George. "The Mysterious Stranger: Mark Twain's Last Laugh?"
Mark Twain Journal, 11 (Summer 1959), 11-12.
Kolin, Philip C. "Mark Twain, Aristotle, and Pudd'nhead Wilson." Mark
Twain Journal, 15 (Summer 1970), 1-4.
Krause, Sidney J. "Huck's First Moral Crisis." Mississippi Quarterly,
18 (1965), 69-73.
. "Twain's Method and Theory of Composition." Modern Philology,
56 (1959), 166-177.
Labriolle, Pierre Champagne de. History and Literature of Christianity
from Tertullian to Boetius. Trans. Herbert Wilson. New York:
Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1968.
Lane, Lauriat, Jr. "Why Huckleberry Finn Is a Great World Novel."
College English, 17 (1955), 1-5; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn: An Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays
in Criticism. Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and]
E. Hudson Long. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962,
pp. 364-371.
Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity. New York: Harper &
Row, 1953.
Laverty, Carroll D. "The Genesis of The Mysterious Stranger." Mark Twain
Quarterly, 8 (Spring-Summer 1947), 15-19.
Leary, Lewis. "Tom and Huck: Innocence on Trial." Virginia Quarterly
Review, 30 (1954), 417-430.
Leaver, Florence B. "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson." Mark Twain Journal,
10 (Winter 1956), 14-20.


28
prince! Will any he in all the land maintain there can be two, not of
one blood and birth, so marvelously twinned? And even were it so, 'twere
yet a stranger miracle that chance should cast the one into the other's
place" (p. 62). But in traditional Christian terms, nothing happens
by chance; the coincidence, chance meeting, and accident which led to
the good Lord Hertford's speculations would all be considered a part
of the providential plan. As James Fortuna has written: "Thus, a be
lief in Providence precludes the 'coincidental' or 'accidental' (though
not such events as 'seem' to be coincidence or accident), for such things
have no valid 'meaning' for reasonable creatures, and imply simply a
lack of understanding of the particular workings of Providence. In the
'real' world, whether it be a shipwreck or the fall of a prince, . .
15
it was Providence and not fortune at work." Sufficient proof that
the hand of God is indeed behind this role reversal is provided as the
plot unfolds and it becomes increasingly clear that a wise purpose is
served by having Edward cast into the role of a pauper. For the young
prince, by being thrown into the life of a poor English subject, learns
the quality of mercy which would distinguish his rule later; this is
illustrated when he says to an old and unjustly persecuted lawyer whom
he encounters in jail: "None believe in meneither wilt thou. But
no matterwithin the compass of a month thou shalt be free; and more,
the laws which have dishonored thee, and shamed the English name, shall
be swept from the statute books. The world is made wrongkings should
go to school to their own laws at times, and so learn mercy" (p. 253).
Before he could learn this lesson, however, Edward underwent a
series of adventures which introduced him to the half-spectrum of un
familiar English life and which further confirmed that God was guiding


13
In effectively combining form with function, then, Fielding based the
structure of Tom Jones and his other novels on the traditional concept
of providence. Clemens was familiar at least with Tom Jones; and simi
larities which critics have noted between these two authors suggest
that Fielding's works might have exerted a greater influence on his
development as a novelist than Clemens would ever have been willing to
39
admit.
Clemens was perhaps even more familiar with the writings of James
Fenimore Cooper. And Cooper's works provide abundant proof that the
idea of providential guidance and control continued to be used signi
ficantly in nineteenth-century American fiction. For instance, Cooper's
most important fictional creation, Natty Bumppo, shows a notably complete
and enduring acceptance of providential governance. Specific illustra
tions abound in the Leatherstocking Tales; a typical example is provided
when Natty expresses some regret at not being able to relate the adven
ture of the first killing scene in The Deerslayer: "Hawkeye: That's
not a bad name for a warrior, sounding much more manful and valiant than
Deerslayer! 'Twouldn't be a bad title to begin with, and it was fairly
'arned. If 'twas Chingachgook, now, he would go home and boast of his
deeds, and the chiefs would name him Hawkeye in a minute; but it don't
become white blood to brag, and 'tisn't easy to see how the matter can
be known unless I do. Well, well-everything is in the hands of Provi
dence; this affair as well as another; I'll trust to that for getting
40
my desarts in all things." In fact, Natty trusts to Providence for
all things throughout his life. The extent to which this is true is
indicated by the respectful, almost apologetic manner in which he dis
cusses the one change he would wish to see in the providential design


67
of self-sacrifice; she preached (to the commoner)
meekness under insult; preached (still to the com
moner, always to the commoner) patience, meanness of
spirit, non-resistance under oppression; and she
introduced heritable ranks and aristocracies, and
taught all the Christian populations of the earth to
bow down to them and worship them (p. 67).
One of the central victims of satire in A Connecticut Yankee there
fore is the Roman Catholic Church, the Established Church of Arthur's
kingdom. As Hank says, "It being my conviction that any Established
Church is an established crime, an established slave-pen, I had no
scruples, but was willing to assail it in any way or with any weapon
that promised to hurt it" (p. 124). And, while Hank cannot be said to
voice Samuel Clemens's sentiments or represent his ideas at all times,
the Connecticut Yankee does seem to have the agreement of his creator
on this point. For in a notebook, Clemens suggested the method hn would
use against the Churchas well as the monarchy and nobility which
Mother Church supportedwhen he wrote the following: "No god and no
religion can survive ridicule. No church, no nobility, no royalty or
13
other fraud, can face ridicule in a fair field and live." Neither
Hank nor Clemens was interested in the total destruction of organized
religion, however. Instead, Hank planned to replace the Established
Church with a number of Protestant sects; significantly, Clemens stated
in another notebook entry, "I use compulsion in establishing my several
breeds of Protestant churches, because no missionarying has ever been ac
complished except by force which was not contemptible by comparison of
14
the paltry result with the gigantic outlay of cash and labor.
In the face of such a systematically planned dismantling of the
Established Church in A Connecticut Yankee, a central question is how
the doctrine of providence is affected as a thematic and structural


Copyright
by Robert Lee Cody
1978


113
from time to time, in order to strengthen our faith or to correct sin
ners" (p. 273). Naturally, therefore, these people come to depend upon
Providence; thus, in the short fragment entitled "Schoolhouse," Mrs.
Hotchkiss's lack of concern over her husband's occasional deviance from
the true path to salvation is easily understood when one realizes that
"she knew there was a patient and compassionate Providence watching over
him that would see to it that he died in his Presbyterian period" (p. 191).
But in his concerted effort to demonstrate that such dependence is unwar
ranted and foolish, Clemens shows that what Providence is credited for
is quite often the work of young Satan. While Father Peter thinks that
God delivered the 1107 ducats to him, Theodor and his friendsand the
readers as wellknow who is responsible for this "charity": "All our
mouths came open to say 'Satan did it!' but nothing came out" (p. 57).
And though the jury, in another episode from "The Chronicle of Young
Satan," rules "that deceased had come to his death by the visitation
of God" (p. 144), the reader knows that it was really Satan who turned
Conrad Bart into stone for the ultimate benefit of his family. Yet
another instance of God getting creditor perhaps in this instance
blamefor one of Satan's shows occurs in "No. 44, The Mysterious
Stranger" when Satan consumes himself in fire and Katrina responds to
this apparent tragedy by saying, "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken
away. . blessed be the name of the Lord!" (p. 309).
The preceding are in large measure indirect attacks on the power
of Providence. By pointing out that Satan is in control, Clemens is
suggesting that Providence is not. In this context, another indirect
attack on the providential concept is provided by Satan's explanation
of the determinism which operates on the world: "Does God order the


117
Apparently, then, one of Clemens's purposes in writing The Mysteri
ous Stranger manuscripts was to undermine the traditional Christian
conception of God as the concerned guardian and guide of our world.
And in the only legitimate ending that exists within the manuscript
material, Clemens's devastating attack on the providential concept
leads to the ultimate devastationnihilism. But while the fragmentary
nature of The Mysterious Stranger makes such definite conclusions about
thematic content difficult, this same nature would seem sufficient of
itself to prove a nihilistic structure. What more logical structure
to convey the theme of nihilism than a chaotic accumulation of unfin
ished manuscripts, a complete lack of final structure. In unconsciously
or accidentally merging form with function, Clemens never satisfactorily
completed The Mysterious Stranger. As they stand, these manuscripts
represent the antithesis of the structure Clemens had employed earlier
in such a thoroughly providential novel as The Prince and the Pauper.
There are a number of ways in which this antithesis is apparent.
For example, in The Prince and the Pauper the author/narrator is in
firm control, even to the point of intruding upon the scene occasionally
to manipulate the action personally; this manipulation, of course, was
intended to serve as an analogue of the guidance and control of Provi
dence. In this context, the numerous digressions and apparent meander-
ings back and forth across plot lines should beand ultimately are
tied together and are shown to have a necessary function in plot de
velopment. And from the same perspective, there really are not acci
dents; what at the time appears to be accidental is later shown to have
served, in truly providential fashion, a distinct purpose. Further,
there is a recognition scene, typical of the providential novel, in


15
In 1843, on one of the windows of the Old House,
Sophia Hawthorne scratched with a diamond an appar
ently commonplace maxim: "Man's accidents are God's
purposes." This rather platitudinous axiom repre
sents, in capsule form, a commonplace of nineteenth-
century metaphysical thought, here given expression
in some type of divine Providence, namely that God is
in His nature unknowable to man, although man's ac
tions reflect, in some mysterious way, His purpose.
Sophia Hawthorne's short statement very aptly sum
marizes Hawthorne's own attitude toward the relation
between God and man, or, to expand the definition, be
tween ultimate Reality and reality as it is knowable
in its finite, experiential forms. Father Leonard
Fick has shown that "the keystone ... of Hawthorne's
theology is an unshakable belief in an unscrutable
Providence," which, although Hawthorne does not ap
parently equate it with God, is certainly God as He
is manifested in this world. As B. Bernard Cohen
points out, "Hawthorne's God is Inscrutable. Man must
not attempt to fathom the mysteries of His actions,
but instead must trust to His kindness," and this
trust, for Hawthorne, takes the form of blind reli
ance on a Providence whose workings man is unable to
comprehend. For purposes of the following discussion
the inscrutability of this Providence is what must be
insisted upon, the idea that God's purposes are unknow
able except insofar as they are visible through their
workings, man's accidents. ^
Hawthorne would occasionally tack onto his stories a moral which indi
cated that the portrayed events were representations of God's purposes
for the world; an example of this is the conclusion of "David Swan":
"Sleeping or waking, we hear not the airy footsteps of the strange things
that almost happen. Does it not argue a superintending Providence that,
while viewless and unexpected events thrust themselves continually
athwart our path, there should still be regularity enough in life to
45
render foresight even partially available." More often, however,
Providence is not mentioned. Rather, He stands as the invisible principle
behind the way Hawthorne's fiction works, providing a subtle structure
both for this world and for Hawthorne's fiction.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Robert Lee Cody was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 7, 1944.
He graduated from St. Xavier High School of Louisville in June, 1962,
and in September of that year began a program in pre-pharmacy at the
University of Kentucky. Having experienced the duties of a pharmacist
through two summers of apprenticeship, he began an English major his
junior year. After receiving his B. A. and M. A. degrees, he taught for
three years at Lees Junior College in the eastern Kentucky mountains.
He started his doctoral program at the University of Florida in 1970.
In 1974 he married Laura Diane Ruckman. For the past four years Mr. Cody
has been teaching at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland,
and working assiduously each summer to complete his dissertation.
14 4


89
belong to the imaginative fabric of the novel or even to its ideological
structure; it represents the infection by stereotypes from popular fic
tion and the theater to which Mark Twain was always exposed when he
16
lost control of his materials." But even Smith failed to look beyond
this pervasive flaw to its cause, which may well be the reduced role
the concept of providence plays in Pudd'nhead Wilson. In The Prince
and the Pauper, the strict and effective authorial control of the fic-
tive world mirrors the control of Providence in the larger world. In
Pudd'nhead Wilson, conversely, the loss of authorial control which
Smith noted can be seen as a reflection of the continued diminishment
of the providential concept in Clemens's fiction.
The disintegration of the providential concept as a viable thematic
element is initially suggested by the fact that there is little formal
religious observance or sincere Christian practice in Dawson's Landing.
John M. Brand pointed to this fact when he wrote: "Here is a chilling
look at life in the Secular City, where we experience the anguish of
an age lacking not only such giants as Bumppo and Bush, but also the
17
gods Cooper envisioned underlying even the savage wilderness." In
stead, there are a number of well-defined substitutes for the religious
institutionand its familiar doctrines such as that of providential
controlin Dawson's Landing.
The most obvious substitute is of course the "cult of Southern
aristocracy," as Arlin Turner referred to it. There are four prominent
members of this cult when the story begins: Colonel Cecil Burleigh
Essex, Pembroke Howard, Percy Northumberland Driscoll, and the chief
representative of the F. F. V. in Dawson's Landing, Judge York Leicester
Driscoll. These men lived, and were willing to die, primarily for one


46
where he still has a choice about what to do with Jimin order to work
out his own moral and ethical values. At Cairo, Huck would still have
been willing to follow the conventional perceptions and the value system
of his society; this is obvious from comments he makes just before he
discovers they have passed Cairo:
It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn't
ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just
see what a difference it made to him the minute he
judged he was about free. It was according to the old
saying, "Give a nigger an inch and he'll take an ell."
Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking.
Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped
to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying
he would steal his childrenchildren that belonged
to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever
done me no harm.
I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a
lowering of him. My conscience got to stirring me
up hotter than ever. . (p. 126).
While Huck might not turn Jim over to slave hunters at this point, it
is obvious that he is still not ready to decide irrevocably against the
standards of his society. He will be ready to do so only after he had
continued downriver under Jim's subtle influence and his sure example.
He will be ready to only after he also has journeyed extensively in the
Deep South and actually seen the social foundations of the institution
of slavery. The apparent misfortune which carried Huck and Jim past
Cairo is necessary for Huck's continued moral growth and thus must be
viewed as an ultimately fortunate event.
Affirmation of this is provided soon after when Clemens dramatically
ended Chapter 16and his work on the novel for a timeby the collision
of a Mississippi steamboat into Huck and Jim's raft. This accident
24
forces Huck from the security of the raft to the jeopardy of the shore.
But, more importantly, it forces him to witness the Shepherdson-Grangerford


PROVIDENCE IN THE NOVELS OF SAMUEL CLEMENS
By
ROBERT LEE CODY
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1 >78


143
Wiggins, Robert A. Mark Twain: Jackleg Novelist. Seattle: University
of Washington Press, 1964.
. "The Original of Mark Twain's Those Extraordinary Twins."
American Literature, 23 (1951), 355-357.
. "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Literary Caesarian Operation."
College English, 25 (1963), 182-186.
Williams, Aubrey. "Congreve's Incognita and the Contrivances of Provi
dence." Imagined Worlds: Essays on Some English Novels and
Novelists in Honour of John Butt. Eds. Maynard Mack and Ian
Gregor. London: Meuthen, 1968, pp. 3-18.
. "Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's
Novels." South Atlantic Quarterly, 70 (1971), 265-286.
Williams, James D. "Revision and Intention in Mark Twain's A Connecticut
Yankee." American Literature, 36 (1964), 288-297.
. "The Use of History in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee."
Publications of the Modern Language Association, 80 (1965),
102-110. " ~ "
Wilson, James D. "Hank Morgan, Philip Traum and Milton's Satan." Mark
Twain Journal, 17 (Summer 1972), 20-21.
Wilson, Robert H. "Malory in The Connecticut Yankee." University of
Texas Studies in Literature, 27 (1948), 185-206.
Wysong, Jack P. "Samuel Clemens's Attitude Toward the Negro as Demon
strated in 'Pudd'nhead Wilson' and 'A Connecticut Yankee in King
Arthur's Court.'" Xavier University Studies, 7 (July 1968), 41-57.
Yates, Norman. "The 'Counter-Conversion' of Huckleberry Finn." American
Literature, 32 (1960), 1-10.
Zarnolinsky, Avrahm. "Nihilism." Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. Ed.
Edwin R. A. Seligman. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1953,
XI, 377-378.


77
Well, a man like that is a man that is full of
fightthat goes without saying. With a couple of
thousand rough men under one, one has plenty of that
sort of amusement. I had, anyway. At last I met my
match, and I got my dose. It was a misunderstanding
conducted with crowbars with a fellow we used to call
Hercules. He laid me out with a crusher alongside the
head that made everything crack, and seemed to spring
every joint in my skull and made it overlap its
neighbor. Then the world went out in darkness, and
I didn't feel anything more, and didn't know anything
atall--at least for a while.
When I came to again, I was sitting under an oak
tree, on the grass, with a whole beautiful and broad
country landscape all to myselfnearly (p. 15).
Hank, of course, awakes in Camelot. And he soon realizes that having
been "accidentally" knocked into the sixth century is really a "fortunate
mishap," both for himself and the sixth century:
After that, I was just as much at home in that country
as I could have been in any other; and as for prefer
ence, I wouldn't have traded it for the twentieth.
Look at the opportunities here for a man of knowledge,
brains, pluck, and enterprise to sail in and grow up
with the country. . .
What a jump I had made! I couldn't keep from think
ing about it, and contemplating it, just as one does who
has struck oil. There was nothing back of me that could
approach it, unless it might be Joseph's case; and
Joseph's only approached it, it didn't equal it, quite.
For it stands to reason that as Joseph's splendid fi
nancial ingenuities advantaged nobody but the king, the
general public must have regarded him with a good deal
of disfavor, whereas I had done my entire public a
kindness in sparing the sun and was popular by reason
of it (pp. 63-64) .
In order that he would be alive to reach these conclusions, though,
another series of fortunate accidents was necessary. For upon discover
ing the supposed date of his incarceration, Hank saves himself by using
a very fortuitous elipse to convince Arthur and his knights of his
powerful magic. But Amyas le Poulet, the page whom Hank renamed Clarence
and who would become Hank's right-hand man, had accidentally given Hank
the wrong date. Still, he manages to serve as the providential


55
naive; for he responds to the Dauphin's remark that he will "just trust
in Providence to lead him to the profitable way" by interpreting the
term "Providence" to mean "the devil, I reckon" in this instance (p. 210)
But perhaps the most significant instance of Huck's confusion
about the providential concept occurs when he misinterprets the pangs
of his socially developed consciencethe conscience of a slave-holding
societyfor the warnings of Providence:
The more I studied about this the more my conscience
went to grinding me, and the more wicked and low-
down and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when
it hit me all of a sudden that here was the plain
hand of Providence slapping me in the face and let
ting me know my wickedness was being watched all the
time from up there in heaven, whilst I was stealing
a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't ever done me no
harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always
on the lookout and ain't a-going to allow no such
miserable doings to go only just so fur and no fur
ther, I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared
(p. 277).
This confusion about Providence in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
is readily explainable, of course. Huck has had only a limited contact
with religious doctrines; and his quite informal training in this partic
ular concept has come from extremely diverse sources. There is, of
course, the Widow Douglas with her joyful Providence and Miss Watson
with her vengeful Providence. But there is also the Dauphin with his
diabolical Providence; this version is seen when the Dauphin gives
credit to God for his and the Duke's early success at the Wilks's:
"It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich dead man and represen
tatives of furrin heirs that's got left is the line for you and me, Bilge.
Thish yer comes of trust'n to Providence. It's the best way, in the
long run" (p. 220). And finally there is Jim's forgiving Providence;
Jim suggests this aspect of God when, in relating how he struck his
34


CHAPTER VII
CONCLUSION: A FAILURE TO ADAPT
As shown in this study, Samuel Clemens was quite familiar with
the providential tradition in organized religion and in literature.
Although he began to entertain doubts about the conventional religious
conception of a providential God quite early, he continued to use the
devices and techniques of the providential novel through much of his
literary career.
Even as early as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Clemens's first un
collaborated novel, the providential tradition began to have a signifi
cant effect on his extended fiction. But just as Tom's understanding
of the providential concept is humorously naive and immature, Clemens's
use of thematic and structural elements from the providential novel is
in the developmental stage at this point. Thus, The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer is a preparation for Clemens's fuller and more mature use of the
providential concept in his next novel.
The Prince and the Pauper was Clemens's most thorough commitment
to the providential tradition. In this novel, he built a fictive world
on amazing coincidences, rescues that take place in the nick of time
and apparent accidents which serve providential purposes. The reader
is carried through this complex set of adventures, based on an alterna
tion between plot and subplot, until the traditional recognition scene,
at which time the threads of action are tied together as the characters
124


119
annihilation is often the best that can be hoped for: "But he will ar
rive some seconds too late, now; Lisa will have struggled into deeper
water. He will do his best, but both will drown" (p. 118).
Since man's fate is thus ordered by his "circumstances and environ
ment," then it follows that an equitable system of rewards and punish
ments does not necessarily operate in this fictive world. And it
does not; in almost a parody of the providential tradition, those whose
actions are most admirable suffer the most terrifying fates and those
whose actions are despicable seem to end up in favored positions. In
the world Clemens has created in The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts,
then, it is to be expected that the innocent Nikolaus will suffer mis
fortune as the result of his valiant attempt to rescue Lisa and that
Fischer the weaver, in spite of his contemptible betrayal of Frau Brandt,
will live a "prosperous, comfortable life."^
Finally, as in The Prince and the Pauper, there is a recognition
scene within The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts. In it, No. 44 reveals
his true identity: "I myself have no existence, I am but a dream
your dream, creature of your imagination" (p. 404). And August's
real nature is revealed to him: "And you are not youyou have no body,
no blood, no bones, you are but a thought" (p. 404). Finally, the uni
verse is shown in its true state: "Nothing exists; all is a dream.
Godmanthe world,the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars: a
dream, all a dream, they have no existence" (p. 404). The recognition
scene serves as a framework for the presentation of a picture of total
nihilism. Thus, the structural devices and the total structureor lack
of itof The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts support the thematic
portrayal of providential guidance and control supplanted by nothingness.


121
"The Chronicle of Young Satan," The Mysterious Stranger, ed.
William M. Gibson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970),
p. 49. Further references to this edition of the manuscripts will be
cited in the text. I will use the incomplete manuscripts rather than
the Paine-Duneka text of The Mysterious Stranger for my discussion;
since Paine and Duneka made such extensive changes and because many of
these were substantive in nature, their text must be considered corrupt
and cannot be used to represent the author's final intentions.
8
A number of critics do see this "mysterious stranger" as the
traditional Satan, the fallen rival of God. For example, in "The Devil
and Samuel Clemens," pp. 594-596, though he feels that Clemens both
overlaps characteristics of the "Universal Creator" with this fallen
angel and displays a sympathy for this "insulted and injured figure,"
Coleman Parsons clearly does view little Satan as "the great rebel."
And in "The Mysterious Stranger: Mark Twain's Myth of the Fall," p. 20,
Buford Scrivner, Jr., indicates that Clemens's choice of names for the
stranger was quite purposeful when he writes of "Satan, whose name sug
gests a parallel in function with the original tempter."
9
The chief character of all three manuscripts will be referred to
as Satan, though he is called "44" in "Schoolhouse Hill" and in "No. 44,
The Mysterious Stranger." Evidence for the unity of this variously
named character is found in Mark Twain's Notebook, ed. A. B. Paine, rpt.
(New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1972), p. 369, when the
proposed central character of the germinal "Schoolhouse Hill" fragment
is named Satan, Jr.: "Story of little Satan Jr. who came to Hannibal,
went to school, was popular'and greatly liked by those who knew his
secret. The others were jealous and the girls didn't like him because
he smelled of brimstone. He was always doing miracleshis pals knew
they were miracles, the others thought they were mysteries." Also see
footnote 9 on pages 711-712 of Volume II, The Mark Twain-Howells' Letters,
ed. Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson with the assistance of
Frederick Anderson (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Uni
versity Press, 1960).
10
"For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really
effective weaponlaughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication,
Persecutionthese can lift at a colossal humbug,push it a little
crowd it a littleweaken it a little, century by century; but only
Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault
of Laughter nothing can stand" (pp. 165-166).
^That this was Clemens's purpose is indicated by a letter Clemens
wrote to William Dean Howells on May 13, 1899; the reference is appar
ently to The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts he was writing and/or
would write: "For several years I have been intending to stop writing
for print as soon as I could afford it. At last I can afford it. I
have put the pot-boiler pen away. What I have been wanting was a chance
to write a book without reservesa book which should take account of
no one's prejudices, opinions, beliefs, hopes, illusions, delusions;
a book which should say my say, right out of my heart, in the plainest
language without a limitation of any sort." Mark Twain-Howells' Letters,
ed. Henry Nash Smith and William M. Gibson with the assistance of
Frederick Anderson (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of the Harvard Uni
versity Press, 1960), IT, p. 698.


17
12
Of Plymouth Planation: 1620-1647, ed. Samuel Eliot Morison
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), p. 76.
13
14
Ibid., pp. 62-63.
Ibid., p. 122.
Augustine provided an example of special providence when he
pointed out that many Romans were spared in the barbarian attacks by
taking refuge "in places dedicated to Christ's Namewhich by a merciful
Providence were spacious enough to afford refuge to large numbers."
Likewise, Calvin made a distinction between "general" and "special" provi
dence in Chapter XVI of his Institutes.
16
Remarkable Providences Illustrative of the Earlier Days of American
Colonization (London: Reeves and Turner, 1890), pp. 252-253.
17
Ibid., unnumbered preface.
18
The New England colonial situation is cited because of its influ
ential position in the development of American culture. As V. L. Par-
rington stated in Main Currents in American Thought: An Interpretation
of Literature from the Beginning to 1920 (New York: Harcourt, Brace &
Company, 1930), p. 3: "Common report has long made out Puritan New
England to have been the native seat and germinal source of such ideals
and institutions as have come to be regarded as traditionally American.
Any critical study of the American mind, therefore, may conventionally
seek its beginnings in the colonies clustered about Massachusetts."
19.
20
Main Currents of American Thought, p. 3
j
Ibid., p. 125.
21
A full discussion of the relation between the Covenant of Works
and the Covenant of Grace is contained in Perry Miller's The New England
Mind: The Seventeenth Century (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939),
pp. 365-397.
22
Images or Shadows of Divine Things, ed. Perry Miller (New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1948), p. 54.
23
Ibid., pp. 75-79.
24
"On Divine Providence. Psalm xxxiv. 10," One Hundred Sermons
Selected from the Published Works of Fifty Eminent American Preachers
by an English Clergyman (London: Thomas Baker, 1861), p. 228.
25
Ibid., pp. 231-232.
2 6
Lyman Abbott, D. D. and S. B. Halliday, Rev., Henry Ward Beecher,
A Sketch of His Career, new ed. (Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing
Company, 1887), p. 497.
o7
Nature and the Supernatural as Together Constituting the One
System of God (New York: Charles Scribner, 1858), pp. 444-445.


19
The Works of James Fenimore Cooper, V, 295. In Cooper's Ameri
cans (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1965), p. 285, Kay Seymour
House affirmed Natty's normally unquestioning reliance on Providence
when she wrote: "Rebellion, perversity, willfulness, all such attempts
to destroy predetermined order are to Natty irreligious. Furthermore,
to struggle against such an order is futile, and Natty consistently
(like the seamen) finds his freedom within the governance of Providence
and his own self-control."
42
The Works of James Fenimore Cooper, I, 495.
A- 3
ulemens's opinion is contained in Mark Twain's Notebook, p. 157:
"Nobody writes a finer and purer English than Motley, Howells, Hawthorne
and Holmes."
44
Man's Accidents and God's Purposes: Multiplicity in Hawthorne's
Fiction (New Haven: College and University Press, 1973), p. 13.
^Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1882), p. 218.
46
In this dissertation, I will deal with the principal novels of
Samuel Clemens. This category includes The Prince and the Pauper, Ad
ventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and The Mysterious Stranger; I will devote
a separate chapter to each of these works. The other major piece of
extended fiction, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is more briefly discussed
since this work serves a prefatory function in Clemens's use of the
providential tradition. Other works will be dealt with as they support
the discussion of these major works.


94
Roxy demands money as well from Tom: "'Now den, Chambers, we's gwine
to talk business, en dey ain't gwine to be no mo' foolishness. In de
fust place, you gits fifty dollahs a month; you's gwine to han' over
half of it to you' ma. Plank it down'" (p. 86).
But neither Roxy nor Judge Driscoll, the mother and the symbolic
father, are as thoroughly materialistic as the false Tom Driscoll. As
Spangler has pointed out in the article "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable
of Property," Tom's aggrandizing nature initially reveals itself in
infancy: "When he got to be old enough to begin to toddle about and
say broken words and get an idea of what his hands were for, he was a
more consummate pest than ever. Roxy got no rest while he was awake.
He would call for anything and everything he saw, simply saying, 'Awnt
it!' (want it) which was a command" (p. 39). And it is manifested in
adulthood by his compulsive gambling: "Occasionally he would run up
to St. Louis for a few weeks, and at last temptation caught him again.
He won a lot of money, but lost it, and with it a deal more besides,
which he promised to raise as soon as possible" (p. 93). Finally, this
nature leads him to thievery in order to provide for his gambling debts
and to protect his inheritance: "[Tom] had been prowling about in
disguise, stealing small valuables from private houses; in fact, had
made a good deal of a raid on his fellow-villagers a fortnight before,
when he was supposed to be in St. Louis" (pp. 86-87). In fact, no act
is too despicable for Tom to perform if it helps support his viciously
materialistic nature; for he not only steals from friends and neighbors,
but he also robs from and eventually kills his foster father and, per
haps worst of all, sells his mother to a downriver slave owner. Spangler
seems to have summed up Tom's nature best when he wrote the following:


140
Parsons, Coleman 0. "The Background of The Mysterious Stranger." Ameri
can Literature, 32 (1960), 55-74.
. "The Devil and Samuel Clemens." Virginia Quarterly Review,
23 (1947), 582-606.
Pearce, Roy Harvey. "'The End. Yours Truly, Huck Finn' Postscript."
Modern Language Quarterly, 24 (1963), 53-56.
Reiss, Edmund. "An Auspicious Beginning, a Disjointed Middle, and a
Great Final Chapter." From the Foreward to "The Mysterious Stranger"
and Other Stories. New York: New American Library of World Litera
ture, 1962, pp. xiii-xv; rpt. in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stran
ger and the Critics. Ed. John S. Tuckey. Belmont, Calif.: Wads
worth Publishing Company, Inc., 1968, pp. 83-85.
Robinson, E. Arthur. "The Two 'Voices' in Huckleberry Finn." Modern
Language Notes, 75 (1960), 204-208.
Rogers, Franklin R. Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns: As Seen in the
Novels and Narratives of 1855-1885. Dallas: Southern Methodist
University Press, 1960.
Rose, Marilyn Gaddis. "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Contemporary Parable."
Mark Twain Journal, 13 (Summer 1966), 5-7.
Ross, Michael L. "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson: Dawson's Landing
and the Ladder of Nobility." Novel, 6 (1973), 244-256.
Rowlette, Robert. "Mark Twain's Barren Tree in The Mysterious Stranger:
Two Biblical Parallels." Mark Twain's Journal, 16 (Winter 1971-72),
19-20.
Rubenstein, Gilbert. "The Moral Structure of Huckleberry Finn." College
English, 18 (1956), 72-76.
Rubin, Louis D., Jr. "Tom Sawyer and the Use of Novels." American
Quarterly, 9 (1957), 209-216.
Rust, Richard Dilworth. "Americanisms in A Connecticut Yankee." South
Atlantic Bulletin, 33, No. 3 (1968), 11-13.
Salomon, Roger. Twain and the Image of History. New Haven, Conn.:
Yale University Press, 1961.
Schell, Edgar T. "'Pears' and 'Is' in Pudd'nhead Wilson." Mark Twain
Journal, 12 (Winter 1964), 12-15.
Scrivner, Bradford, Jr. "The Mysterious Stranger: Mark Twain's New
Myth of the Fall." Mark Twain Journal, 17 (Summer 1975), 20-21.


88
youth; on the issue of appearance versus reality as it relates to the
8
determination of identity; on the supposedly complementary ideas of
9
property and popularity-power; and on Dawson's Landing as lawless
10
wilderness. And, in addition to the thematic approach, critics have
devoted studies to tracing and explaining various fictive techniques,
11
devices, and elements of this novel.
But perhaps the most significant disagreement, and a major cause
of the variety of critical approaches and opinions as well, involves
the quality of fiction Clemens produced with Pudd'nhead Wilson.
George M. Spangler made a similar observation when he wrote the follow
ing: "The striking lack of agreement about the merits of Mark Twain's
Pudd'nhead Wilson is unquestionably related to the equally striking
disagreements over interpretation of the novel, related in the crucial
sense that all the thematic analyses so far presented leave important
12
aspects of the novel unaccounted for." Therefore, a number of critics
argue that it is obvious, once the appropriate interpretive key is
realized, that Pudd'nhead Wilson is not a flawed but rather a masterly
13
novel. Still other critics argue that, although flawed, Pudd nhead
14
Wilson is still a great novel. And finally, there are those critics
who argue against the greatness of Pudd'nhead Wilson because of its
flawed condition.
In all of this discussion of the novel, however, even those critics
who have recognized the flawed nature of Pudd'nhead Wilson may have
failed to realize the central cause for this condition. Henry Nash
Smith, for example, did suggest the central problemlack of control
when he wrote: "While this deed [of Tom selling his own mother, Roxy,
down the river] is not inconsistent with Tom's character, it does not


23
in the haunted house but for the fortuitous collapse of the stairs he
was using:
"Who could have brought those tools here? Do you
reckon they can be up-stairs?"
The boys' breath forsook them. Injun Joe put his
hand on his knife, halted a moment, undecided, then
turned toward the stairway. The boys thought of the
closet, but their strength was gone. The steps came
creaking up the stairsthe intolerable distress of
the situation woke the stricken resolution of the lads
they were about to spring for the closet, when there
was a crash of rotten timbers and Injun Joe landed
on the ground amid the debris of the ruined stair
way. He gathered himself up cursing, and his com
rade said:
"Now what's the use of all that? If it's anybody,
and they're up there, let them stay therewho cares?"
(pp. 238-239).
And when, soon after, Huck nearly runs into Injun Joe's arms, he is
saved from this fearful danger just in the nick of time by a "fortunate"
and well-timed cough.Finally, Tom's escape from McDougal's cave "five
miles down the river below the valley the cave is in" depended on just
such a miraculous concurrence of events typical of the providential
tradition:
Tom . closed with a description of how he left
Becky and went on an exploring expedition; how he
had followed two avenues as far as his kite-line
would reach; how he followed a third to the fullest
stretch of the kite-line, and was about to turn back
when he glimpsed a far-off speck that looked like day
light; dropped the line and groped toward it, pushed
his head and shoulders through a small hole, and saw
the broad Mississippi rolling by! And if it had only
happened to be night he would not have seen that
speck of daylight and would not have explored that
passage anymore! (pp. 290-291).
Even Tom realizes the providential nature of his and Becky's escape,
then. And it seems likely that Clemens did, too, since he used provi
dential techniques so readily in Tom Sawyer.


50
go by; and as they went by I see they had the king
and the duke astraddle of a railthat is, I knowed
it was the king and the duke, though they was all over
tar and feathers, and didn't look like nothing in the
world that was humanjust looked like a couple of
monstrous big soldier-plumes (p. 299).
And though it made Huck sick to see this, it probably does not have the
same effect on the reader looking for providential justice. For the two
"rapscallions," far from being the humorous yet harmless wags this term
might suggest, eventually are revealed as truly evil when they try to
steal everything from the orphaned Wilks girls and, when this fails be
cause of the propitious arrival of the real Harvey and Peter Wilks, as
thy sell Jim back into slavery. So their punishment is well deserved.
Though the punishment was meted out much earlier, it is only during
the resolution of the action that we discover another malevolent charac
ter has received his just dues; for in the concluding chapter, after
the other rewards and punishments have been distributed, Jim informs
Huckand the readerof pap's murder. Huck is therefore permanently
secure from the morally corrosive influence of his father, and pap finds
an appropriate end to his thoroughly degenerate life at the hands, ap
parently, of equally malevolent companions.
Tom Sawyer is another who deserves the punishment he receives.
Tom has concealed the fact that Jim is already free in order to rescue
him in a fashion agreeable to "all the best authorities"; thus, he
forces Jim to suffer various torments and needless captivity so that
he can continue his romantic adventures. Finally Tom is shot, quite
appropriately, during the unnecessary escape attempt. But as an indi
cation that the punishment of a truly just Providence is proportionate
to the seriousness of the crime, Tom's wound is not ultimately serious.


82
Hank, and by association Clarence and the fifty-t\) faithful lads, for
a developing self-aggrandizement and a constant sense of pride. Sig
nificantly, though, at the same time that Hank is destroying his techno
logical civilization, Samuel Clemens is beginning to have doubts about
25
the Paige typesetter. Thus, a more probable cause for the chaotic
ending of A Connecticut Yankee is that Clemens was yielding to a disil
lusionment toward the "machine madness" which Hank Morgan represented.
Justin Kaplan indicated this relationship when he wrote as follows:
"The Yankee and the [Paige typesetting] Machine were twinned in his
mind. Both were tests of a perfectible world in which, contrary to
all his insights and experience, friction and mechanical difficulties
were equivalents of ignorance and superstition. Both expressed a
secular religion which had as an unexplained article of faith a belief
26
not in eternal life but in perpetual motion." By the end of A Con
necticut Yankee, Clemens has come to realize that the Paige typesetter,
in xtfhich he had invested so much time, energy and money, cannot lead
to the enlightened republic he had envisioned. So the short-lived
secular reign of Hank Morgan comes to a catastrophic end.
The concept of providence, then, does continue to play a signifi
cant part in the novels of Clemens. But the concept is modified by the
intrusion of Hank and his technological secularism. The significance
of the providential concept as both a thematic and a structural device
is thus lessened. And because of this, we see the beginning of a nega
tivism and a concomitant chaos that affect the writings of Samuel Clemens
for the rest of his career.


effectively for Providence is seen when he discusses his plans to offer
a nineteenth-century version of God's concern for and care of His fol
lowers:
Fires interested me considerably, because I was
getting a good deal of an insurance business started,
and was also training some horses and building some
steam fire-engines, with an eye to a paid fire depart
ment by and by. The priests opposed both my fire and
life insurance, on the ground that it was an insolent
attempt to hinder the decrees of God; and if you pointed
out that they did not hinder the decrees in the least,
but only modified the hard consequences of them if you
took out policies and had luck, they retorted that that
was gambling against the decrees of God, and was just
as bad. So they managed to damage those industries
more or less, but I got even on my Accident business.
As a rule, a knight is a lummox, and some times even a
labrick, and hence open to pretty poor arguments when
they come glibly from a superstition-monger, but even
he could see the practical side of a thing once in a
while; and so of late you couldn't clean up a tourna
ment and pile the result without finding one of my ac
cident tickets in every helmet (pp. 268-269).^0
As a result of the influence exerted by both the Roman Catholic
Church and Hank Morgan, then, the significance of the providential con
cept has been reduced as a philosophical/religious construct in sixth-
century England and consequently lessened as a thematic element in
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. The providential concept
still structures the novel, but its use is modified by the secularism
of the Church and Hank.
Indeed, there are a number of fortunate accidents, timely rescues,
and miracles which move the action of the novel forward and which show
the providential element in A Connecticut Yankee. The first important
incident of the novel is the accident which transported Hank Morgan
from nineteenth-century Connecticut to sixth-century England; the
wizened Hank explains the incident to Mark Twain as follows:


90
thingto uphold the "gentlemanly" traditions which defined their role
and status in the community; the narrator points this out early when
describing Judge Driscoll: "He was very proud of his old Virginia
ancestry, and in his hospitalities and his rather formal and stately
manners he kept up its traditions. He was fine and just and generous.
To be a gentlemana gentleman without stain or blemishwas his only
18
religion, and to it he was always faithful."
But this ideal of gentlemanly conduct was not without its unchris
tian aspects. The most obvious was of course slavery, which was sup
ported by the members of the F. F. V. in Dawson's Landing. The recon
ciliation of the inherently cruel practice of keeping slaves with the
concept of being "a fine and just and generous" gentleman illustrates
how the aristocratic code of the F. F. V. could function as an ethical
substitute for Christian doctirne. For example, when Percy Driscoll
decides to sell his slaves in Dawson's Landing for stealing "a couple
of dollars" from him, rather than selling them down the river as he had
originally threatened, he narrow-mindedly views this as a virtuous act:
"They were sincere, for like a god he had stretched forth his mighty
hand and closed the gates of hell against them. He knew, himself, that
he had done a noble and gracious thing, and was privately well pleased
with his magnanimity; and that night he set the incident down in his
diary, so that his son might read it in after years, and be thereby
moved to deeds of gentleness and humanity himself" (pp. 28-29).
Still another questionable aspect of the gentlemanly code was the
practice of dueling. According to the code by which members of the
F. F. V. lived, duels were necessary for preserving personal and family
honor. The narrator indicates the importance given to honor when he


bibliography
Abbott, Lyman, D. D., and Halliday, S. B., Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.
A Sketch of His Career: With Analyses of His Power as a Preacher,
Lecturer, Orator, and Journalist, and Incidents and Reminiscences
of His Life. New ed. Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company
1887.
Adams, Richard P. "The Unity and Coherence of Huckleberry Finn." Tulane
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1962, pp. 342-357.
Allen, Gerald. "Mark Twain's Yankee." New England Quarterly, 39 (1966),
435-446.
Alsen, Eberhard. "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Fight for Popularity and Power."
Western American Literature, 7 (1972), 135-143.
Anderson, Frederick, ed. Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage. New York:
Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971.
Andrews, Kenneth R. Nook Farm: Mark Twain's Hartford Circle. Cambridge
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950; reprint ed., Archon Books,
1967.
Asselineau, Roger. The Literary Reputation of Mark Twain from 1910 to
1950: A Critical Essay and a Bibliography. Paris: Librairie
Marcel Didier, 1954.
Baetzhold, Howard G. "'The Autobiography of Sir Robert Smith of Camelot
Mark Twain's Original Plan for A Connecticut Yankee." American
Literature, 32 (1960), 456-461.
. "The Course of Composition of A Connecticut Yankee: A Rein
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Queries, NS1 (September 1954), 401-403.
130


141
Shockley, Martin Staples. "The Structure of Huckleberry Finn." South-
Central Bulletin, 20 (Winter 1960), 3-10; rpt. in Critics on Mark
Twain: Readings in Literary Criticism. Ed. David B. Kesterson.
Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 1973.
Simonson, Harold P. "Huckleberry Finn as Tragedy." Yale Review, 59
(1970), 532-548.
Solomon, Eric. "The Search for Security." College English, 22 (1960),
172-178; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An Annotated
Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism. Eds.
Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 436-443.
Spacks, Barry. "The Thematic Function of the 'Rescue' in Huckleberry
Finn." Mark Twain Journal, 11 (Summer 1959), 8-9.
Spangler, George M. "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property." Ameri
can Literature, 42 (1970), 28-37.
Spengemann, William C. Mark Twain and the Backwoods Angel. Kent, Ohio:
The Kent State University Press, 1966.
Smith, Nenry Nash. Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962; reprint ed., New York:
Atheneum, 1967.
. Mark Twain's Fable of Progress: Political and Economic
Ideas in "A Connecticut Yankee." New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers
University Press, 1964.
Stein, Allen F. "Return to Phelps Farm: Huckleberry Finn and the Old
Southwestern Framing Device." Mississippi Quarterly, 24 (1971),
111-116.
Stone, Albert E., Jr. The Innocent Eye: Childhood in Mark Twain's
Imagination. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1961.
Talbott, Linda Hood. "Huck Finn: Twain at Midstream." Nassau Review,
I, No. 5 (1968), 44-60.
Tanner, Tony. "The Literary Children of James and Clemens." Nineteenth-
Century Fiction, 16 (1961), 205-218.
Tatham, Campbell. "'Dismal and Lonesome': A New Look at Huckleberry
Finn." Modern Fiction Studies, 14 (1968), 47-55.
Taylor, Edward. Christographia. Ed. Norman S. Grabo. New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1962.
Thomas, D. S. "Fortune and Passions in Fielding's Amelia." Modern
Language Review, 60 (1965), 175-187.


122
As Satan says, "I myself have no existence, I am but a dream
your dream, creature of your imagination" (p. 404).
13
In the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, Editor-in-Chief Edwin R. A.
Seligman (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1953), Vol. XI, 377, Avrahm
Zarnolinsky defines nihilism as "an intellectual movement . which
expressed itself in a revulsion against the tyranny of authority, a rejec
tion of the obligations of traditional morality and the questioning of
every general principle and ideal value, all in the name of the freedom
of the sovereign individual."
14
For example, in the original version of The Chronicle of Young
Satan," pages 89 to 111 contain episodes showing young Traum besting
Wilhelm Meidling in chess and poetic recitationmuch to Meidling's
chagrin and displeasure, since this occurs in front of Margetand Marget
and Lilly Fischer's obvious atrraction for Traum. Neither of these epi
sodes is related to the main thrust of the plot, nor are they fully de
veloped in the course of the story. In fact, this is one of those sec
tions which caused John S. Tuckey, in the article, "The Mysterious Stran
ger: Mark Twain's Texts and the Paine-Duneka Edition," p. 86, to state
that "'Eseldorf' had no well-sustained plot." Paine and Duneka eliminated
this twenty-page section in preparing their version of The Mysterious
Stranger. And as a result of that and similar deletions, Tuckey went
on to say that the Paine-Duneka edition is "the only existing form of
the story that has the coherence and completeness of a realized literary
work" (p. 90). For further discussion of Paine and Duneka's editing
of The Mysterious Stranger, see Tuckey's notes to the Paine-Duneka text
in Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" and the Critics, pp. 1-74.
^A similar example occurs in "No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger"
when Johann Brinkerand ultimately his entire familyis afflicted
with terrible suffering for saving the life of that reprobate, Father
Adolph. Satan sums up the situation for August Feldner as follows:
"It is true. Thirty years. He has his witsthe
worse for himthe cruelty of it! He cannot speak, he
cannot hear, he cannot see, he is wholly helpless, the
half of him is paralysed, the other half is but a
house of entertainment for bodily miseries. At risk of
his life he saved a fellow-being. It has cost him ten
thousand deaths!"
Another sad-faced woman entered. . .
"August, the four sisters have stood watches over
his bed day and night for thirty years, ministering
to this poor wreck. Marriage, and home and families
of their own was not for them; they gave up all their
hopeful young dreams and suffered the ruin of their
lives, in order to ameliorate as well as they might
the miseries of their brother. They laid him upon his
bed in the bright morning of his youth and in the
golden glory of his new-born fameand look at him
now! His mother's heart broke, and she went mad.
Add up the sum: one broken heart, five blasted and


32
As with the rescues, the revelation of true identities occurs only at
the last possible moment:
At last the final act was at hand. The Archbishop
of Canterbury lifted up the crown of England from
its cushion and held it out over the trembling mock
king's head. In the same instant a rainbow-radiance
flashed along the spacious transept; for with one
impulse every individual in the great concourse of
nobles lifted a coronet and poised it over his or
her hand,and paused in that attitude.
A deep hush pervaded the Abbey. At this impres
sive moment, a startling apparition intruded upon
the scenean apparition observed by none in the ab
sorbed multitude, until it suddenly appeared, moving
up the great central aisle. It was a boy, bare-headed,
ill shod, and clothed in coarse plebian garments that
were falling to rags. He raised his hand with a
solemnity which ill comported with his soiled and
sorry aspect, and delivered this note of warning:
"I forbid you to set the crown of England upon
that forfeited head. I_ am the king of England!"
(pp. 281-282).
There follows, of course, the typical sequence of tests and explanations.
Finally and inevitably, though, Edward is recognized as the true heir
and crowned the King of England. And the concluding words of the novel
indisputably prove that Edward's adventures as a pauper did indeed
benefit the whole of the nation: "The reign of Edward VI was a singu
larly merciful one for those harsh times. Now that we are taking leave
of him let us try to keep this in our minds" (p. 308).
The final chapter presents abundant examples to show that the
newly crowned monarch was indeed merciful; yet the narrator also indi
cates that this quality was balanced by an appropriate measure of justice
where necessary. An example of this balance is given when the narrator
explains that Edward "took that old lawyer out of prison and remitted
his fine [in fulfillment of his earlier promise]. He provided good
homes for the daughters of the two Baptist women whom he saw burned
at the stake, and soundly punished the official who laid the undeserved


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
PROVIDENCE IN THE NOVELS OF SAMUEL CLEMENS
By
Robert Lee Cody
March 1978
Chairman: John B. Pickard
Major Department: English
Although much emphasis has recently been placed on the negativism
in Samuel Clemens's life and works, his early extended fiction is in
fact quite optimistic. This optimism is based on and is most apparent
in his use of the concept of providence as a controlling principle in
his early novels. Both thematically and structurally, the providential
concept plays an important role in Clemens's early development as a
novelist. The best example of this essential optimism is provided by
The Prince and the Pauper; but the providential theme and structure is
also evident in Clemens's two more famous works, The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Even as early as Huck Finn, however, there are indications that
Clemens is beginning to doubt the continued value of literary applica
tions of the providential concept. It is not surprising, therefore,
that in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Clemens's next
novel, the importance of this concept is significantly reduced; for Hank
Morgan, though he pays lip service to Christianity, actively seeks to
supplant Providence as the controlling force in his world. And in
Pudd'nhead Wilson, the doctrine of providence is further diminished as
vi


53
caught in midstream. And the most obvious sign of this conflict is the
concluding section of the novel. For after the climactic scene in which
Huck determines to go to hell to keep Jim from slavery, Clemens did not
know where to take his novel. Unsure of an appropriate ending to this
significant action, he fell back on traditional patterns. The first of
these,.as we have seen earlier, is the recognition scene. But Clemens
was faced with the problem of penetrating Huck's various disguises when
he was some 1100 miles from St. Petersburg and anyone who would recog
nize him. He solved it simply by bringing St. Petersburg to Huckfirst
in the person of Tom Sawyer and then through Aunt Polly, who finally
unmasks Huck. Once Clemens is forced to reintroduce Tom into the nar-
32
rative, young Sawyer dominates the action. And after all the extrava
gant activity which Tom has inspired, Clemens chooses another traditional
technique to draw the action to a close; the happy ending, in which all
the wicked receive appropriate retribution for their sins and the good
are rewarded with increased and continuing happiness, is in keeping
with the providential tradition. But the particular ending planned for
Huck would have been false to the development of his character, and it
seems that Clemens realized this. So Hucks intended escape to the
33
Territory, suggested at the conclusion of the novel, is Clemens's
limited break with the providential structure. In developing the struc
ture of Huckleberry Finn, Clemens did make significant use of the provi
dential tradition. But he could not finally force Huck to accept the
rewards of a society that he had just rejected in a display of his moral
development.
The fault of the ending, therefore, is that Samuel Clemens was
indeed caught at midstream. He finally came to understand that the


4
wilderness out of the way, and found no city to
dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was
overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the
Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works
before the sons of men."^
The Pilgrims thus felt that they were, as a modern incarnation of Moses
and the Israelites, the beneficiaries of a special providence which
"preserved both their lives and their healths.
This idea of special providences, as opposed to God's more general
concern for and control of all His creation, was not new, of course.^
Nor was it viewed, as the previous example might suggest, as a one
sided concept of divine beneficence. The Puritan fathers included mis
fortune in the idea of special providences, and it could serve two pur
poses. Many times the misfortune was thought of as the traditional test
or trial of one's faith. More often, however, it was seen as a punish
ment for evil; and its value here consisted in the object lesson it pro
vided, Increase Mather, in his Remarkable Providences Illustrative of
the Earlier Days of American Colonization,' presented vivid examples of
providential retribution. The following suitably illustrates God's
interposition in the life of the evildoer:
A thing not unlike to this hapned (though not in New-
England) yet in America, about a year ago; for in Sep
tember 1682, a man of the isle of Providence, belong
ing to a vessel, whereof one Wollery was master, being
charged with some deceit in a matter that had been
committed to him, in order to his own vindication, hor
ribly wished "that the devil might put out his eyes
if he had done as was suspected of him." That very
night a rhume fell into his eyes, so that within a
few dayes he became stark blind. His company being
astonished at the Divine hand which thus conspicuously
and signally appeared, put him ashore at Providence,
and left him there. A physician being desired to under
take his cure, hearing how he came to lose his sight,
refused to meddle with him. This account I lately re
ceived from credible persons, who knew and have often
seen the man whom the devil (according to his own
wicked wish) made blind, through the dreadful and
righteous judgment of God.15


60
24
This alternation between river and shore provides the basic move
ment of the plot in the middle section of the novel, from Chapters XVII
to XXXI, or even, as some critics insist, of the entire novel; see, for
example, Martha Banta, "Escape and Entry in Huckleberry Finn," MFS, XIV,
(Spring 1968), pp. 79-91, and Warren Beck, Huck Finn at Phelps Farm:
An Essay in Defense of the Novel's Form (Archives de Lettres Modernes,
Nos. 13-15), Paris, Lettres Modernes, 1958, pp. 1-32.
25
As Henry Nash Smith writes in the chapter "Sound Heart and De
formed Conscience," Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer, p. 122:
"What is still sound in [Huck] is an impulse from the deepest level
of his personality that struggles against the overlay of prejudice and
false valuation imposed on all members of the society in the name of
religion, morality, law, and refinement."
26
In his article, "Remarks on the Sad Initiation of Huckleberry Finn,"
SR, LXII, p. 395, Cox suggested this basis for Huck's disguises when
he wrote: "Huck is indeed the man without identity who is reborn at
almost every river bend, not because he desires a new role, but because
he must re-create himself to elude the forces which close in on him
from every side."
27
This event is, of course, the climactic action of the novel; nor
does Huck's action come easy:
And [I] got to thinking over our trip down the river;
and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and
in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes
storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing
and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no
places to harden me against him, but only the other
kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n,
'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and
when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where
the feud was; and such-like times; and would always
call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could
think of for me, and how good he always was; and at
last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men
we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and
said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the
world, and the only one he's got now; and then I
happened to look around and see that [letter to Miss
Watson].
It was a close place. I took it up and held it in
my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide,
forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I
studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then
I says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll j*o to hell"and tore it up
(pp. 278-279).
The finality of Huck's decision is indicated by the fact that he next
pledges to do that which earlier he had found so appalling when Jim
mentioned itstealing a person out of slavery:


79
This nineteenth-century influence is even more apparent in other
modifications of the typical providential structure; an example of this
modification is Hank's miracles. Miracles are a well-accepted part of
the Christian tradition. Kenneth Scott Latourette pointed this out when
he wrote: "In a confidence in miracles, both East and West [branches
of the Catholic Church] were in accord. How far that can be ascribed
to environment, especially to the environment peculiar to this period,
may be debatable. It is clear, however, that while from the very be
ginning Christians had believed in the miraculous and the power of the
Christian faith to work miracles was one of the factors in the conver
sion of the Roman Empire, in the years after 500 miracles loom more
prominently in the writings of the educated leaders of the Church in
22
the West than in the centuries before that dividing line." And they
occupy an integral place in the doctrine of providence as well. Jonathan
Edwards illustrated this quite well when he wrote: "The material world,
and all things pertaining to it, is by the creatour wholly subordinated
to the spiritual and moral world. To show this, God, in some things
in providence, has set aside the ordinary course of things in the
material world to subserve to the purposes of the moral and spiritual,
as in miracles. And to show that all things in heaven and earth, the
whole universe, is wholly subservient, the greater parts of it as well
as the smaller, God has once or twice interrupted the course of the
greater wheels of the machine, as when the sun stood still in Joshua's
23
time." The sun did not stand still for Hank, of course; instead, it
was temporarily blotted out. But this seemed miraculous to his sixth-
century audience. In reality, the eclipse was a very natural and ex
plainable phenomenon which Hank's historical knowledge and technological


27
heart. I will keep this diligently in my remembrance, that this day's
lesson be not lost upon me, and my people suffer thereby; for learning
14
softeneth the heart and breedeth gentleness and charity"' (pp. 39-40).
The characters' belief in a God who wisely and justly governs His
world and shows benevolent concern for its creatures is only part of
the providential element in The Prince and the Pauper, though. For the
structure of the novel is essentially a reflection of this belief; the
unfolding of the plot depends on just as remarkable a series of "chance
encounters and fortuitous mishaps," and a similar list of "extraordinary
accidents and coincidents and revelations" as Williams noted in Fielding's
novels. The story begins, in fact, by laying the foundation for the
most important coincidence: "In the ancient city of London, on a certain
autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was
born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On
the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name
of Tudor, who did want him" (p. 17). This coincidence becomes apparent
several pages and "a number of years" later, when it is discovered that
the two boys share more than just a birthday; as one of the boys, Edward,
Prince of Wales, points out during the chance encounter with Tom Canty,
they also have "the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner,
the same form and stature, the same face and countenance" (p. 34).
The extremely unlikely conjunction of these two look-alikes further
provides an opportunity for the first in a string of apparent accidents,
as the Prince of Wales, dressed in Tom Canty's clothing, is mistaken
for the pauper and evicted from his palatial home. Perhaps the Lord
Hertford offers the best statement of the improbability of these events
when he reflects as follows on the matter: "Tush, he [Tom] must be the


83
Notes
1
Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain (New York: Pocket Books, 1968), p. 316
2
"Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee: A Genetic Study," AL, XVIII,
197-218. ~
3
Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks, ed. Dixon Wee ter (San Marino, Calif.
Huntington Library, 1949), pp. 257-258.
4
Baetzhold summarized this schedule in "The Course of Composition
of A Connecticut Yankee: A Reinterpretation," AL, XXXIII, p. 207, when
he wrote: "This article will rechart the course of that composition
to show that the first three chapters were planned and written (earlier
than Hoben thought) between December, 1885, and March, 1886; that during
the summer of 1887 when a Yankee supposedly lay untouched, Twain wrote
some sixteen chapters; and that the manuscript was finished by May,
1889." In "Hawaiian Feudalism and Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in
King Arthur's Court," AL, XXX, p. 51, Fred Lorch had earlier attempted
to solve this problem by pointing to Clemens's continuing interest in
the feudal practices of the Sandwich Islands and to a novel on the Sand
wich Islands Clemens was apparently "busy at work on in the winter and
spring of 1883-1884."
"Revision and Intention in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee,"
AL, XXXVI, 288-297.
6
Ibid., p. 292.
7
Ibid., p. 297.
8
See James M. Cox's "Yankee Slang," the ninth chapter of his book
The Fate of Humor (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1966),
pp. 198-221; the section on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
in Philip Foner's Mark Twain: A Social Critic (New York: International
Publishers Co., Inc., 1958), pp. 103-115; and Robert Wilson's "Malory
in The Connecticut Yankee," Texas University Studies in Literature,
XXVII, 185-206. ^
9
Like Clemens, several American reviewers seem to have been in
fluenced by criticism such as Matthew Arnold's on America; see, for
example, Sylvester Baxter's review for the Boston Sunday Herald,
William Dean Howell's for Harper's Magazine, and an unsigned review for
the Plumas National, all contained in Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage,
ed. Frederick Anderson (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971), on
pages 148-152, 152-156, and 174-176, respectively.
"^Included in this group are Henry Nash Smith's Mark Twain's Fable
of Progress: Political and Economic Ideas in "A Connecticut Yankee"
(New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964); Roger Salomon's
chapter entitled "The Fall of Prometheus: A Connecticut Yankee" in


72
victimization of the common people, he has a secular philosophy himself.
In spite of his opposition to the Established Church and in spite of
his plan to replace it with a variety of sects, Hank is also unconcerned
with the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants of sixth-century England.
Rather, as a republican and a humanitarian, Hank is mainly interested
in improved living conditions and freedom for the masses. In order to
accomplish these goals, he depends on education and industrialization.
Hank does realize the need for religion as a part of his general scheme,
as he indicates in the following observations: "We must have a religion
it goes without sayingbut my idea is, to have it cut up into forty
free sects, so that they will police each other, as had been the case
in the United States in my time" (p. 142). But he merely views religion
as another social function, one that demands stringent control so that
it does not disrupt other equally or more important social functions;
as Hank says, "I had started a teacher-factory and a lot of Sunday-
schools in full blast in those places, and also a complete variety of
Protestant congregations all in a prosperous and growing condition.
Everybody could be any kind of a Christian he wanted to; there was
perfect freedom in that matter. But I confined public religious teach
ing to the churches and the Sunday-schools, permitting nothing of it
19
in my other educational buildings" (p. 78). Were Hank to supplant
the Established Church, then, it would simply be the replacement of a
nominally religious but actually secular power by a more obviously
secular control.
And Hank does plan to gain such control. Soon after his arrival
at King Arthur's Court, he says, "I made up my mind to two things: if
it was still the nineteenth century and I was among lunatics and couldn't


38
But even the burlesque is redeemed by Tom's real unconscious heroism."
Perry, however, made no attempt to excuse the final portion of the
novel; as he stated, "It is possible to feel, however, that the fun in
the long account of Tom Sawyer's artificial imitation of escapes from
prisons is somewhat forced; everywhere simplicity is a good rule, and
while the account of the Southern vendettathe Shepherdson-Grangerford
feudis a masterpiece, the caricature of books of adventure leaves us
cold. In one we have a bit of life; in the other Mark Twain is demolish-
4
ing something that has no place in the book."
Dismay over the ending continued. In Mark Twain at Work, Bernard
DeVoto declared that "in the whole reach of the English novel there is
no more abrupt or more chilling descent [than the ending of Huckleberry
5
Finn]." Despite the ring of finality to this statement, however,
DeVoto's remark only signaled that the battle was about to begin in
earnest; for the ending of the novel was to have defenders as well as
detractors. In introductions to separate editions of Huckleberry Finn,
Lionel Trilling and T. S. Eliot advanced the idea that the novel was
not flawed to any serious extent by the final sequence of events, that,
indeed, those events formed a quite appropriate ending to Huckleberry
Finn. Writing in 1948, Trilling said that, while the Phelps Farm
episode was "too long" and "a falling-off," "it has a certain formal
aptness. . It is a rather mechanical development of an idea, and
yet some device is needed to permit Huck to return to his anonymity, to
give up the role of hero, to fall into the background xvhich he pre
fers. . For this purpose nothing could serve better than the mind
of Tom Sawyer with its literary furnishings, its conscious romantic
desire for experience and the hero's part, and its ingenious


118
which everyone is returned to his proper role/place. Finally, there
is the inevitable distribution of rewards and punishments, based on
the principle of providential justice.
In The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts, however, quite different
devices are used and quite another structure is produced. For instance,
strands of action are introduced which ultimately lead nowhere. The
fragments "The Chronicle of Young Satan" and "Schoolhouse Hill"
simply stop, without a proper ending; even "No. 44, The Mysterious
Stranger," though there was an ending apparently written for it, was
never assembled in final form by Clemens, leaving doubt as to whether
he conceived of it as completed. And the digressions were so hopelessly
disconnected from the principal action and thus so disconcerting that
Paine and Duneka could improve the version of "The Chronicle of Young
14
Satan" by their numerous deletions.
Further, as in The Prince and the Pauper, there are really no
accidents in The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts. But this is not be
cause a wise Providence is watching over and guiding the world toward
the fulfillment of His own purposes; instead, all actions are determined
by previous "circumstances and environment." The best example of this
is the Nikolaus Baumann-Lisa Brandt episode. As Satan points out, what
might appear to be an accident of timing bringing these two young people
together is really the result simply of previous actions: "He would
arrive on the scene at exactly the right momentfour minutes past ten
the long-appointed instant of time" (p. 118). And even when Satan
exerts his own control to change Nikolaus's fate, the chain of action-
reaction takes over again. Nor do the apparent accidents work for
particularly wise purposes; as Satan goes on to point out, quick


3
heavily indebted to Augustine for his understanding and explanation of
that concept; this is especially evident in the connection he showed
between providence and the concepts of foreordination and reprobation.^
And by emphasizing this connection, Aquinas served as a link between
Augustine and a central figure in the Protestant Reformation, John
Calvin. Thus, despite the changes brought about by the Reformation,
the providential concept maintained a central place in Protestant the-
odicies. This is illustrated by Institutes of the Christian Religion,
in which Calvin devotes separate chapters to proving and explaining in
traditional terms the idea of providence and to examining how this doc
trine might benefit his followers.'*^'
If such a cataclysmic event as the Protestant Reformation could
not disrupt the continuum of the providential concept, then the trans
portation of Christianity to the American colonies could not be expected
to. The concept of Divine Providence has thus been a vital doctrine
in American culture since at least 1620. As the framers of the May
flower Compact stated, one of the principal reasons for the Pilgrims'
migration to the New World was for "the Glory of God and advancement of
12
the Christian Faith." An integral part of this faith was the belief
that God was watching over and guiding them, as William Bradford indi
cated when he wrote of the Pilgrims' early troubles:
What could now sustain them but the Spirit of God
and His grace? May not and ought not the children of
these fathers rightly say: "Our fathers were English
men which came over this great ocean, and were ready
to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the
Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their ad
versity," etc. "Let them therefore praise the Lord,
because He is good: and His mercies endure forever."
"Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord,
*shew how He hath delivered them from the hand of
the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert


109
28
The irony of this situation is multiple. For one thing, Roxy's
deed initiates a series of actions which ultimately leads to her son
being sold down the river, the specific fate she had tried to guard
against by switching the clothes and the identities of the two babies.
And while she is seemingly performing a rebellious act, Roxy is in fact
serving as a parodie imitation of the slave-owning society here.
29
Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper (New York: Harper & Brothers
Publishers, 1901), XV, 33-34.
30
"The Incipient Wilderness: A Study of Pudd'nhead Wilson," p. 134.
31
"Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson: Dawson's Landing and the Ladder
of Nobility," p. 253.
32
Ibid., pp. 254-255.


68
device. We still do see the thematic use of providence as Hank wanders
through his adventures in this Roman Catholic kingdom. Certainly the
people of the kingdom are continually praying to God, occasionally to
thank Him for some benefit received but more often to petition Him for
some favor. For example, when the Holy Fountain in the Valley of Holi
ness goes dry for a second time in its history, a pilgrim relates,
'"None may describe [the feeling of the people] in words. The fount is
these nine days dry. The prayers that did begin then, and the lamenta
tions in sackcloth and ashes, and the holy processions, none of these
have ceased nor night nor day; and so the monks and the nuns and the
foundlings be all exhausted,and do hang up prayers writ upon parchment,
sith that no strength is left in man to lift up voice'" (p. 180).
Nor are the people unaware of the providential concept, which serves
as the foundation for the act of praying. This is obvious when a candi
date for a military post, in responding to a question Hank asks him,
says, "Verily, in the all-wise and unknowable providence of God, who
moveth in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, have I never heard
the fellow to this question for confusion of the mind and congestion
16
of the ducts of thought" (p. 223). Thus, a sixth-century Briton is
quite familiar with the concept of God's concern for and control over
man's destiny; it is supposedly an essential underpinning of his whole
view of life.
But while providence is a familiar concept, it is not presented
as a spiritually viable one in A Connecticut Yankee. The prayers of
the people, based ideally on a firm belief in a providential God, are
often performed ritualistically and out of habit rather than as an
essential function in the life of many of the characters. Morgan le Fay


31
intervention; Williams pointed out this formula when he explained that
"the Rev. Isaac Barrow, in an enumeration of the 'distinctive marks or
characteristics' by which we 'may perceive God's Hand,' instructs us
thus: 'Another character of special Providence is, the Seasonableness
and Suddenness of Events. When that which in it self is not ordinary,
nor could well be expected, doth fall out happily, in the nick of an
exigency, for the relief of innocence, the encouragement of goodness, the
support of a good cause, the furtherance of any good purpose. . .'
When such an event occurs, he continues, it 'is a shrewd indication, that
16
God s hand is then concerned.'" Therefore, Miles Hendon's otherwise
inexplicable appearances at just the right moment are justified, and the
subplot for which Miles serves as the principal character is provided
with a raison d 'etre; Miles is the obvious instrument of a special provi
dence, functioning as a guide and protector to Edward in the young king's
wanderings through his kingdom.
In summary, then, it is Edward's seemingly haphazard wanderings
which form the substance of what Franklin Rogers refers to as the little
king's "moral pilgrimmage." Through this literal and figurative journey,
Edward is able to understand the conditions in which the common people
of his realm live. This would not have been possible if the fortunate
accident which thrust the Prince of Wales into a pauper's role had not
occurred. The hand of God is thus suggested in this initial reversal of
roles; and it continues to be shown in the assiduous and often extra
ordinary means taken to preserve Edward, principally through the instru
mentality of Miles Hendon, during the educative process he undergoes.
Before Edward can resume his proper place, however, there is the
traditional recognition scene, so familiar in the providential novel.


18
28
Mark Twain: The Man and His Work (Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-
Merrill, 1943), p. 25.
29
The Autobiography of Mark Twain, ed. Charles Neider (New York:
Washington Square Press, 1961), p. 45.
30 ,
Mark Twain s Letters, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper &
Brothers Publishers, 1917), I, 45.
3^(Archon Books, 1967), p. 69.
32Ibid., p. 70.
33Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks,
Mifflin, 1952), pp. 79-80.
ed. Dixon Wecter (Boston:
Houghton
Mark Twain's Notebook, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine (New York: Harper &
Brothers, 1935), p. 190.
35
"In My Bitterness," Fables of Man, ed. John S. Tuckey (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1972), p. 131.
36
This definition is simply a merging of the definitions of "provi
dence" provided by Davison and Beckwith.
37
I used Fielding, Cooper, and Hawthorne because these three writers
are influential figures in literary history; because they did make obvi
ous and effective use of the providential concept, each in his own way;
and because Clemens was quite familiar with at least some of the works
of these three.
38
"Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's Novels,"
SAQ, LXX, ii (Spring 1971), pp. 281-282.
39
In Mark Twain, Son of Missouri (Chapel Hill: The University of
North Carolina Press, 1934), p. 239, Minnie Brashear provided an early
comparison of Clemens with Fielding when she wrote that "there are re
markable resemblances in the mental and emotional trends of the two men
and in the themes they choose." More recently, Gilbert Rubenstein, in
"The Moral Structure of Huckleberry Finn," CE, XVIII, 75, compared
Clemens's world view to that of Dickens and Fielding, "those other
novelists of the realistic tradition that he resembles most closely."
Finally, in examining Clemens's use of the deus ex machina in the course
of his article on "The Character of Jim and the Ending of Huckleberry
Finn," MR, V, 59, Chadwick Hansen pointed to Fielding's use of the same
device "to rescue Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews."
40
The Works of James Fenimore Cooper (New York: G. P. Putnam's
Sons, 1912), I, 121.


Notes
1
"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be
prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished;
persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot."
2
The best known of these is Bernard DeVoto in the chapter from
Mark Twain at Work (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1942)
entitled "The Symbols of Despair," pp. 105-130. Also see Coleman 0.
Parsons, "The Devil and Samuel Clemens," VQR, XXIII (Autumn 1947),
582-606, for a discussion of the effect Clemens's guilt complex had
on his writings.
3
For discussion of The Mysterious Stranger based on the myth of
the fall, see Ronald J. Gervais, "'The Mysterious Stranger'" The Fall
as Salvation," PCP, V, 24-33, and Buford Scrivner, Jr., "The Mysteri
ous Stranger: Mark Twain's New Myth of the Fall," MTJ, XVII, iv (Summer
1975), 20-21.
4
See Edwin Fussell, The Structural Problem of The Mysterious
Stranger," SP, XLIX (January 1952), 95-104, and John R. May, "The Gospel
According to Philip Traum: Structural Unity in 'The Mysterious Stranger,'
SSF, VIII, 411-422. In his chapter "The Mysterious Stranger" from
Mark Twain: The Fate of Humor (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1966), pp. 247-284, James Cox justifies the Paine-Duneka version as part
of his discussion of the novel.
5
This comment was offered by John S. Tuckey; see his Mark Twain
and Little Satan: The Writing of "The Mysterious Stranger" (West
Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Studies, 1963), and "The Mysterious
Stranger: Mark Twain's Texts and the Paine-Duneka Edition," Mark Twain's
"The Mysterious Stranger" and the Critics, ed. John S. Tuckey (Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1968), pp. 85-90. Another
important contribution in this area is William Gibson's editing of the
manuscript versions of The Mysterious Stranger, by Mark Twain (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1970). A related area of investigation
is the sources of The Mysterious Stranger; see "The Genesis of The
Mysterious Stranger," MTQ, VIII, 15-19, and Coleman 0. Parsons, "The
Background of The Mysterious Stranger," AL, XXXII (March 1960), 55-74.
6
See Gladys Bellamy, Mark Twain as a Literary Artist (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1950), p. 359; Pascal Covici, Jr., Mark
Twain's Humor: The Image of the World (Dallas: Southern Methodist
University Press, 1962), pp. 247-248; Roger B. Salomon, "Escape as
Nihilism: The Mysterious Stranger," Twain and the Image of History
(New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1961), pp. 191-210; and
William C. Spengemann, "The Angel: The Mysterious Stranger," Mark Twain
and the Backwoods Angel (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press,
1966), p. 127.


105
Company, 1973), pp. 125-141; Michael Ross's "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead
Wilson: Dawson's Landing and the Ladder of Nobility," Novel 6, 244-256;
and Arlin Turner's "Mark Twain and the South: An Affair of Love and
Anger," JSR, n.s. IV, ii (1968), 493-519.
g
Examination of the question "real versus apparent identity" is
undertaken in Frank C. Cronin's "The Ultimate Perspective in Pudd'nhead
Wilson," MTJ, XVI, i, 14-16, and in Edgar T. Schell's "'Pears' and 'Is'
in Pudd'nhead Wilson," MTJ, XII, iii, 12-15. And in "Dawson's Landing:
Thematic Cityscape in Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson," MTJ, XIII, i, 8, Louis
Leiter introduces "several other dominant motifs which are subsumed under
the appearance-reality theme and are strong enough to press toward sub
sidiary themes: the motif of enslavement to inherited attitudes, ideas,
traditions, self-delusions, and the like . ; the motif of nobil
ity . ; and the motif of stealing. Finally, Anne Wigger spends
the latter portion of the article "The Composition of Mark Twain's
Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins: Chronology and Develop
ment," MP, LV, 93-102, discussing the contrast between appearance and
reality in Pudd'nhead Wilson.
9
George Spangler attempted to show that the key to an adequate
interpretation of Pudd'nhead Wilson was the theme of property in his
fine article "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property," AL, XLII,
28-37. In a later article, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Fight for Popularity
and Power," WAL, VII, 135-143, Eberhard Alsen disagreed with Spangler's
emphasis on the false Tom Driscoll and his obsession with property;
rather, he indicated that the central concern of the novel was David
Wilson's rise to popularity and power. But rather than viewing his and
Spangler's thematic interpretations as contradictory, Alsen felt that
they complemented one another in providing an understanding of the
novel.
^John M. Brand, "The Incipient Wilderness: A Study of Pudd'nhead
Wilson," WAL, VII, 125-134.
"^Florence B. Leaver's "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson," MTJ, X,
ii, 14-20, provides a general discussion of the fictive techniques em
ployed in this novel. In his article "Mark Twain's Neglected Classic:
The Moral Astringency of Pudd'nhead Wilson," Commentary, XXI, 128-136,
F. R. Leavis discusses the novel from the standpoint of its ironic and
ethical maturity; and in articles mentioned earlier, Louis Leiter and
Ann Wigger subsidiarily offer further insight into Clemens's use of the
ironic technique in Pudd'nhead Wilson, while in "Pudd'nhead Wilson:
A Contemporary Parable," MTJ, XIII, ii, 5-7, Marilyn Gaddis Rose talks
about the novel as an "ironic allegory" that is still relevant today.
Philip Kolin examines this novel as a tragedy in the classical tradi
tion in his article "Mark Twain, Aristotle, and Pudd'nhead Wilson,"
MTJ, XV, ii, 1-4. And for an explanation of the meaning and significance
of Pudd'nhead Wilson's "half of that dog" joke, see Marvin Fisher and
Michael Elliott's article "Pudd'nhead Wilson: Half a Dog is Worse than
None," SoR, XIII, 533-547; John Freimarck's "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Tale
of Blood and Brotherhood," UR, XXXIV, 303-306; and C. Webster Wheelock's
"The Point of Pudd'nhead's Half-a-Dog Joke," AN&Q, VIII, 150-151.
Finally, a number of critics see a connection between Wilson and the


69
provides the most notable example of this; in her palace, grace before
meals and an evening benediction are just as regularly observed as the
atrocities she commits. But Hank sarcastically notes that Morgan le Fay
is no anomaly in this seemingly contradictory behavior when he relates
the following:
Madame, seeing me pacific and unresentful, no doubt
judged that I was deceived by her excuse; for her
fright dissolved away, and she was soon so importu
nate to have me give an exhibition and kill somebody,
that the thing grew to be embarrassing. However, to
my relief she was presently interrupted by the call
to prayers. I will say this much for the nobility:
that, tyrannical, murderous, rapacious, and morally
rotten as they were, they were deeply and enthusias
tically religious. Nothing could divert them for
the regular and faithful performance of the pieties
enjoined by the Church. More than once I had seen
a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage,
stop to pray before cutting his throat; more than
once I had seen a noble, after ambushing and des
patching his enemy, retire to the nearest wayside
shine and humbly give thanks, without even waiting
to rob the body (p. 131).
And, though this tendency is initiated by the nobility, it is not limited
to them. For members of the lower classes of citizens, strong practi
tioners of the rituals of Roman Catholicism, do things just as morally
reprehensible. Dowley the blacksmith, for example, only moments after
indicating his recognition of "the grace and providence of God," would
have killed Hank and King Arthur had not he and his fellows been stopped
by a passing "gentleman." Thus, the ideal contrasts with the practice
in much of Arthur's realm, and providence is less a viable doctrine
than a part of a hollow rhetoric for many in the kingdom.
The reasons for this lack of spiritual viability in the providen
tial concept are clear. The first, of course, is the influence exerted
by the Established Church. As Hank explains, and as Clemens illustrates,
this influence is primarily a negative one. The Church's main purpose


98
support the institution of slavery, and Pembroke Howard's religious
convictions are further compromised by the fact that he is willing to
fight a duel for practically any reason. In this context, Christianity
does not seem to be particularly viable in Dawson's Landing. And the
traditional Christian concept of providence is of little real value
either in the daily life of Dawson's Landing's residents or, as might
therefore be expected, in the thematic development of Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Providence has been displaced in both the town and the novel by a tri
umvirate of secular gods.
Of course, this movement away from the providential concept is
also evident in the structure of the novel. While vestiges of the provi
dential structure remain, Clemens drastically reduced his dependence on
this concept as a structural device in Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Because of its similarity to the beginning of The Prince and the
Pauper, though, the opening section of Pudd'nhead Wilson initially sug
gests that Clemens had continued to use traditional providential tech
niques. For like Tom Canty and Prince Edward, Thomas a Becket Driscoll
and Valet de Chambre are born on the same day into vastly disparate
social classes. Even more significant than the shared birthdays, though,
is the strong physical resemblance between each set of youths, a fact
conveyed in remarkably similar passages:
A few minutes later the little Prince of Wales was
garlanded with Tom's fluttering odds and ends, and the
little Prince of Pauperdom was tricked out in the
gaudy plumage of royalty. The two went and stood side
by side before a great mirror, and lo, a miracle:
there did not seem to have been any change made!
They stared at each other, then at the glass, then at
each other again. At last the puzzled princeling said:
"What dost thou make of this?"
"Ah, good your worship, require me not to answer.
It is not meet that one of my degree should utter the
thing."


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank Dr. Ruthellen Crews and Dr. Ward Hellstrom
for the helpful suggestions they have provided for this study. And I
especially would like to thank Dr. Ben Pickard, whose perceptive criticism
and constant faith were both necessary for the successful completion of
this dissertation.
iv


12
He has rotted it with disease and made it a hell
of pains, you will know why He did it. He gives
you a wife and children whom you adore, only that
through the spectacle of the wanton shames and
miseries which He will inflict upon them He may
tear the palpitating heart out of your breast and
slap you in the face with it. 5
While his attitude toward providence thus seems to have varied consider
ably in his lifetime, Clemens did show a keen awareness of the tradi
tional idea of providence; however much he ultimately disagreed with it,
Clemens was totally familiar with the Christian concept of God's direct,
concern for the welfare of His creatures and His governance of the crea
tion for His divine purposes?^
In addition to his religious training in the concept of providence,
Clemens also seems to have been familiar with a number of writers who
37
relied on this doctrine in their works. Henry Fielding, for example,
is a notable part of the providential tradition in literature; as Aubrey
Williams has pointed out, Fielding used his fictive world as a micro-
cosmic reflection of the real world in which Providence quite obviously
operated:
I would argue that the design of Tom Jones, with all
its quite remarkable course of chance encounters and
fortuitous mishaps, its long list of extraordinary
accidents and coincidents and revelations, is finally
artfully contrived to make us see a fictive world
that offers a close analogy to that "real" world
wherein, in Archbishop Tillotson's words, "There are
many things, indeed, which to us seem chance and ac
cident; but in respect to God, they are providence and
design; they may appear to happen by chance, or may
proceed from the ill-will and malicious intent of
second causes, but they are designed wisely." In
sum, we must recognize, I think, that Fielding has
structured Tom Jones, as well as his other novels, in
such a way as to demonstrate the truth of Allworthy's
declaration when he learns the secret of Tom's birth:
"Good Heavens! Well! The Lord disposeth all things."^8


102
of the moral sickness in the town. The newly discovered Valet de Chambre
thus becomes the scapegoat for all the disorders of this "slaveholding
town"; Michael Ross suggested this when he wrote: "By focusing the
blame for all the disorders so theatrically on Tom, Wilson in effect
relieves the town of any possible share in the guilt. His miraculous
fingerprints are indeed 'palace-window decoration'a Royal Nonesuch
that enables him to keep up communal appearances, to preserve unblemished
31
the facade of the local aristocratic establishment." Unlike the tradi
tional recognition scene, then, the one in Pudd'nhead Wilson does not
restore a proper world order; rather, it simply masks the moral disorder
which continues to exist in Dawson's Landing. Unless we view God as a
racist, then the hand of Providence is not evident in this recognition
scene.
The conclusion of the novel provides final evidence that Pudd'nhead
Wilson lacks a providential structure. In the typical providential end
ing, rewards and punishments are distributed in a fictive analogue of
God's justice; the good finally prevail, the totally depraved are van
quished, and the harmlessly evil and redeemable are perhaps temporarily
punished so that they might learn the necessary lessons for ultimate
salvation. But in Pudd'nhead Wilson, everyone suffers in the end. The
real Thomas a Becket Driscoll is restored to his rightful place, but
he cannot function in it because of the effective training he received
as a Negro slave: "The real heir suddenly found himself rich and free,
but in a most embarrassing situation, . His gait, his attitudes,
his gestures, his learning, his laughall were vulgar and uncouth;
his manners were the manners of a slave. Money and fine clothes could
not mend these defects or cover them up; they only made them the more


22
Nor is this simply the fearful response of a misguided or misinformed
youth, for any event at all out of the ordinary is invariably inter
preted in the same way in this community: "It was a judgment; His hand
is here" (p. 70).
In addition to this thematic use of providence, the concept also
has an effect on the structure of the novel; Clemens used several de
vices from the providential tradition in literature. For example, in
an analogue of providential justice, rewards and punishments are dis
tributed during the concluding action of Tom Sawyer. Injun Joe, the
only truly malicious character in the novel, suffers an appropriately
horrible death: "When the cave door was unlocked, a sorrowful sight
presented itself in the dim twilight of the place. Injun Joe lay
i
stretched upon the ground, dead, with his face close to the door, as if
l
his longing eye had been fixed, to the latest moment, upon the light
and the cheer of the free world outside" (p. 294). And Injun Joe's part
ner in crime is also punished, though his death scene is neither vividly
described nor given the aura of horror Injun Joe's was: "At home Tom
learned of the Cardiff Hill event; also that the 'ragged man's' body
had eventually been found in the river near the ferry-landing; he had
been drowned while trying to escape, perhaps" (p. 292). Conversely,
the characters with the best hearts, Huck and Tom, are rewarded at the
conclusion of the novel for the goodness they had displayed; this reward
comes in the form of the traditional treasure-box, filled in this case
with over $12,000 worth of gold coins.
Even before the end, though, there are a number of apparent acci
dents which, by their fortunate effects, suggest the influence of Divine
Providence. For instance, Injun Joe would have discovered Huck and Tom


61
It was awful thought and awful words, but they was
said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no
more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out
of my head, and said I would take up wickedness again,
which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the
other warn't. And for a starter I would go to work
and steal Jim out of slavery again. . (p. 279).
28
An integral part of the recognition sequence is Tom s revelation,
which immediately precedes the arrival of Aunt Polly, that Jim "ain't
no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth" (p. 369).
29
The fact that Miss Watson freed Jim on her deathbed doesn't ne
gate the providential nature of this event; rather, she is just the
instrument through which God works. In his article "The Character of
Jim and the Ending of Huckleberry Finn," MR, V, p. 59, Chadwick Hansen
suggested this when he noted: "Jim has to be reunited with his family
and the only way to accomplish this without writing another and very
different novel is to use a machine, just as Fielding had to use a
machine to rescue Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews."
3
The Unity and Coherence of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al. (New York: W. W. Norton &
Company, Inc., 1971), p. 356.
31
Nassau Review, I, V, 47.
32
Several critics have seen Tom's domination of the action at the
end of the novel as a necessary result of Clemens's own personality
taking control for a variety of reasons. See, for example, Robert
Ornstein, "The Ending of Huckleberry Finn," MLN, LXXIV, p. 702, and Henry
Nash Smith, "A Sound Heart and a Deformed Conscience," Mark Twain: The
Development of a Writer (New York: Atheneum, 1967), p. 133.
33
"But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the
rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and
I can't stand it. I been there before."
34
This remark further suggests the direction that Clemens will take
in future novels, where he more and more conveys the suggestion that
the control of the world is diabolical rather than beneficent.
35
This direction can also be seen in such early short pieces as
"The Lost Ear-ring," The "Second Advent," and "The Holy Children" in
Mark Twain's Fables of Man, ed. John S. Tuckey (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1972).


123
blighted young lives. All this it costs to save a
priest for a life-long career of vice and all forms
of shameless rascality! Come, come, let us go, be
fore these enticing rewards for well-doing unbalance
my judgment and persuade me to become a human being
myself!" (pp. 322-323).


136
Gerstenberger, Donna. "Huckleberry Finn and the World's Illusions."
Western Humanities Review, 14 (1960), 401-406.
Gervais, Ronald J. "'The Mysterious Stranger': The Fall as Salvation."
Pacific Coast Philology, 5 (1970), 24-33.
Gullason, Thomas Arthur. "The 'Fatal' Ending of Huckleberry Finn." Ameri
can Literature 29 (1957), 86-91; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn: An Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in
Criticism. Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E.
Hudson Long. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962,
pp. 357-361.
Guttmann, Allen. "Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee: Affirmation of the
Vernacular Tradition?" New England Quarterly, 33 (1960), 232-237.
Halverson, John. "Patristic Exegesis: A Medieval Tom Sawyer." College
English, 27 (1965), 50-55.
Hansen, Chadwick. "The Character of Jim and the Ending of Huckleberry
Finn." Massachusetts Review, 5 (1963), 45-66.
. "The Once and Future Boss: Mark Twain's Yankee." Nineteenth-
Century Fiction, 28 (1973), 62-73.
Hart, John E. "Heroes and Houses: The Progress of Huck Finn." Modern
Fiction Studies, 14 (1968), 39-46.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Twice-Told Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1882.
Hill, Hamlin. "Barnum, Bridgeport and The Connecticut Yankee." American
Quarterly, 16 (1964), 615-616.
. "The Composition and Structure of Tom Sawyer." American
Literature, 32 (1960), 379-392.
. Mark Twain: God's Fool. New York: Harper & Row, Pub., 1973.
Hinz, John. "Huck and Puck: 'Bad' Boys in American Fiction." South
Atlantic Quarterly, 51 (1952), 120-129.
Hoben, John B. "Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee: A Genetic Study."
American Literature, 18 (1946), 197-218.
Hoffman, Daniel G. Form and Fable in American Fiction. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1961.
Holmes, Charles S. "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Mark
Twain's Fable of Uncertainty." South Atlantic Quarterly, 61 (1962),
463-472.
House, Kay Seymour. Cooper's Americans. Columbus: Ohio State University
Press, 1965.


127
they are now explicable scientifically rather than providentially.
There are rescues, although they are accomplished with technological
implements instead of the conventional instruments of God. Clemens
still had not managed to escape a dependence on the providential tradi
tion.
In Pudd'nhead Wilson, Clemens was able to reduce significantly
the importance of the providential concept in his fictive world. Themati
cally, an almost religious regard for the "cult of Southern aristocracy,"
materialistic values, and/or scientific processes substituted for the
reverence traditionally accorded Providence. Structurally, only a
parody of providential techniques remains. There is an amazing coinci
dence, based on the twin motif used providentially in The Prince and the
Pauper; but no moral or social benefit is derived from Roxy's discovery
of the resemblance between Thomas a Becket Driscoll and her son. There
are occasional accidents of the kind that traditionally end up serving
providential purposes; but they do not here. And the recognition scene
ironically disguises the true cause of Judge Driscoll's murder, reveal
ing only a symptom of the disease that pollutes Dawson's Landing.
Finally, no one is rewarded; good and bad alike suffer misfortune at
the end of Pudd'nhead Wilson. Significantly, though, the novel in which
Clemens was so successful in eliminating or diluting the influence of
the providential tradition is also the one in which he had the least
control of his material up to this point. As the concept of providence
disintegrates further, seemingly so does his control as an author.
Finally we come to the culmination of the direction in which
Clemens had been heading since the ending of Huckleberry FinnThe
Mysterious Stranger. In this work Clemens finally rejected the


135
Ensor, Allison. "The Location of the Phelps Farm in 'Huckleberry Finn.'"
South Atlantic Bulletin, 34, No. 3 (1969), 7.
. Mark Twain & the Bible. Lexington: University of Kentucky
Press, 1969.
The Fathers of the Church. 65 Vols. New York: The Cima Publishing Co.,
Inc., 1947. Vol. I: "The Christian Combat." Writings of St. Augus
tine, by Aurelius Augustinus, Bishop of Hippo. Trans. Robert P.
Russell, pp. 307-353.
. 65 Vols. New York: The Cima Publishing Co., Inc., 1947.
Vol. VIII: The City of God: Books I-VII. Writings of St. Augus
tine, by Aurelius Augustinus, Bishop of Hippo. Trans. Demetrius B.
Zema and Gerald G. Walsh.
Ferguson, DeLancey. "Huck Finn Aborning." Colophon, NS3 (Spring 1938),
171-180; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An Annotated Text,
Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism. Eds. Sculley
Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long. New York:
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 297-305.
Fiedler, Leslie. "As Free as Any Cretur. ..." New Republic, 15, 22
August 1955.
Fisher, Marvin, and Elliott, Michael. "Pudd'nhead Wilson: Half a Dog Is
Worse than None." Southern Review, NS8 (1972), 533-547.
Folsom, James K. Man's Accidents and God's Purposes: Multiplicity in
Hawthorne's Fiction. New Haven, Conn.: College and University
Press, 1963.
Foner, Philip. Mark Twain: Social Critic. New York: International
Publishers Co., Inc., 1958.
Fortuna, James L., Jr. "'The Unsearchable Wisdom of God': A Study of
Providence in Richardson's Pamela." Ph.D. dissertation, University
of Florida, 1973.
Frederick, John T. The Darkened Sky: Nineteenth Century American Novel
ists and Religion. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1969.
Freimarck, John: "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Tale of Blood and Brotherhood."
University Review, 34 (1967), 303-306.
Froeltsch, L. "Free-Thought." Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Ed.
John Hastings. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955, pp. 20-23.
Fussell, Edwin S. "The Structural Problem of The Mysterious Stranger."
Studies in Philology, 49 (1952), 95-104.
Geismar, Maxwell. Mark Twain: An American Prophet. Abridged ed. New
York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1973.


25
or rather an Inglyssh Gode, yf we consydyr and pondyr welle alie Hys
10
proceedynges with us from tyme to tyme." From the very first, then,
Clemens was establishing a basis for the providential interpretation of
his fictive world.
It can thus be expected that providence will be displayed in a
number of ways in this novel. An obvious indication of this concept's
importance is the various characters' firm belief in God's control of
the world. Examples of this abound: Tom Canty feels that his ultimate
dream of seeing a real prince will be fulfilled "if Heaven were willing"
(p. 27); the Lord Hertford explains to King Henry VIII, in reporting
upon the "madness" of the supposed prince, Tom Canty, that "it is the
will of God that the Prince's affliction abideth still" (p. 70). Miles
Hendon therefore expresses a generally accepted contemporary attitude
when he says to Edward, "Peace! and forebear to worsen our chances with
dangerous speech. What God wills, will happen; thou canst not hurry it,
thou canst not alter it; therefore wait, and be patient'twill be time
enow to rail or rejoice when what is to happen has happened" (p. 218).
God's control is only one side of the providential coin, however.
The inhabitants of Clemens's fictive world also acknowledge God's concern
for the care of His creatures. This is obvious from their appeals to
Him when they are troubled and from their thanksgiving to Him for favor
able occurrences. Illustrations of this appear throughout the text.
An example of their faith in the efficacy of prayer is presented by the
Lord St. John when he brings the following message to the supposed prince
from Henry VIII: "Thus saith the king's majesty, who sendeth greeting
to your royal highness and prayeth that God will of His mercy quickly
heal you and have you now and ever in His holy keeping" (p. 53).


30
The rest was lost in inarticulate mutterings. The
old man sunk upon his knees, his knife in his hand,
and bent himself over the moaning boy
Hark! There was a sound of voices near the cabin
the knife dropped from the hermit's hand; he cast a
sheepskin over the boy and started up, trembling.
The sounds increased, and presently became rough and
angry; then came blows, and cries for help; then a
clatter of swift footsteps retreating. Immediately
came a succession of thundering knocks upon the cabin
door, followed by:
"Hull-o-o! Open! And despatch, in the name of all
the devils!"
Oh, this was the blessedest sound that ever made
music in the king's ears; for it was Miles Hendon's
voice! (pp. 200-201).
Of course, Edward only obtains temporary relief. Hendon, not
realizing that the king is in the bedroom, leaves with the hermit and
thus allows the king to be recaptured by John Canty, a fate scarcely
better than that the hermit had planned for him. But this provides yet
another opportunity for Edward to be rescued. His third dilemma is pre
cipitated by the bitter resentment that the elder Canty's accomplice,
Hugo, feels for Edward; thus, Hugo "frames" the young king by making it
appear that Edward has stolen a pig, a crime punishable by death at that
time. For his supposed crime, Edward is threatened by a mob. And again
Miles providentially appears at just the right time:
The crowd closed around, threatening the king and call
ing him names; a brawny blacksmith in leather apron, -
and sleeves rolled to his elbows, made a reach for him,
saying that he would trounce him well, for a lesson;
but just then a sword flashed through the air and
fell with convincing force upon the man's arm, flat-
side down, the fantastic owner of it remarking pleas
antly at the same time:
"Marry, good souls, let us proceed gently, not with
ill blood and uncharitable words" (p. 213).
Each time, then, that Edward faces a serious danger and seems
finally beyond the pale of aid, he is miraculously rescued. Each of
these three rescues follows the traditional pattern of providential


CHAPTER VI
THE MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
Samuel Clemens inscribed a warning, which was quite likely di
rected toward enterprising critical commentators, at the beginning of
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He would have done better to have
scattered among his notes and manuscripts appropriate warnings concern
ing The Mysterious Stranger, a work which presents much more formidable
problems for the prospective critic. First of all, The Mysterious
Stranger was not published in Clemens's lifetime. In fact, he failed
to leave a final, completed version; instead, there were three incom
plete manuscripts scattered among his papers when he died. A version
was finally published in 1916, six years after the author's death; but
Albert Bigelow Paine, Clemens's literary executor, and Frederick Duneka,
general manager of Harper & Brothers, had performed extensive editorial
surgery in preparing The Mysterious Stranger for publication. Even be
fore the aspiring commentator begins to search for the meaning and sig
nificance of this short novel, then, he must decide whether to use the
Paine -Duneka version, to depend only on the manuscripts, or to work
out some compromise by which the manuscript versions and the published
version are used together.
It is quite understandable, therefore, that there is such variety
in the approaches critics have taken to The Mysterious Stranger, and
such contradiction in the assumptions they have used and the conclusions
110


29
and protecting His future secular representative. In other words,
Clemens sets up a pattern of near disasters and timely rescues in the
course of Edward's wanderings which suggests that providential element
which is so important to the meaning and structure of the novel.
The first example of this providential intervention occurs when
Edward is threatened by a mob for "proclaiming his rights and his wrongs,
denouncing the imposter [Tom Canty], and clamoring for admission at the
gates of Guildhall!" (p. 91). Here Miles Hendon makes his first appear
ance. Miles's attempted defense of the little prince only incites the
wrath of the mocking crowd, however. In fact, Miles as well as the
prince seems in real danger when "suddenly a trumpet-blast sounded, a
voice shouted, 'Way for the King's messenger!' and a troop of horsemen
came charging down upon the mob, who fled out of harm's reach as fast
as their legs could carry them. The bold stranger caught up the prince
in his arms, and was soon far away from danger and the multitude" (p. 93).
Miles, then, aided ironically by the messenger bringing word of Henry VIII's
death, is the means of Edward's deliverance from his first real threat.
But Edward is quickly lured from Miles's protection by John Canty,
who thinks that the new king is his son. The little king escapes
Canty's band of rogues only to become a prisoner of a thoroughly insane
hermit who poses the next imminent danger to Edward's safety. Again
Providence intervenes, as only Miles's timely and inexplicable appearance
at the secluded forest cabin prevents the hermit from murdering Edward:
The dawn was coming now; the hermit observed it,
and spoke up sharply, with a touch of nervous apprehen
sion in his voice:
"I may not indulge this ecstasy longer! The night
is already gone. It seems but a momentonly a moment;
would it had endured a year! Seed of the Church's
spoiler, close thy perishing eyes, an' thou fearest to
look upon. . ."


11
But don't you know that the hand of Providence is in
it somewhere? You can depend upon it. I never yet
had what seemed at the time to be a particularly ag
gravating streak of bad luck but what it revealed it
self to me later as a piece of royal good fortune.
Who ara I, Mother, that I should take it upon myself
to determine what is good fortune & what is evil?
For about a week, Providence headed me off at every
turn. The real object of it, & the real result, may
not transpire till you & I are old, & these days for
gottenand therefore is it not premature, to call it
bad luck? We can't tell, yet. You ought to have
heard me rave & storm at a piece of "bad luck" which
befel me a year ago& yet it was the very means of
introducing me to Livy!& behold, now am I become a
philosopher who, when sober reflection comes, hesitateth
to rail at what seemeth to feeble finite vision ill
luck, conscious that "the end is not yet."33
The tone of this letter indicates the developing skepticism Clemens
had about the doctrine. Later, his doubt turned to outright rejection
of the traditional concept of God's guidance of and concern for "His
creation"; Clemens indicated this in the mid-1870's, when he wrote as
follows: "Special Providence: That phrase nauseates mewith its im
plied importance of mankind and triviality of God. In my opinion these
myriads of globes are merely the blood corpuscles ebbing and flowing
through the arteries of God and we the animalculae that infest them,
disease them, pollute them. And God does not know we are there and
34
would not care if He did." This, of course, would be the attitude
elicited when Clemens felt disgust and contempt for "the damned human
race." But he alternately felt a great sorrow for the lot of mankind;
in meditating upon Susy's death, he acknowledged this feeling:
Therethat is something I have noticed before: He
never does a kindness. When He seems to do one, it
is a trap which He is setting; you will walk into it
some day, then you will understand, and be ashamed
to remember how stupidly gratified you had been. No,
He gives you riches merely as a trap; it is to quad
ruple the bitterness of the poverty which He has
planned for you. He gives you a healthy body and you
are tricked into thanking Him for it; some day, when


103
glaring and the more pathetic. The poor fellow could not endure the
terrors of the white man's parlor, and felt at home and at peace nowhere
but in the kitchen. The family pew was a misery to him" (p. 224). And
the impostor, Valet de Chambre, is not even allowed the dignity of ap
propriate punishment; instead, he is sold down the river as the novel
ironically comes full circle. Roxy, of course, is repentent; but she
is still totally and permanently reduced by a tragedy of her own making:
"Roxy's heart was broken. The young fellow upon whom she had inflicted
twenty-three years of slavery continued the false heir's pension of
thirty-five dollars a month to her, but her hurts were too deep for
money to heal; the spirit in her eye was quenched, her martial bearing
departed with it, and the voice of her laughter ceased in the land"
(p. 224). Even David Wilson, no longer a pudd'nhead but now the chief
citizen of Dawson's Landing, suffers from diminishment; for while he
has risen in prestige and power, he has fallen ethically by accepting
the standards of this community. Ross expressed this change as follows:
"Even the townspeople's belated exoneration of Wilson from his sobriquet
of 'Pudd'nhead' bears its own ironic burden. ... If Wilson is no longer
pudd'nhead but boss, what does he gain, Twain forces us to ask, by be-
32
coming the boss of a pudd'nhead world?" Therefore, this ending re
flects not a providential but a chaotic or even demonic world.
Though the ending perhaps illustrates the chaos of Pudd'nhead
Wilson most explicitly, the entire novel suggests the movement of Clemens,
and his fiction, away from the providential world view: Providence is
no longer used either as an important thematic element or a significant
structural device. The vestiges of the providential concept that remain
in Pudd'nhead Wilson serve only to emphasize the loss of a controlling


Ill
they have reached about the novel. For example, some critics have tried
to explain The Mysterious Stranger by relating it to the real and
2
imagined problems assaulting Clemens's psyche in his later years.
Still others have tended to ignore the personal for the more universal
3
explanation supplied by archetypes. Several critics, disregarding
the questionable nature of the Paine-Duneka text, have forged ahead
4
to discuss the structure of the novel. On the other hand, a number
of critics have returned to the original manuscripts, hoping that these
materials would serve as the basis for a much-needed "reappraisal and
. 5
reinterpretation.
Amid this welter of conflicting opinion, and considering the fashion
in which Clemens left the manuscript material that was to form The
Mysterious Stranger, perhaps the most perceptive insight is provided
6
by those who see nihilism in his work. But none of these critics have
perceived the nihilism of The Mysterious Stranger as an active reversal
of the providential concept or a literary reversal of the thematic ele
ments and structural techniques of the providential novel. To come to
an understanding of what Clemens was trying to accomplish in The Mysteri
ous Stranger, then, one should consider his previous use and gradual
rejection of the providential tradition.
As we have traced the theme of providence in Clemens's novels from
The Prince and the Pauper, we have seen a progressive movement from a
clearly providential control of the fictive world to a principle of
control that is increasingly diabolical as we move toward The Mysterious
Stranger. The chaos at the end of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court first suggests this movement. And the obvious reversals of the
providential tradition in Pudd'nhead Wilson provide further evidence


116
happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet
stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal
happiness unearned, yet required his other children
to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet
cursed his other children with biting miseries and
maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and
invented hellmouths mercy, and invented hell
mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied
by seventy-times seven, and invented hell; who
mouths morals to other people, and has none himself;
who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who
created man without invitation, then tries to shuf
fle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, in
stead of honorably placing it where it belongs,
upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine
obtuseness, invites this poor abused slave to wor
ship him! . (pp. 404-405).
Here, in a succinct catalog, are all of Samuel Clemens's complaints
against the traditional conception of the providential ideal. Here,
through Satan, Clemens was having his full say against a God who, if
He existed at all, too often seemed the very opposite of concerned and
caring. Here, finally, Clemens was releasing the accumulated bitter
ness of 65 years in a world that confused, frustrated, and infuriated
11
him. But even demolishing the concept of providential supervision
and replacing it with a distinctly diabolical control finally failed
to resolve the contradictions he saw or assauge the doubts and fears
he felt. For when he totally destroyed the providential concept, he
also annihilated everything but the individual perception: "Nothing
exists; all is a dream. Godmanthe worldthe sun, the moon, the
wilderness of stars: a dream, all a dream, they have no existence.
Nothing exists save empty spaceand you" (p. 405). Samuel Clemens
had finally moved to the point in his writing where neither God, nor
12
Satan, nor determinism nor anything else controls the universe;
for none of these things exist. From a thematic standpoint, then,
13
Clemens had reached nihilism.


128
providential tradition outright; this rejection is most obvious when
Clemens's central character scoffs at the conception of a God who could
cause beings he created to suffer such severe miseries and then expect
that these abused creatures would worship him. In place of this toppled
providential figure, Clemens alternately tried to install the philosophy
of determinism, the character Satan, and finally the ultimate chaos of
nihilism. So his fiction had finally moved as far as is possible from
the idea of providential-guidance and control; Providence, like every
thing else, does not exist. At the same time, Clemens had reached
the point at which he had no final control over his material, as in
dicated by the fact that he could never complete The Mysterious Stran
ger In an ironic fusion of form and function, Clemens's nihilistic
message is carried in a literary fragment.
The direction that Samuel Clemens took as a novelist is therefore
clear if we use the providential tradition as a key to understanding.
Clemens's early novels, using a traditional structure based on the provi
dential world view, enabled him to win the approval of the Eastern readers
and critics he wanted so much to impress. But he eventually realized
that the providential tradition would not allow him to communicate his
increasingly pessimistic vision of the world. Unfortunately, though,
he was unable to find appropriate novelistic structures to carry the
truth as he saw it; as he rejected the providential structure, he had
nothing with which to replace it. Carrying his pessimistic insights
into the novels thus resulted in increasingly flawed and ultimately
fragmentary works. In the final analysis, then, Clemens could not
adapt the providential form to the function he eventually wished it to


CHAPTER IV
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT
Following Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens settled
into a period during which he was more interested and absorbed in com
mercial ventures than in fiction. As Justin Kaplan put it, "he submerged
some of his goals in enterprises that appeared more rewarding than writ
ing books: the [Charles L. Webster & Company] publishing house, the
1
[Paige] typesetting machine, and, in general, making money." During
this time, however, Clemens still worked occasionally with an idea that
was to become A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. And the un
certainty that he was feeling about his writing in 1885 and that he
would soon come to feel about business and industry would be an essen
tial ingredient in this next novel. Thus, though not as great a novel
as Huck Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is perhaps
an even more important document for those trying to reach an understand
ing of both the author and his times. The complexity of this task,
however, is reflected in the extremely diverse critical commentary
which has been written about A Connecticut Yankee. The one point on
which most critics agree is that there is a distinct strain of satire
within this novel. They cannot seem to agree, however, on the origin
of the satiric intent, the success of the satire, or even the object(s)
at which the satire is aimed.
This disagreement is evident even among those commentators who
have tried to trace the genesis of A Connecticut Yankee. John Hoben
62


104
principle in this fictive world. Thus, we see that Clemens has moved
one step closer to the view of his world as totally chaotic, a world
view increasingly reflected in his late fiction.
Notes
Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage, ed. Frederick Anderson (New
York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971), p. 182.
2
Ibid., p. 183.
3
Ibid., p. 185.
4
Mark Twain as a Literary Artist (Norman: University of Oklahoma,
1950), p. 218. In the article "Blackness and the Adamic Myth in Mark
Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson," TSLL, XV, 167-176, Stanley Brodwin provides
support for this view by pointing out that, in this novel, man's fall
is determined by his own flawed nature, and that the fall is irrevocable
because the training he receives supports and reinforces that nature.
Therefore, Brodwin feels, Pudd'nhead Wilson is the "epitome of Twain's
deterministic view of reality in the novel form" (p. 167).
5
Mark Coburn presents the most thorough treatment of the environ
mental determinism in this novel with his article "'Training is Every
thing': Communal Opinion and the Individual in Pudd'nhead Wilson,"
MLQ, XXXI, 209-219. In this article, Coburn indicates that the town
of Dawson's Landing is the deterministic factor; everyone conforms to
the communal norms in order to win the acceptance and approval of this
personified community. Thus, Coburn feels that this is the "most starkly
pessimistic of Twain's novels, [because] Pudd'nhead Wilson depicts a
world in which no escape from the debilitating influence of training
is possible" (p. 211).
6
Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer (New York: Atheneum,
1967), p. 172.
7
Major studies of themes based on the Old South and its principal
institutionschiefly slaveryin Pudd'nhead Wilson include Barbara A.
Chellis's "Those Extraordinary Twins: Negroes and Whites," AQ, XXI,
100-112; James M. Cox's "Pudd'nhead Wilson: The End of Mark Twain's
American Dream," SAQ, LVIII, 351-363, and Chapter X of his Mark Twain:
The Fate of Humor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), pp. 222-
246, an expanded version of the earlier article; Leslie Fiedler's "As
Free as Any Cretur ..." Mark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays,
ed. Henry Nash Smith (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc.,
1962), pp. 130-139; Maxwell Geismar's Mark Twain: An American Prophet,
edited and abridged by Maxwell Geismar (New York: McGraw-Hill Book


114
career?" "Foreordain it? No. The man's circumstances and environment
order it. His first act determines the second and all that follow
after" (p. 115).
But Clemens was not always so passive in his effort to undermine
the providential concept. Through Satan, for example, Clemens launched
quite a direct attack on one of the central Biblical supports of the
concern displayed and the control exerted by God; this occurs when Satan
and Ursula first meet in "The Chronicle of Young Satan." Here Ursula
falls back on the doctrine of providence to combat the pessimism inherent
in her own and Marget's situation as represented by the plight of a stray
kitten:
"The rich don't care for anybody but themselves; it's
only the poor that have feeling for the poor, and
help them. The poor and God. God will provide for
this kitten."
"What makes you think so?" [asked Satan].
Ursula's eyes snapped with anger.
"Because I know it!" she said. "Not a sparrow
falls to the ground without His seeing it."
"But it falls just the same. What good is seeing
it fall?" (p. 65).
Of course, Ursula can provide no satisfactory answer to Satan's question;
she was not supposed to, for Clemens wanted his readers to witness the
indefensibility of her position, the illogicality of her dependence
on Providence.
A later use of this same Biblical justification occurs during
the inquest being held to investigate the petrification of Conrad Bart.
In this scene, Clemens presents an even more effective attack on the
convention of providential guidance and control of the world in the
10
context of Satan's subsequent remark about the power of laughter.
The concept of providence is made ridiculous when the jury attempts to
prove that both Bart and the fly on his face, because equally petrified,


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Kevin M. McCarthy
Associate Professor of English
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Depart
ment of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate
Council, and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
March 1978
Dean, Graduate School


78
"instrument to the saving of Hank's life" when he convinces King Arthur's
Court that Hank should be burned at the stake a day early, before his
power has time to work against the sun. The ploy was meant to enhance
Hank's reputation by showing that he was so powerful a magician he
needed no time to prepare. Unwittingly, Clarence does accomplish his
goal when the eclipse takes place on time but ahead of the schedule
Hank had developed. Thus, Hank ironically is saved as much by a series
of mishaps as by his first "miracle."
But the last rescue that Hank benefits from clearly illustrates
the modification which the providential concept undergoes in the course
of A Connecticut Yankee:
The fact is I did need to lean upon somebody. My
knights couldn't arrive in time. They would be as much
as three hours too late. Nothing in the world could
save the King of England; nor me, which was more im
portant. More important, not merely to me, but to the
nationthe only nation on earth standing ready to blos
som into civilization.
In a minute a third slave was struggling in the air.
It was dreadful. I turned away my head a moment, and
when I turned back I missed the king! They were
blindfolding him! I was paralyzed; I couldn't move,
I was choking, my tongue was petrified. They finished
blindfolding him, they led him under the rope. I
couldn't shake off that clinging impotence. But when
I saw them put the noose around his neck, then every
thing let go in me and I made a spring to the rescue
and as I made it I shot one more glance abroadby
George! here they came, a-tilting!five hundred
mailed and belted knights on bicycles! (pp. 343, 346).
Once again we have the traditional pattern of a rescue just in the nick
of time. But the question naturally arising is whether it is truly
providential intervention that has saved Hank and the king, or whether
it is instead the technological know-how which Hank brought from nine
teenth-century Americarepresented here by the bicycles on which the
knights arrivewhich is chiefly responsible for this narrow escape.
The balance is beginning to favor technology.


64
revised time schedule, based on "new evidence." And while Baetzhold
agreed with Hoben that there was a change of intentionfrom burlesque
to satirein the novel, he disagreed with him on the amount of influ
ence Arnold's attacks had on the change; instead, he felt that the
changed intention resulted as much from George F. Kennan's series of
articles on Russia and Siberia, which appeared in 1887 and 1888 issues
of Century Magazine.
In a still later genetic study, James D. Williams opposed the
view held by Hoben and Baetzhold that there was a distinct change of
intention in A Connecticut Yankee following Chapter 3, or at any other
point in the novel.He did admit that there is the "obvious intrustion
of a satiric tone inappropriate to the narrator" in Chapter 8; but he
interpreted this simply as the first of several losses of authorial
control over the narrative persona, rather than the signal of a changing
6
intention. According to Williams, revisions of the novel and the
finished novel itself indicate that A Connecticut Yankee was a working
out of "ideas on chivalry, slavery, and progress which had been dominant
in Mark Twain's thinking for twenty years," and that satire was defi-
7
nitely not the outstanding or defining component of this novel.
It is fairly obvious, then, that commentators have been unable to
reach any consensus on the genesis of satire in A Connecticut Yankee in
King Arthur's Court. This lack of agreement is typical of the critical
analysis and interpretation of the novel as well. While most critics
would agree, in contradiction to Mr. Williams, that satire really is a
significant element of A Connecticut Yankee, they do disagree on the
general target(s) of Clemens's satire. The most obvious target would
seem to be medieval England. And in fact a number of commentators have


96
26
and depended instead on a heavily rationalistic approach to truth.
And the reverence with which Pudd'nhead regards the "science" of finger
printing affirms that Wilson replaces the religious spirit with a sci
entific one. This is quite evident by the language Pudd'nhead uses when
he discovers the true identity of Judge Driscoll's killer: "It's so!
Heavens, what a revelation! And for twenty-three years no man has ever
27
suspected it!" (p. 205). Nor is Wilson alone in his tendency to apply
religious terminology to scientific investigation and discovery; for
when the townspeople witness his demonstration on fingerprinting during
the trial of the Capello brothers for the murder of Judge Driscoll, they
agree that this science "certainly approaches the miraculous" (p. 216).
And while the unmasking of the false Tom Driscoll as actually Valet de
Chambre, the murderer of Judge Driscoll, is simply the result of ex
plainable scientific investigation, the explanation does not dampen but
in fact encourages the townspeople's reverence for the scientific spirit,
as represented by David Wilson: "The town sat up all night to discuss
the amazing events of the day and swap guesses as to when Tom's trial
would begin. Troop after troop of citizens came to serenade Wilson,
and require a speech, and shout themselves hoarse over every sentence
that fell from his lipsfor all his sentences were golden, now, all
were marvelous" (p. 223).
In his study of Pudd'nhead Wilson, John Brand indicates that the
supernatural has "no part at all in Wilson's discovery" of Judge Driscoll's
killer. But, because of the joint influence of aristocracy, materialism,
and science in the town, that statement could be expanded to indicate
that the supernatural plays no real part in Dawson's Landing. The one
figure whose religion we know most about is Roxy. And while Roxy is


9
the grand affairs of human life, without and within,
just what Christ the Word declares, when ascending
to reign;A11 power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth. What, in fact, do we see with our eyes, but
that the scheme of the four gospels is the scheme of
universal government itself.27
The idea of providence, then, was a well-known part of the American
religious culture in Clemens's day. And Clemens was introduced to this
culture quite early and emphatically, as Ferguson DeLancey pointed out
when he made the following comments: "Jane Clemens was an ardent Presby
terian; all her children had to go to Sunday school, and the older ones
had to stay for the sermon. . The preaching was apt to be dull and
certain to be long-winded; in the Presbyterian fold its emphasis was
strongly upon the Calvinistic doctrines. . But the preaching and
teaching bit deep; all of his life [Samuel] thought of theology and
28
philosophy in terms of the Hannibal Presbyterian Church." An indica
tion of just how deeply the preaching and teaching on providence affected
Clemens is provided by the following remark he made near the end of his
life in his autobiographical dictations: "My teaching and training
allowed me to see deeper into these tragedies than an ignorant person
could have done. I knew what they were used for. I tried to disguise
it from myself but down in the troubled deeps of my heart I knewand I
knew I knew. They were inventions of Providence to beguile me to a
better life. It sounds curiously innocent and conceited now, but to me
there was nothing strange about it; it was quite in accordance with the
2 9
judicious and thoughtful ways of Providence as I understood them."
Clemens's early religious experiences, then, introduced him to a God
who was directly involved with the daily activities of His creation; to
a God who not only exerted a general providence over all His creation
but who also interposed in the lives of individuals through special


10
providences; to a God, finally, who rewarded and punished in this world
as well as the next.
As Clemens grew older, his attitude toward religion underwent
drastic changes. As early as 1860, he could write to his brother,
Orion, "What a person wants with religion in these breadless times sur-
30
passes my understanding." And though he did return to organized re
ligion when he married Olivia Langdon, he could not maintain the re
ligious pose long; Kenneth Andrews noted this in his Nook Farm: Mark
Twain's Hartford Circle: "But the radiant mood of surrender to Olivia's
religion, to the luxurious softness of sentiment, to the way of life
it represented and the satisfaction in it which may somehow be related
to the exaltation of his courtship were to fade in the first year of his
marriage. Amid the minor disasters that were partly responsible for
his move to Hartford, Mark rebelled against family Bible readings and
31
confessed his skepticism. Nor would Clemens ever become less skepti
cal of institutionalized religion, which too often failed to meet his
own humanitarian and ethical requirements. Even his participation in
the Asylum Hill Congregational Church once he moved to Hartford was
32
primarily social rather than religious.
In the context of his changing attitude toward organized religion,
it is quite natural that Clemens's views on providence would change.
From the implicit faith of childhood which his autobiographical remarks
illustrate, Clemens eventually began to question the validity of the
providential concept; this is suggested in a letter he wrote to "Mother"
Mary Fairbanks which contains a humorous and mildly facetious discussion
of Providence's part in Clemens's own life:


CHAPTER III
ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Perceptive critics recognized the greatness of Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn quite early. In a review appearing in the May, 1885,
issue of Century Magazine, for example, Thomas Sargeant Perry praised
the unity and the "evident truthfulness of the narrative" and "the humor
of Mark Twain," and summarized his opinion of the novel by stating that
"the story is capital reading, and the reason of its great superiority
1
to Tom Sawyer is that it is, for the most part, a consistent whole.
And in an article entitled "The Art of Mark Twain," published in the
14 February 1891 issue of the Illustrated London News, Andrew Lang went
even further when he wrote: "What is it we want in a novel? We want
a vivid and original picture of life; we want character displayed natu
rally in action, and if we get the excitement of adventure into the bar
gain, and that adventure possible and plausible, I so far differ from
the newest school of criticism as to think that we have additional cause
for gratitude. If, moreover, there is an unrestrained sense of humour
in the narrator, we have a masterpiece and Huckleberry Finn is nothing
2
less." But even these commentators, so complimentary to the novel as
a whole, found fault with the ending of Huckleberry Finn. Lang, though
he did note the real weakness of the ending, managed to justify it some
what when he wrote: "The story, to be sure,, ends by lapsing into bur
lesque, when Tom Sawyer insists on freeing the slave whom he knows to
be already free, in a manner accordant with 'the best authorities.'
37


journey from innocence to wisdom, or, if you prefer, the salvation of
19
the human soul." But Huck's moral character cannot develop in a
vacuum. One of the things he will need for moral maturity is the guide
or mentor his father never was. By sheer coincidence, just such a fig
ure is readily available; for Jim, Miss Watson's runaway slave, has
, 20
also sought refuge on Jackson s Island. Jim will, of course, be the
most significant force in Huck's moral development. It is fortunate
indeed, therefore, that Huck stumbles upon Jim's campfire.
But for an extremely fortuitous decision, however, Huck would
neither have made his moral pilgrimage nor have enjoyed the benefits
of Jim's guidance. A short time after he and Jim had become comfortably
settled together on Jackson's Island, Huck decided to row over to the
Missouri shore to "find out what was going on." By good fortune, he is
led to the shanty of a family that is new to the area; therefore, even
when Mrs. Loftus penetrates his disguise as "Mary Sarah Williams,"
Huck's true identity remains hidden. Even more unlikely, Huck has come
to the only cabin where he could have discovered the plan to search
Jackson's Island for "a runaway nigger named Jim," a search that is to
take place that very night: "'Is your husband going over to-night?'
'Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was telling you of, to get a
boat and see if they could borrow another gun. They'll go over after
midnight'" (p. 88). Huck had prepared a grisly scene at pap's cabin
so that his father, the widow Douglas, and the townspeople of St. Peters
burg would think that he had been murdered. Had he not picked the partic
ular cabin he did, it is possible that Huck would have suffered the
loss of his well-planned anonymity. Had he not come to this cabin on
the particular night he did, it is probable that he would have lost Jim


I certify that I
conforms to acceptable
adequate, in scope and
Doctor of Philosophy.
have read this study and that in my opinion it
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
/ /John B. Pickard, Chairman
( Professor of English
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Ward Hellstrom
Professor of English
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Professor of Curriculum and
Instruction
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it
conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully
adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
' (--t-J /- /S-L-SlXv.'l-iSJ
Motley F. Deakin
Associate Professor of English


139
. "The Pilot and the Passenger: Landscape Conventions and
the Style of Huckleberry Finn." American Literature, 38 (1956),
129-146; rpt. in Mark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays.
Ed. Henry Nash Smith. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall,
Inc., 1963, pp. 47-63.
Mather, Cotton. Remarkable Providences Illustrative of the Earlier
Days of American Colonization. London: Reeves and Turner, 1890.
May, John R. "The Gospel According to Philip Traum: Structural Unity
in 'The Mysterious Stranger.'" Studies in Short Fiction, 8 (1971),
411-422.
Miller, Henry Knight. "Some Functions of Rhetoric in Tom Jones."
Philological Quarterly, 45 (1966), 209-235.
Miller, Jim Wayne. "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar." Mark Twain Journal,
13 (Winter 1966-67), 8-10.
Miller, Perry. "The Covenant of Grace." The New England Mind: The
Seventeenth Century. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1939,
pp. 365-397.
Millichap, Joseph R. "Calvinistic Attitudes and Pauline Imagery in The
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Mark Twain Journal, 16 (Winter
1971-72), 8-10.
Moore, Olin Harris. "Mark Twain and Don Quixote." Publications of the
Modern Language Association, 37 (1922), 324-346.
O'Connor, William Van. "Why Huckleberry Finn is Not the Great American
Novel." College English, 17 (1955), 6-10; rpt. in Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn: An Annotated Text, Backgrounds and Sources,
[and], Essays in Criticism. Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom
Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long. New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
Inc., 1962, pp. 371-378.
One Hundred Sermons, Selected from the Published Works of Fifty Eminent
American Preachers, by An English Clergyman. London: Thomas
Baker, 1861.
Ornstein, Robert. "The Ending of Huckleberry Finn." Modern Language
Notes, 74 (1959), 698-702.
Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain, A Biography: The Personal and
Literary Life of Samuel Clemens. Centenary Ed. 2 Vols. New
York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1912.
Parrington, V. L. Main Currents in American Thought: An Interpretation
of Literature from the Beginning to 1920. New York: Harcourt,
Brace & Company, 1930.


70
should be spiritual leadership. However, spiritually dedicated Church
men are not nearly prevalent enough; and since they lack powerful posi
tions in the Church hierarchy, they cannot affect the direction of the
Church. That this is so is evident when Hank ironically wishes there
were fewer good priests: "Something of this disagreeable sort was turn
ing up every now and then. I mean, episodes that showed that not all
priests were frauds and self-seekers, but that many, even the great
majority, of those that were down on the ground among the common people,
were sincere and right-hearted, and devoted to the alleviation of human
troubles and suffering. Well, it was a thing which could not be
helped. . But I did not like it, for it was just the sort of thing
to keep people reconciled to an Established Church" (p. 142). Rather
than concentrating on its spiritual mission, the Roman Catholic Church
was most interested in developing reverence for the institutions of
Church, monarchy, and nobility. And conversely, it also prevented the
growth of any progressive or civilizing influences, such as Hank's
projects. This, of course, reflects a standard conflict, as W. E. H.
Lecky pointed out in his study of European moral-ethical systems:
Yet the habits of advancing civilization are, if I mis
take not, on the whole inimical to [reverence's]
growth. For reverence grows out of a sense of con
stant dependence. It is fostered by that condition
of religious thought in which men believe that each
incident that befalls them is directly and specially
ordained and when every event is therefore fraught with
a moral import. It is fostered by that condition of
scientific knowledge in which every portentous natural
event is supposed to be the result of a direct divine
interposition, and wakens in consequence emotions of
humility and awe. It is fostered in that stage of
political life when loyalty or reverence for the
sovereign is the dominating passion, when an aristoc
racy, branching forth from the throne, spreads habits
of deference and subordination through every village,
when a revolutionary, a democratic, and a skeptical,
spirit are alike unknown.-^


54
providential tradition was not an appropriate vehicle for a vernacular
character such as Huck. Yet he had no substitute for the structural
techniques and devices of the providential novel at this time. And that
he is thus caught between dependence on and rejection of this tradition
much as Iluck is caught between dependence on and rejection of his
society's normsis even more apparent in the thematic use Clemens
makes of the providential concept.
Throughout the book, Huck has a full awareness of the concept of
providence. This is obvious from references he makes to his own depen
dence on Providence for protection; for example, in reporting on his
initial approach to the Phelps's farm, he says: "I went right along,
not fixing up any particular plan, but just trusting to Providence to
put the right words in my mouth when the time come; for I'd noticed
that Providence always did put the right words in my mouth if I left
it alone" (p. 285). But his flimsy grasp of this basic Christian con
cept is even more obvious. His confusion about what Providence precisely
represents is initially illustrated when Huck discusses the contradictory
explanations of it supplied by the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson:
Sometimes the widow would take me to one side and talk
about Providence in a way to make a body's mouth
water; but maybe next day Miss Watson would take
hold and knock it all down again. I judged I could
see that there was two Providences, and a poor chap
would stand considerable show with the widow's Provi
dence, but if Miss Watson's got him there warn't no
help for him any more. I thought it all out, and
reckoned I would belong to the widow's if he wanted
me, though I couldn't make out how he was a-going to
be any better off then than what he was before, seeing
I was so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery
(p. 29).
A later confrontation with yet another version of Providence sug
gests that, while Huck is intuitively perceptive, he is theologically


75
his command" (p. 79). And therefore, he is sufficient to provide for
the inhabitants of his earthly kingdom, sixth-century England.
Hank Morgan, then, sees himself as a nineteenth-century style
substitute for the providential God of the Established Church in sixth-
century England. This fact is subtly presented but still obvious through
out A Connecticut Yankee. It is first suggested even before Hank works
his first "miracle": "I was as happy a man as there was in the world.
I was even impatient for tomorrow to come, I so wanted to gather in
that great triumph and be the center of all the nation's wonder and
reverence. Besides, in a business way it would be the making of me;
I knew that" (p. 47; my italics). And the eclipse of the sun was the
making of Hank, a fact testified to by his title THE BOSS and by his
ultimate control of the kingdom. But Hank is not satisfied to be boss
of the Arthurian kingdom. Rather, he sets about to create a new world
and a new people, as evidenced by his "Man-Factories" and his various
other projects: "My schools and churches were children four years be
fore; they were grown-up now; my shops of that day were vast factories
now; where I had a dozen trained men then, I had a thousand now; where
I had one brilliant expert then, I had fifty now. I stood with my hand
on the cock, so to speak, ready to turn it on and flood the midnight
world with light at any moment" (p. 79). Another sign of his own feel-
v-b> ing of omnipotence is his retention of the power finally to destroy
the technologic world he had created: "Time for the second step in the
plan of campaign! I touched a button, and shook the bones of England
loose from her spine. In that explosion all our noble civilization-
factories went up in the air and disappeared from the earth" (p. 393) .
But the most obvious indication of his belief that he can substitute


142
Tillich, Paul. A History of Christian Thought. New York: Harper &
Row, 1968.
Trachtenberg, Alan. "The Form of Freedom in Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn." Southern Review, NS6 (1970)-, 354-371.
Trainer, Juliette A. "Symbolism in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
Court." Modern Language Notes, 66 (1951), 382-385.
Trilling, Lionel. "The Greatness of Huckleberry Finn." From his Intro
duction to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Rinehart
Editions, 1948; rpt. in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An An
notated Text, Backgrounds and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism.
Eds. Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 310-320.
Tuckey, John S. Mark Twain and Little Satan: The Writing of "The
Mysterious Stranger." West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University
Press, 1963.
, ed. Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" and the Critics.
Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc., 1968.
. "The Mysterious Stranger: Mark Twain's Texts and the Paine-
Duneka Edition." Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger and the
Critics. Ed. John S. Tuckey. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publish
ing Company, 1968, pp. 85-90.
Turner, Arlin. "Mark Twain and the South: An Affair of Love and Anger."
Southern Review, NS4 (1968), 493-519.
Vogelback, Arthur Lawrence. "The Prince and the Pauper: A Study in
Critical Standards." American Literature, 14 (1942), 48-54.
. "The Publication and Reception of Huckleberry Finn in
America." American Literature, 11 (1939), 260-272.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Mark Twain: The Man and His Work. New Haven,
Conn.: Yale University Press, 1935.
Wasiolek, Edward. "The Structure of Make-Believe." University of
Kansas Review, 24 (1957), 97-101.
Wexman, Virginia. "The Role of Structure in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry
Finn." American Literary Realism, 6 (1973), 1-11.
Wigger, Anne P. "The Composition of Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson and
Those Extraordinary Twins: Chronology and Development." Modern
Philology, 55 (August 1957), 93-102.
. "The Source of Fingerprint Material in Mark Twain's Pudd'n-
head Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins. American Literature,
28 (1957), 517-520.


65
based their interpretations of the novel on the premise that the author
8
was attacking the attitudes and actions of sixth-century England. A
number of other critics have agreed that Clemens was writing an indict
ment of England's medievalism in A Connecticut Yankee; however, they
emphasize that the attack was directed at nineteenth-century Britain
as much as or more than at sixth-century England. This idea was most
9
popular, of course, when the novel was first published. And a number
of recent critics have offered a slightly different perspective; while
agreeing with those commentators who read the novel as a satiric attack
on sixth-century and/or nineteenth-century England, these commentators
cannot agree that Clemens was conversely offering nineteenth-century
American democracy as an antidote to medieval abuses. The majority of
these critics suggest that A Connecticut Yankee is not so much an indict
ment of nineteenth-century America as a recognition that not even this
democratic and technologically oriented society provides satisfactory
answers to the questions man is eternally asking."^ On the other hand,
a number of critics do not feel that Clemens's own society was handled
quite so leniently in the novel; rather than viewing A Connecticut Yankee
simply as a result of Clemens's recognition that nineteenth-century
America had failed to fulfill the promise which he and so many others
had earlier predicted for her, several commentators feel that Clemens
1
often aimed his satire quite directly at the American system of the day.
This diverse commentary that critics have produced on A Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur's Court indicates both the complexity and the
unevenness of the novel. Additionally, these characteristics reflect,
and thus give an insight into, the personality of the author. But how
ever much Clemens and his work are defined by complexity and unevenness,


To my mother and father, who instilled a desire for
learning and gave me the opportunity to fulfill that
desire, and to Diane, who helps me continue to learn
and grow.


41
An early example of the providential concept in Huckleberry Finn
is seen when Huck receives two "gifts" from the Mississippi River at a
time he desperately needs some help. On the very morning after his
father, while in a drunken stupor, tried to kill him, Huck luckily spies
a canoe adrift on the water: "Well, all at once here comes a canoe;
just a beauty, too, about thirteen or fourteen foot long, riding high
like a duck. ... I judged I'd hide her good, and then, 'stead of taking
to the woods when I run off, I'd go down the river about fifty mile and
camp in one place for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on
foot." And almost immediately after Huck has secured this potential
means of his deliverance, the river yields "part of a log raft" and the
very opportunity he needs to make his escape: "By and by along comes a
log raftnine logs fast together. We went out with the skiff and towed
it ashore. Then we had dinner. Anybody but pap would a waited and
seen the day through, so as to catch more stuff; but that warn't pap's
style. Nine logs was enough for one time; he must shove right over to
town and sell" (p. 55). So Huck is aided in his successful escape from
papand the imminent danger his father representsby the propitiously
coordinated appearance of a canoe and a partial raft just when he needs
18
them.
Huck's escape thus frees him from the threat of physical harm.
Even more important to the development of Clemens's purpose in the
novel, however, it also releases him from the morally corrosive influ
ence of pap. What Huck escapes into, therefore, is a moral journey;
Martin Schockley noted this when he wrote: "The conflict, then, is
between right and wrong. The theme is the individual's struggle to
know and to do right. Stated in other terms, it is man's universal


36
(New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1909), XV, xv. Further
references to this work will be cited in the text; all further citations
in the text are to this work.
''"''Other examples of this attitude can be found on pages 60, 217,
and 243.
12
Other examples of this attitude can be found on pages 130, 164,
and 174-175.
13
14
On page 126, Tom expresses this same attitude.
This shows the influence on W. E. H. Lecky on Clemens.
James L. Fortuna, Jr.,'"The Unsearchable Wisdom of God': A Study
of Providence in Richardson's Pamela," Diss. University of Florida 1973,
p. 56.
16
Aubrey Williams, "Interpositions of Providence and the Design of
Fielding's Novels," SAQ, LXX, ii (Spring, 1971), p. 270.
17
Mark Twain s Burlesque Patterns, p. 125.
18
In "Interpositions of Providence and the Design of Fielding's
Novels," p. 282, Williams defines this balance as "a concept pervasive
in both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that of poetic justice
the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice." He goes on to state
that this reward and punishment does occur "in this world and in worldly
terms."
19
"'Tom Jones': The Argument of Design," The Augustan Milieu:
Essays Presented to Louis Landa, ed. Henry Knight Miller et al. (Oxford
The Clarendon Press, 1970), p. 292.
20
Ibid., p. 291.


85
20
21
The concept of providence precludes the idea of accidents.
Harper & Row, 1953) p
Perry Miller (New Haven:
Although Hank might appear to be facetious here, he really did
think that his coming to sixth-century England would be a benefit to
the general population of the kingdom. See, for example, his descrip
tion of the civilization he was building, on pages 77-81, or his explana
tion of the benefits of this civilization as it developed after he de
feated knight-errantry, on pages 360-362.
22
A History of Christianity (New York: Harper & Row, 1953), p. 369.
23
Images or Shadows of Divine Things, ed.
Yale University Press, 1948), p. 54.
24
Note that either Hank or an impartial observer applies the term
"miracle" to each of these incidents; see pages 60-61, 196 and 240 as
well as page 44.
25
Significantly, Clemens had written the following to Orion in
January, 1889: "All the other wonderful inventions of the human brain
sink pretty nearly into commonplace contrasted with this awful mechani
cal miracle" (Mark Twain's Letters, ed. Albert Bigelow Paine [New York:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1917J, II, 508). In spite of his optimis
tic public statements, Clemens realized that the continual delays and
predictable breakdowns could ultimately spell disaster. As Kaplan
points out on page 330 of Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, "the writer Mark
Twain saw omens of disaster long before the promoter Mark Twain, who all
his life believed that he was lucky and also, like inventors and prophets
in general, maintained a mulish faith that despite constant delays and
breakdowns his machine would turn up trumps eventually. 'I want to
finish the day the machine finishes,' he kept saying of the new book,
acknowledging a magical kinship between a writer writing words and a
machine setting them in type. Yet he fatalistically accepted the fact
that the life history of the machine would have to be written in terms
of those delays and breakdowns. 'Experience teaches me that their
calculations will miss fire, as usual,' he said of Paige and his workmen."
26
Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, p. 329. Also note that Hank finds
himself in a secular version of heaven when his typeset newspaper is
admired on pages 241-242 of A Connecticut Yankee.


CHAPTER II
THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Clemenss background in the concept of providence is evident even
in his early writings. In Innocents Abroad, for instance, there is the
narrator's obvious familiarity with the concept when he says, "There
were those among the unregenerated who attributed the unceasing head
winds to our distressing choir music. There were those who said openly
that it was taking chances enough to have such ghastly music going on,
even when it was at its best; and that to exaggerate the crime by letting
George help, was simply flying in the face of Providence.And in
Roughing It, an incident that Jim Blaine relates during the rambling
narrative about his grandfather's old ram is based on his absolute faith
in and equally absolute misunderstanding of the idea of providence:
Don't tell me it was an accident that he was biled.
There ain't no such thing as an accident. When my
Uncle Lem was leaning up agin a scaffolding once, sick,
or drunk, or suthin, an Irishman with a hod full of
bricks fell on him out of the third story and broke the
old man's back in two places. People said it was an
accident. Much accident there was about that. He
didn't know what he was there for, but he was there
for a good object. If he hadn't been there the Irish
man would have been killed. Nobody can ever make me
believe anything different from that. Uncle Lem's
dog was there. Why didn't the Irishman fall on the
dog? Becuz the dog would a seen him a coming and
stood from under. That's the reason the dog warn't
appinted. A dog can't be depended on to carry out
a special providence. Mark my words,^it was a put-up
thing. Accidents don't happen, boys.
But in general these early uses of the providential concept are infre
quent and contribute only in minor ways to the development of the works
in which they appear.
20


95
"Rather Tom makes sense only as a nearly allegorical figure of the ob-
24
session with property to the exclusion of all other human concerns."
With Pudd'nhead Wilson's help, though, the town sees to it that
Tom is properly punished for his iniquities: "The false heir made a
full confession and was sentenced to imprisonment for life" (p. 224).
But Dawson's Landing should somehow have to share Tom's punishment,
since it shares his guilt. For the environment in which Tom grew up
fostered and promoted acquisitiveness. This is emphasized at the con
clusion of the novel, when Tom's sentence is ironically rescinded so
that he might be sold: "Everybody granted that if 'Tom' were white
and free, it would be unquestionably right to punish himit would be no
loss to anybody; but to shut up a valuable slave for lifethat was
quite another matter. As soon as the Governor understood the case, he
pardoned Tom at once, and the creditors sold him down the river" (p. 225).
But the matter goes beyond the legalized slavery on which the town's
economy is built. It really centers on the atmosphere of possessiveness
which is evident everywhere in Dawson's Landing; this pervasive attitude
can even be found in Rowena Cooper, as she reacts to the news that the
Capello twins will be boarding with the Coopers: "Italians! How roman
tic! Just think, mathere's never been one in this town, and everybody
will be dying to see them, and they're all ours! Think of that!"
25
(p. 54). Practically everyone in Dawson's Landing, then, is concerned,
to greater or lesser degrees, with getting and keeping possessions.
In addition to aristocracy and materialism, a third area of mis
placed reverence in Pudd'nhead Wilson is that paid to science. Pudd'nhead
himself suggests this by his devotion to the principles of free-thought,
a doctrine which opposed the belief in miracles as a source of revelation


5
And the response of those who witnessed this incident shows that Mather's
understanding of and attitude toward the workings of Providence was
typical. His purpose was not to explain an unfamiliar concept. Rather,
it was to provide sufficient illustrations of an accepted doctrine to
encourage the practice of good lives; this is indicated by the design
of this project: "In order to the promoving [six] of a design of this
nature, so as shall be intended for Gods glory and the good of posterity,
it is necessary that utmost care be taken that all and only Remarkable
Providences be recorded and published."^
As the New England colonies moved toward independence, changes
18
naturally took place in the contemporary religious scene. As V. L.
Parrington has pointed out, the early development of the New England
colonies "would seem to have been determined by an interweaving of
19
[Puritan] idealism and Yankee economics. But beginning in the latter
part of the seventeenth century, and perhaps culminating in the figure
of Benjamin Franklin, there was a shifting emphasis; Parrington perceived
this change as follows:
Following the Revolution of 1688 a new theory of the
political state was rising in Englandthe theory
that the state originated in private property and
exists primarily for the protection of property;
and this conception, thrust upon New England, was
to cut sharply across the cleavages of the old
order and create new ones. It substituted the
dominance of wealth for the stewardship of right
eousness; the stake-in-society principle for the
Mosaic code. It set a premium upon acquisitiveness
and subordinated the Puritan to the Yankee.^
In general, then, the Covenant of Works, which, while not itself pro
viding salvation, was a sign that the follower of God's laws was a parti-
21
cipant in the Covenant of Grace and thus saved, was replaced by a
Protestant work ethic. Special providences and material successes were


21
But the situation is quite different in The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer, Clemens's initial uncollaborated attempt at the novel form.
In Tom Sawyer, Clemens quite obviously relies on providence as a serious
literary device. The characters in the novel, for example, firmly be
lieve that God is in control of their world. They pray to Him when in
trouble, as when Tom and Becky were lost in McDougal's cave: "The lost
children had not been found. Public prayers had been offered up for
them, and many and many a private prayer that had the petitioner's whole
3
heart in it." They show Him gratitude for favors received, as when the
community shows its collective thankfulness for the safe return of Tom,
Huck, and Joe Harper by singing, appropriately, "Praise God from whom
all blessings flow," or when Aunt Polly expresses her personal grateful
ness for the return of her wandering "pirate" as follows: "Here's a
big Milum apple I've been saving for you, Tom, if you was ever found
againnow go 'long to school. I'm thankful to the good God and Father
of us all I've got you back" (p. 175). Throughout, they acknowledge
His total power over His creation, as when Aunt Polly says, "The Lord
giveth and the Lord hath taken awayBlessed be the name of the Lord!"
(p. 146). In fact, their devotedness to the providential concept is so
complete that they see the hand of God everywhere, even in a summer's
electrical storm:
And that night there came on a terrible storm, with
driving rain, awful claps of thunder and blinding
sheets of lightning. Tom covered his head with the
bedclothes and waited in a horror of suspense for his
doom; for he had not the shadow of a doubt that all
of this hubbub was about him. He believed that he
had taxed the forebearance of the powers above to the
extremity of endurance and that this was the result.
It might have seemed to him a waste of pomp and am
munition to kill a bug with a battery of artillery,
but there seemed nothing incongruous about the getting
up of such an expenseive thunderstorm as this to
knock the turf from under an insect like himself
(p. 206)5


99
"Then will I utter it. Thou hast the same hair,
the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same
form and stature, the same face and countenance, that
I bear. Fared we forth naked, there is none could say
which was you, and which the Prince of Wales."29
By this time she had stripped off the shirt. Now
she clothed the naked little creature in one of Thomas
a Becket's snowy long baby-gowns, with its bright blue
bows and dainty flummery of ruffles.
"Dahnow you's fixed." She propped the child in a
chair and stood off to inspect it. Straightway her
eyes began to widen with astonishment and admiration,
and she clapped her hands and cried out, "Why, it do
beat all!I never knowed you was so lovely. Marse Tom
ain't a bit puttiernot a single bit."
She stepped over and glanced at the other infant;
she flung a glance back at her own; then one more at
the heir of the house. Now a strange light dawned in
her eyes, and in a moment she was lost in thought.
She seemed in a trance; when she came out of it she
muttered, "When I 'uz a-washin' 'em in de tub, yistiddy,
his own pappy asked me which of 'em was his'n."
She began to move about like one in a dream. She
undressed Thomas a Becket, stripping him of everything,
and put the tow-linen shirt on him. She put his coral
necklace on her own child's neck. Then she placed the
children side by side, and after earnest inspection she
muttered:
"Now who would b'lieve clo'es could do de like o'
dat? Dog my cats if it ain't all jL kin do to tell
t'other fum which, let alone his pappy" (pp. 32-33).
Roxy, of course, has discovered that Tom and Chambers are interchange
able look-alikes, a fact which will serve as the complicating factor in
this novel just as the exchanged identities of Tom Canty and Prince
Edward did in The Prince and the Pauper.
Despite this initial similarity between the two novels, Pudd'nhead
Wilson diverges significantly from the providential tradition. The plot
of The Prince and the Pauper is built around a series of adventures
which lead to "moral growth" in Prince Edward; this growth results in
his "singularly merciful" reign. Thus, the numerous fortuitous rescues
and ultimately fortunate mishaps, which occupy such an important place


33
stripes on Miles Hendon's back" (p. 306). Though this concluding
chapter was meant to illustrate Edward's enlightened reign, it is more
than a mere showcase of his wise rule. The title, "Justice and Retribu
tion," does anticipate Edward's actions in the chapter. But it also
suggests the idea of providential reward and punishment. This is seen
in those dispensations which serve as macrocosmic analogues of Edward's
actions but which are beyond the power of any earthly ruler to grant.
For example, Edward could overthrow Hugh Hendon's title to the family
estate; but only God could dissolve that union between Hugh and the
Lady Margaret which stood in the way of Miles Hendon's complete happi
ness: "Hugh deserted his wife and went over to the continent, where
he presently died; and by and by the Earl of Kent married his relict.
There were grand times and rejoicings at Hendon village when the couple
paid their first visit to the Hall" (p. 305). And immediately after
this, the narrator points out that "Tom Canty's father was never heard
of again" (p. 306); this juxtaposition suggests that the happiness of
the new King's Ward and his mother and sisters is completed by an
equally providential event, the mysterious and permanent disappearance
of John Canty. The concluding chapter of the novel therefore shows
poetic justice at work, with God rewarding the good and punishing the
wicked in a fictive representation of that eternal justice and retribu
tion which will conclude the creation.
A final indication of the essential part the concept of providence
plays in The Prince and the Pauper is the narrator's role. In this
novel, the narrator is totally aware of all that the characters think
and feel as well as what they do; he is able to transcend the limits of
time and space in describing the unfolding of the plot; he imposes


57
And in Huckleberry Finn, Clemens in the main depends upon the structural
devices and techniques of the providential novel. Only at the last, by
having Huck reject a perfectly providential "happy ending," does Clemens
cast some doubt on the sufficiency of the providential structure. And
there is a correspondent doubt cast upon the theme of providence, con
veyed by Huck's confusion about the God who controls the world and re
flecting Clemens's own skepticism about the providential concept.
Clemens is thus starting to move upstream, a direction that will take
him initially to the more secular, mechanistic control of The Connecticut
Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Pudd'nhead Wilson. But in Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens has taken the first step toward the
disintegrating structure and nihilistic message of The Mysterious
Stranger.
Notes
1
Mark Twain: The Critical Heritage, ed. Frederick Anderson (New
York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1971), pp. 129-130.
2
Ibid., pp. 133-134.
3
Ibid., p. 135.
4
Ibid., p. 130.
""(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942), p. 92.
6"The Greatness of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., rpt. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company,
Inc., 1962), p. 318.
^[An Introduction to Huckleberry Finn], Adventures of Huckleberry
Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., p. 326.
8
Ibid., p. 327.
9
"Mr. Eliot, Mr. Trilling, and Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., p. 333.


81
But in the Battle of the Sand-Belt, everyone suffers. The combined
host of the "Church, the nobles, and the gentry" and even the common
folk are destroyed: "Within ten minutes after we had opened fire, armed
resistance was totaly annihilated, the campaign was ended, we fifty-four
were masters of England! Twenty-five thousand men lay dead around us"
(p. 402). But the fifty-four were not to be spared, either. Clarence
makes this clear when he writes, "We were in a trap, you seea trap
of our own making. If we stayed where we were, our dead would kill us;
if we moved out of our defenses, we would no longer be invincible. We
had conquered; in turn we were conquered. THE BOSS recognized this;
we all recognized it" (p. 404). Only THE BOSS does not die of the en
suing plague. He is provided with an even worse fate; for Merlin has
cast a spell over him which would cause Hank to sleep for thirteen cen
turies, finally to awake to a now unfamiliar and terrifying situation:
"I thought that Clarence and I and a handful of my
cadets fought and exterminated the whole chivalry of
England! But even that was not the strangest. I
seemed to be a creature out of a remote unborn age,
centuries hence, and even that was as real as the
rest! Yes, I seemed to have flown back out of that
age into this of ours, and then forward to it again,
and was set down, a stranger and forlorn in that
strange England, with an abyss of thirteen centuries
yawning between me and you! between me and my home
and my friends! between me and all that is dear to
me, all that could make life worth the living! It was
awfulawfuler than you can ever imagine, Sandy. Ah,
watch by me, Sandy,stay by me every momentdon't
let me go out of my mind again; death is nothing,
let it come, but not with those dreams, not with the
torture of those hideous dreamsI cannot endure that
again. . Sandy?. . ." (p. 407).
Some might argue that this is indeed a providential ending, that all
suffer because they all deserve punishmentthe Church and nobility for
their offenses against the common people, the commoners for so slavishly
yielding to and even following the lead of the ruling institutions, and


7
and increasing prosperity. In this effort, of course, Edwards enjoyed
only a qualified success. But he did provide a continuing alternative
to the secular wisdom of Poor Richard's Almanac.
Nor was this alternative lost as the American people, with their
newly won independence, prepared to open a new country and to face dif
ferent though equally serious problems. This continuing belief iq the
importance of providence is evident from the various sermons preached
and tracts written on the subject in the nineteenth century. A typical
example is provided by Gardiner Spring, who clearly stated his conviction
that man is totally dependent on Divine Providence for his bodily needs:
The Providence of God mingles itself with all the af
fairs and circumstances of men. It extends itself
alike to the drop of a bucket and to the ocean, to
the dust of the balance and to the whole material
universe; to every individual of the human family,
and to the entire race.
Nature herself teaches us, that our insufficience is
absolute, while God's sufficience is boundless. How
many second causes, not one of which is under human
control, must be preserved in perfect operation, to
secure daily subsistence to a single individual.^
And Spring later pointed out that man is equally dependent on God for
the fulfillment of his spiritual needs:
My brother, if our heavenly Father is so willing to
supply our earthly necessities, He is not the less so
to satisfy our soul's desires. We need the Bread of
Life for our souls, as well as food for our bodies.
If we hunger and thirst after righteousness, He will
fill us.25
And in a confession of faith before a regular meeting of the New York
and Brooklyn Association of ministers and churches, Henry Ward Beecher
stated: "I hold and I teach that there is a general and a special provi
dence of God which overrules human life by and through natural laws,
but, also, I believe that there is an overruling and special providence
of God in things pertaining to human life as well as to the life of the


92
replacement for Christian doctrine and practice is Mammonism. Much of
the novel revolves around acquisition. One image that emphasizes this
principle, simply because it seems so out of character, is that of Judge
Driscoll counting his money each evening, an image which David Wilson
suggests while presenting his case at the concluding trial of the novel."
An even clearer image of the effect materialism has on Christian
doctrine and practice in Dawson's Landing is presented through the
character of Roxy, however. Materialistic values have taken firm root
in Roxy's soul. Consequently, she corrupts the providential tradition
by continually putting this concept to the use of her materialistic
goals. This is first evident when she justifies thievery by linking
it to this basic Christian concept: "[Roxy] was gone; but she came
back, by and by, with the news of the grand reception at Patsy Cooper's,
and soon persuaded ["Tom"] that the opportunity was like a special
providence, it was so inviting and perfect. So he went raiding, after
all, and made a nice success of it while everybody was gone to Patsy
Cooper's" (p. 95). Still another example of Roxy's tendency to justify
her materialism by applying Christian trappings to it occurs just a bit
later, when she attempts to restore the false Tom Driscoll's flagging
courage: "Den you's all right. If [Judge Driscoll] don't die in six
20
months, dat don't make no diff'renceProvidence'll provide" (p. 144).
As these incidents suggest, then, Roxy's materialism cannot be viewed
simply as, in Spangler's words, "her temporary acceptance of Tom's
21
standards." Rather, she had, up until her final repentance at the
end of the novel, an aggrandizing nature developed independent of Tom's
influence. For example, the fact that she hadn't stolen Percy Driscoll's
"couple of dollars" was the result of a very temporary religious fervor:


133
Mark Twain's Notebook. Ed. Albert Bigelow Paine. New
York: Harper & Brothers, 1935.
Mark Twain's Notebook. Ed. Albert Bigelow Paine. New
York: Harper & Brothers, 1935* reprint ed. New York: Cooper
Square Publishers, Inc., 1972.
Mark Twain's Satires and Burlesques. Ed. Franklin R. Rogers
The Mark Twain Papers. Ed. Frederick Anderson. Berkeley: Uni
versity of California Press, 1967.
. Mark Twain to Mrs. Fairbanks. Ed. Dixon Wecter. San
Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1949.
. "Reflections on Religion." Ed. Charles Neider. The Hudson
Review, 16 (1963), 329-352.
. Selected Mark Twain-Howells Letters, 1872-1910. Eds.
Frederick Anderson, William M. Gibson, and Henry Nash Smith. Cam
bridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1967.
. What Is Man? And Other Philosophical Writings. Ed. Paul
Baender. The Works of Mark Twain. Ed. Frederick Anderson. Vol.
19. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973.
. Which Was the Dream? And Other Symbolic Writings. Ed.
John S. Tuckey. The Mark Twain Papers. Ed. Frederick Anderson.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
. The Writings of Mark Twain [pseudo]. Author's National
Edition. 25 Vols. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers,
1899-1917.
Coburn, Mark D. "'Training is Everything': Communal Opinion and the
Individual in Pudd'nhead Wilson." Modern Language Quarterly,
31 (1970), 209-219.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Works of James Fenimore Cooper. Vol. V:
The Prairie. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912.
. The Works of James Fenimore Cooper. Vol. I: The Deer-
slayer New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912.
Covici, Pascal, Jr. Mark Twain's Humor: The Image of the World.
Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1962.
Cowie, Alexander. "Mark Twain." The Rise of the American Novel. New
York: American Book Company, 1951, pp. 599-652.
Cox, James M. "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: The
Machinery of Self-Preservation." Yale Review (1960), 89-102; rpt.
in Mark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Henry Nash
Smith. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1963, pp. 117
129.


108
20
Still earlier, the narrator relates that "a farm smoke-house
had to be kept heavily padlocked, for even the colored deacon himself
could not resist a ham when Providence showed him in a dream, or other
wise, where such a thing hung lonesome and longed for some one to love"
(p. 27). These ironic uses of the term "Providence," the only times
it is used in the text, are further proof of Twain's disenchantment
with the concept and of his determination to undercut it as a thematic
element.
21
"Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property," P. 34.
22
Proof that she had invested a great deal in the exchange of Tom
and Chambers is provided by the following description of her suffer
ings: "Tom had long ago taught Roxy 'her place.' It had been many a
day now since she had ventured a caress or a fondling epithet in his
quarter. Such things, from a 'nigger,' were repulsive to him, and she
had been warned to keep her distance and remember who she was. She saw
her darling gradually cease from being her son, she saw that detail
perish utterly; all that was left was mastermaster, pure and simple,
and it was not a gentle mastership, either. She saw herself sink from
the sublime height of motherhood to the somber depths of unmodified
slavery. The abyss of separation between her and her boy was complete.
She was merely his chattel now, his convenience, his dog, his cringing
and helpless slave, the humble and unresisting victim of his capricious
temper and vicious nature" (pp. 45-46).
23
In this incident, Roxy states: "'Dat's one thing you's got to
stop, Valet de Chambers. You can't call me Roxy, same as if you was
my equal. Chillen don't speak to dey mammies like dat. You'll call
me ma or mammy, dat's what you'll call meleastways when dey ain't
nobody aroun'. Say it!'" (p. 85).
24
"Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property," p. 30.
25
Harry B. Chapin initially noted this proprietary feeling in
"Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, Chapter VI," Explicator, XXI, Item 61.
26
In his article on "FREE-THOUGHT" in the Encyclopaedia of Religion
and Ethics, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
1955), VI, 122, L. Froeltsch pointed out the relationship between free-
thought, science, and religion when he wrote: "The task of exploring
the annals of the 18th cent, with reference to the formation of secret
[free-thought] societies is one which still awaits the investigator.
But the phenomenon is in no sense confined to the 18th century. When
the religious revival of the 19th cent, had thrust such associations
into the background, and the progress of science had largely undermined
their Deistic principles, fresh combinations made their appearancedue
partly to the reaction against the religious revival, and partly to the
advance of modern science."
27
In his article "The Incipient Wilderness: A Study of Pudd'nhead
Wilson," John Brand terms this an illustration of "Wilson's use of the
terminology of religious experience to designate his activity" (p. 133).


134
Mark Twain: The Fate of Humor. Princeton: Princeton Uni
versity Press, 1966.
"Pudd'nhead Wilson: The End of Mark Twain's American Dream."
South Atlantic Quarterly, 58 (1959), 351-363.
"Remarks on the Sad Initiation of Huckleberry Finn."
Sewanee Review, 62 (1954), 389-405.
Cronin, Frank C. "The Ultimate Perspective in Pudd'nhead Wilson."
Mark Twain Journal, 16 (Winter 1971-72), 14-16.
/
Danielou, Jean. Origen. Trans. Walter Mitchell. New York: Sheed and
Ward, 1955.
Davison, W. T. "Providence." Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Ed.
John Hastings. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955, pp. 15-20.
DeLancey, Ferguson. Mark Twain: The Man and His Work. Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merrill, 1943.
DeVoto, Bernard. Mark Twain at Work. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Uni
versity Press, 1942.
. Mark Twain's America. Cambridge, Mass.: The Riverside
Press, 1932.
Dickinson, Leon T. "The Sources of The Prince and the Pauper." Modern
Language Notes, 64 (1949), 103-106.
Donyo, Victor A. "Over Twain's Shoulder: The Composition and Structure
of Huckleberry Finn." Modern Fiction Studies, 14 (1968), 3-9.
Dyson, A. E. "Huckleberry Finn and the Whole Truth." Critical Quarterly,
3 (1961), 29-40.
Eby, E. H. "Mark Twain's Testament." Modern Language Quarterly, 23
(1962), 254-262.
Edwards, Jonathan. Images or Shadows of Divine Things. Ed. Perry
Miller. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1948.
. The Works of Jonathan Edwards. Ed. Perry Miller. Vol. 1:
Freedom of the Will. Ed. Paul Ramsey. New Haven, Conn.: Yale
University Press, 1957.
Edwards, Peter G. "The Political Economy of Mark Twain's 'Connecticut
Yankee.'" Mark Twain Quarterly, 8 (Winter 1950), 2, 18.
Eliot, T. S. Introduction to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by
Samuel Langhorne Clemens. London: The Cresset Press, 1950; rpt.
in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: An Annotated Text, Backgrounds
and Sources, [and] Essays in Criticism. Eds. Sculley Bradley,
Richmond Croom Beatty, [and] E. Hudson Long. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, Inc., 1962, pp. 320-327.


47
feud and learn just how "awful cruel" humans can be to one another; the
best example of this comes when Huck witnesses the killing of Buck
and his cousin as they try to swim to safety: "The boys jumped for
the riverboth of them hurtand as they swum down the current the
men run along the bank shooting at them and singing out, 'Kill them,
kill them!' It made me so sick I most fell out of the tree" (p. 158).
As quick as he could, Huck returned to Jim and the rebuilt raft, whose
qualities he has now come to realize and appreciate more than ever:
It was Jim's voicenothing ever sounded so good
before. I run along the bank a piece and got aboard,
and Jim he grabbed me and hugged me, he was so glad
to see me.
I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below
there and out in the middle of the Mississippi. . .
I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and
so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there
warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places
do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't.
You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a
raft (pp. 159-160).
Huck and Jim don't get the opportunity to enjoy their pleasure
long, however; almost as soon as they get comfortable again, they suf
fer an intrusion by "the rightful Duke of Bridgewater" and "the pore
disappeared Dauphin." The appearance of these two reprobates provides
the framework for a continuation of the social satire begun on the
Kentucky shore. But even more significantly, their appearance provides
the impetus for Huck's continued moral growth. For they will not allow
him to remain isolated on the raft, as he wishes to do. And in accom
panying them on their fraudulent adventures ashore, Huck is forced to
learn more and more about the society which formed his conscience.
This series of alternations between the raft and the shore, begun when
the steamboat smashed his raft and continued with the intrusion of the


58
10
Ibid., p. 340.
n
These include Robert Ornstein in his article The Ending of
Huckleberry Finn," MLN, LXXIV, 698-702; William Van O'Connor in "Why
Huckleberry Finn Is Not the Great American Novel," Adventures of Huckle-
Berry Finn, ed. Sc.ulley Bradley et al., pp. 371-378; Kenneth Lynn in
"You Can't Go Home Again," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley
Bradley et al., pp. 421-436; Henry Nash Smith in his chapter "A Sound
Heart and a Deformed Conscience," Mark Twain: The Development of a
Writer (New York: Atheneum, 1967), pp. 113-137; and Maxwell Geismar in
Mark Twain: An American Prophet abridged edition (New York: McGraw-
Hill Book Co., 1973), p. 102.
12
These include Spencer Brown in "Huckleberry Finn for Our Time:
A Re-Reading of the Concluding Chapters," MQR, VI, 41-46; Thomas Arthur
Gullason in "The 'Fatal' Ending of Huckleberry Finn," Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 357-361; Harold P.
Simonson in "Huckleberry Finn as Tragedy," YR, LIX, 532-548; and Eric
Solomon in "The Search for Security," Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
ed. Sculley Bradley et al., pp. 436-443.
13
Included in this group are Clarence A. Brown in "Huckleberry Finn:
A Study in Structure and Point of View," MTJ, XII, ii, 5, 10-15; Victor A.
Donyo in "Over Twain's Shoulder: The Composition and Structure of
Huckleberry Finn," MFS, XIV, i (Spring 1968), pp. 3-9; Martin Shockley
in "The Structure of Huckleberry Finn," Critics on Mark Twain: Readings
in Literary Criticism, ed. David B. Kesterson (Coral Gables, Fla.: Uni
versity of Miami Press, 1973), pp. 70-81; and Allen Stein in "Return to
Phelps Farm: Huckleberry Finn and the Old Southwestern Framing Device,"
Miss Q, XXIV, 111-116.
14 r
Warren Beck, Huck Finn at Phelps Farm: An Essay in Defense of
the Novel's Form (Archives des Lettres Modernes, Nos. 13-15), Paris:
Lettres Modernes, 1958, p. 6.
^~*In his article "The Two Providences: Thematic Form in 'Huckle
berry Finn,'" CE, XI, 188-195, Edgar Branch mentions the dichotomy be
tween Miss Watson's and the Widow Douglas's concepts of providence; but
he simply converts these two concepts to a dramatic conflict within
Huck between "self-centered conventional morality and humanitarian
idealism."
16
In "Huck Finn: Mark Twain at Midstream," Nassau Review, I, V,
44-60, Linda Hood Talbott suggests this movement in Clemens, though
she does not take her idea in the same direction as I intend to in
this discussion.
^ Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (New York: Harper
and Brothers Publishers, 1912), XIII, 54. Further references to this
work will be cited in the text.


56
daughter, he says, "Oh, de po' little thing! de Lord God Almighty for
give po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to forgive hisself as long's he
live" (p. 208). The narrative has to reflect his confusion since Huck
is the point of view through which we see and understand the action of
the novel. But there is a further reason for the thematic confusion
regarding providence; it in effect reflects Clemens's own feelings toward
the concept. He is not quite willing to abandon this traditional theme.
Yet he is beginning to question the validity of the providential ideal
35
in his published fiction. Because Tom Sawyer is such a conventional
and ultimately conforming individual, he could never represent this
skeptical position. Nor could Edward, Prince of Wales and later King
of England, because he is such a thoroughly genteel hero. But Clemens's
attitude toward providence could be carried into literature by a charac
ter such as Huck Finn. For Huck, from his theologically naive yet thor
oughly practical perspective, can reveal the contradictions of the
providential concept. Even more significant, Huck can ultimately re
ject a Providence which supports slavery. It is as much Samuel Clemens
as it is Huck Finn, then, who says: "All right, then, I'll o^ to hell"
(p. 279).
Clemens thus has reached a midpoint in his literary career, as
reflected in both his techniques and theme. He is starting to depart
from the traditional handling of his fictive world. While he had early
come to the conclusion that his worldwhich is so surely reflected in
his fictionwas not controlled as benevolently as he wished, he had
not found the proper voice and/or he was insufficiently sure of himself
as an artist to communicate this radical truth in his earlier works;
rather, he had employed traditional techniques and conventional themes.


84
his book Twain and the Image of History (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1961), pp. 95-132; Richard Rust's article on "Americanisms in
A Connecticut Yankee," SAB, 33, iii, 11-13; Allan Guttmann's "Mark
Twain's Connecticut Yankee: Affirmation of the Vernacular Tradition?"
NEQ, XXXII, 232-237; and Pascal Covici's section on A Connecticut Yankee
in Mark Twain's Humor: The Image of a World (Dallas: Southern Methodist
University Press, 1962), pp. 91-109.
11
This is seen in Gladys Bellamy s Mark Twain as a Literary Artist
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950), p. 309; Charles Holmes's
"A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Mark Twain's Fable of
Uncertainty," SAQ, LXI, 462-472; Gerald Allen's "Mark Twain's Yankee,"
NEQ, XXXIX, 435-446; and the sixth chapter of Robert Wiggins's Mark
Twain: Jackleg Novelist (Seattle: University of Washington Press,
1964), pp. 72-82.
12
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (New
York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1917), XVI, 65-66. Further re
ferences to this novel will be cited in the text. Pages 195-202 of
Mark Twain's Notebook contain numerous entries indicating Clemens's
personal antipathy to these three institutions for their pretensions
and abuses of power.
13
Mark Twain's Notebook, ed. A. B. Paine (New York: Harper &
Brothers, 1935), p. 198.
14
Ibid., p. 199; my italics.
^Another good example of this dependence on prayer is contained
on page 57 of the novel, which contains a description of the English
population's reaction to Hank's eclipse. Still other examples of the
sixth-century belief in the efficacy of prayer are contained on pages 37,
187, and 345.
16)
Another reference, to "the grace and providence of God," is con
tained on page 297. And the report carried on page 379 shows an under
standing of the relationship between prayer and God's control. Finally,
the discussion of insurance on pages 268-269 illustrates the traditional
belief of the medieval Church that nothing happens by accident but that
all is part of the mysterious and hidden plan of the all-wise Providence.
17
History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne, 3rd ed.,
rev. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895), I, 141-142.
\.
18
Also see page 101, where the Church explains the pitiful condi
tion of freemen and the flourishing state of Church, monarchy, and
nobility as "ordained of God"; pages 264-265, where the Church uses
"the chastening hand of God" to justify the chaos created by ecclesiasti
cal and aristocratic institutions; and pages 268-269, where the Church
opposes insurance as "an insolent attempt to hinder the decrees of God."
19
An indication of the relative unimportance of religion is sug
gested in Hank's remark on the necessities of a new country: "The first
thing you want in a new country, is a patent office; then work up your
school system; and after that, out with your paper" (p. 72).



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34
himself within the action of the novel as an interested commentator in
addition to functioning as an observer. In all this, he reminds the
reader of the omniscient narrator of Tom Jones; they both control their
fictive worlds in a manner analogous to that dominion God exerts over
His creation. What Martin Battestin wrote about Tom Jones thus also
seems to apply to The Prince and the Pauper: "What Thackeray and Booth
regard as a useful analogy for describing the effect of the narrative
in Tom Jones is with Fielding himself a deliberate metaphor; the author-
narrator of Tom Jones stands in relation to the world of his novel as
19
the divine Author and His Providence to the 'Book of Creation.'" In
the context of the author-narrator's total control in The Prince and the
Pauper, therefore, he can be said to mirror Providence's "supervision
20
and superintendence of His Creation."
In The Prince and the Pauper, then, Samuel Clemens used the con
cept of providence in developing both the thematic content and the struc
ture of his novel. Never before had he depended on providence so fully,
nor would he ever again produce such a thoroughly providential novel.
Still, providence would continue to exert a significant influence on
his writing even as he began to question the premises on which the provi
dential novel was built; this is illustrated in his next major work,
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Notes
1
(New York:
2
(New York:
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1911), I, 75.
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1913), VIII, 125-126.


51
In fact, because he is only a mischievous boy whose faults result from
wrong-headed romantic notions and thoughtlessness, Tom is even allowed
a tangible benefit from his suffering; this is suggested when Huck re
ports, "Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on a
watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is" (p. 374).
Just as the wicked are punished, so the good are rewarded. Jim
is the most truly Christian character in the book: He shows an almost
fatherly love in his relationship with Huck; he teaches moral lessons
both by word and by deed; and he demonstrates exceptional forebearance
throughout his numerous trials and tribulations. Finally, he receives
a suitable reward for this exemplary behavior; for just when his situa
tion seems to be once more desperate, he is freed: "They ain't no right
to shut him up! Shove!and don't you lose a minute. Turn him loose!
he ain't no slave; he's as free as any cretur that walks this earth!"
29
(p. 369).
The only major character left is, of course, Huckleberry Finn.
And Huck does receive some tangible rewards: He is finally freed of
Pap; he has his $6,000 back, plus interest; and he gains social accep
tance and a new family. But there is still a tentativeness about the
ending. For the rewards in store for Huck do not adequately reflect
his merit; they are not appropriate to his developed character. Ulti
mately Huckand Clemens as wellis not sure he wants this traditional
sort of happy ending. Indeed, Huck has struggled long and hard to
escape the conventional society and its mores. And for all their good-
natured naivete, the Phelpses do represent the slaveholding society
and do uphold the very moral code which Huck has finally overcome.
Thus, there is the indication that Huck will reject the traditional


26
Nor do Clemens's characters forget their God when they receive benefits;
young Tom Canty's spontaneous response upon awakening from what he
thought to be a bad dream is, "Now God be thanked, I am indeed awake at
12
last! Come, joy! vanish sorrows!" (p. 118).
Such petitions and gratitude indicate the characters' daily de
pendence upon a Providence who acts as the benevolent ordering principle
of their universe. This does not mean that there was no misfortune in
Clemens's sixteenth-century world. For one thing, a complete concept of
providence admits the necessity of justice. The narrator illustrates
the idea that reward and punishment, in this world as well as the next,
are viable parts of the providential system when he says of Tom Canty's
new activities:
Tom put on the greaves, the gauntlets, the plumed helmet,
and such other pieces as he could don without assistance,
and for a while was minded to call for help and complete
the matter, but bethought him of the nuts he had brought
away from dinner and the joy it would be to eat them
with no crowd to eye him, and no Grand Hereditaries
to pester him with undesired services; so he restored
the pretty things to their several places, and soon
was cracking nuts, and feeling almost naturally happy
for the first time since God for his sins had made him
a prince (p. 67). J
And even if the victim is guiltless, misfortune does not negate the pres
ence of God. For man cannot always see the ultimate ends of God's de
sign or understand His mysterious ways. Immediate misfortune may ulti
mately serve a good purpose; for example, Edward's humiliating experi
ences upon aimlessly wandering into Christ's Hospital show him the drastic
need for reform: "And now and then his mind reverted to his treatment
by those rude Christ's Hospital boys, and he said, 'When I am king, they
shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books;
for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved, and the


16
In addition to his thorough exposure to providence as a religious
concept, then, Clemens had a solid acquaintance with writers who relied
on the providential tradition in literature. With this background in
mind, it seems quite reasonable to suggest that Samuel Clemens looked
to the thematic and structural devices of the providential novel when
46
he began writing extended fiction of his own.
Notes
1
W. T. Davison, "Providence," Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics,
ed. John Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955), X, 415.
The term "providence" will be used in different ways in this disserta
tion. In an attempt to avoid confusion, therefore, I will capitalize
the term (Providence) only when it is used as a synonym for "God."
When used adjectivally or when referring to the concept, the term
(providence) will be used without capitalization unless, of course, it
begins a sentence or is part of a quotation.
2
(New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 6.
3
C. A. Beckwith, "Providence," The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia
of Religious Knowledge, ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson (New York: Funk
and Wagnalls Company, 1911), IX, 307.
4
"Providence," Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, p. 416.
5
Jean Danielou, Origen, trans. Walter Mitchell (New York: Sheed
and Ward, 1955), p. 206.
6
Beckwith, p. 308.
7
The City of God: Books I-VII, trans. Demetrius B. Zema and
Gerald G. Walsh, The Fathers of the Church (New York: Cima Publishing
Company, Inc., 1950), VIII, 19.
g
"The Christian Combat," trans. Robert F. Russell, The Fathers of
the Church (New York: Cima Publishing Company, Inc., 1947), II, 324-325.
9
Davison, p. 417.
^Beckwith, p. 308.
^''Chapter XVI: God By His Power Nourishes and Maintains the World
Created by Him, and Rules Its Several Parts By His Providence," and "Chap
ter XVII: How We May Apply This Doctrine to Our Greatest Benefit":
throughout these chapters, there is reference to the work of Augustine.


112
that the control of Clemens's fictive world is being assumed by the
principle of chaos, a role traditionally connected with God's chief ad
versary. It is significant, therefore, that the central character of
The Mysterious Stranger is named Satan. The term "Satan," of course,
comes from the Hebrew word satan, meaning "adversary." Although
Clemens's Satan says that he is an angel and proclaims that "the Fall
7
did not affect me nor the rest of the relationship," there is little
textual evidence to support the claim that he is a loyal follower of
God. Rather, he quite often displays characteristics more appropriate
8
to his supposed uncle. Samuel Clemens thus seems to be making a con
scious effort finally to undermine the viability of providence as it
was traditionally understood in Christianity by giving his attention
9
to Satan in The Mysterious Stranger.
Still another indication of Clemens's intention to destroy the
providential concept is provided by the contrast betwefen what the in
habitants of The Mysterious Stranger manuscripts think controls their
world and what the reader sees actually controlling this fictive world.
The inhabitants, whether of the eighteenth-century Eseldorf of "The
Chronicle of Young Satan," the nineteenth-century St. Petersburg of
"Schoolhouse Hill," or the fifteenth-century printing-shop of "No. 44,
The Mysterious Stranger," generally look to the concept of providence
for an explanation of unusual events. In "The Chronicle of Young Satan,"
for example, Father Peter explained the mysterious appearance of the
money he so desperately needed as "the plain hand of Providence, as
far as he could see" (p. 59). A similar example of this view of extra
ordinary occurrences is found in "No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger," when
Father Peter justifies miracles by saying, "But God permits such miracles


2
derived from them a distinct theology. For example, Origen, usually
regarded as the first great theologian of the Christian Church, reduced
his system to two essentials: free will and providence.^ Augustine,
like Origen, was interested in the question of providence. Unlike Origen,
however, Augustine approached the idea of providence less as a specula
tive issue than as a practical concern.^ For in Augustine's lifetime,
the idea that struggle and sufferingde agone Christianowas necessary
became all too real. This is evident from his belief that the cruelties
inflicted upon contemporary Romans by Germanic invaders "came from that
Divine Providence who makes use of war to reform the corrupt lives of
men. [The Roman citizens] ought to see that it is the way of Providence
to test by such afflictions men of virtuous and exemplary life, and to
call them, once tried, to a better world, or to keep them for a while
on earth for the accomplishment of other purposes." In order to sustain
the faithful in their often difficult quest of the City of God, there-

fore, it was necessary to show that God was not only in total control
but also had a loving concern for His creation; Augustine emphasized
this when he wrote:
Similarly, all things are governed according to their
proper nature and position, both living and non-living,
being subject to the laws of Divine Providence.
Therefore, the Lord says: "And are not the sparrows
sold for a farthing? And yet not one of them will
fall to the ground without your Father's leave. . ."
So also are the birds of the air fed by Him and the
lilies of the field clothed by Him. It is the voice
of Truth that speaks, declaring that even our hairs
are numbered. God exercises a direct Providence over
holy, rational natures (whether the most exalted and
excellent of angels, or men who serve Him whole
heartedly). . .8
Thomas Aquinas, while providing a more definitive foundation for
9
the concept of providence in Roman Catholic doctrine, was nevertheless


73
get away, I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why;
and if, on the other hand, it was really the sixth century, all right,
I didn't want any softer thing: I would boss the whole country inside
of three months" (p. 25). As it turned out, three months was a little
quick. Eventually, though, Hank did receive the recognition and concomi
tant title he desired:
I couldn't have felt really and satisfactorily fine and
proud and set-up over any title except one that should
come from the nation itself, the only legitimate source;
and such a one I hoped to win; and in the course of
years of honest and honorable endeavor, I did win it
and wear it with a high and clean pride. This title
fell casually from the lips of a blacksmith, one day, in
a village, was caught up as a happy thought and tossed
from mouth to mouth with a laugh and an affirmative
vote; in ten days it swept the kingdom, and was become
as familiar as the king's name. I was never known by
any other designation afterward, whether in the nation's
talk or in grave debate upon matters of state at the
council-board of the sovereign. The title, translated
into modern speech, would be THE BOSS (pp. 68-69).
His control at this time was still incomplete. But he was continually
preparing for the eventual sway he would hold over this country, guard
ing always against the discovery of his intentions until the right time;
as he puts it, "I was pretty well satisfied with what I had already
accomplished. ... I was training a crowd of ignorant folks into ex
pertsexperts in every sort of handiwork and scientific calling. These
nurseries of mine went smoothly and privately along undisturbed in their
obscure country retreats, for nobody was allowed to come into their
precincts without a special permitfor I was afraid of the Church"
(pp. 77-78).
Ultimately, Hank does think the time is right and reveals his
plans openly. This comes, of course, after he has returned from his
odyssey across the English countryside, accompanied first by Sandy and


40
And the debate over the final chapters of Huckleberry Finn has
continued. A number of commentators have followed Marx's lead and con
demned the ending of the novel as unsatisfactory, providing quite a
11
variety of reasons for this criticism. But an even larger number of
critics have offered even more various reasons to defend the ending.
Most of these support the Phelps Farm sequence on the basis of thematic
12
interpretations of the novel that they provide. Still others argue
that the ending provides an essential structural device or is necessary
13
to maintain the structural integrity of the novel. And one firm ad
vocate, in perhaps the most comprehensive justification of the ending,
states that "to call the last chapters anti-climactic would be to neglect
14
the novel's main theme and its subtly developed pattern."
In spite of the variety of critical efforts applied to the novel
and its ending, however, no one has yet examined Huckleberry Finn from
15
the perspective of the providential tradition in literature. When
the novel is viewed from this critical angle, especially if we consider
Huckleberry Finn as the midpoint in the development of Samuel Clemens's
16
ideas about writing and life, the conclusion of this work is explicable
if not totally acceptable or aesthetically satisfying.
Structurally, Clemens carried over most of the techniques of the
providential novel from The Prince and the Pauper. In Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, there are "fortunate accidents," some fairly amazing
coincidences, a number of fortuitous events which occasionally lead to
rescue from trying circumstances and always lead to the fulfillment
of providential purposes,eventual recognition, and the ultimate distri
bution of rewards and punishments.


6
equated, and they were thought to be the result of hard work. The New
England colonies, in essence, were moving from a theocratic to a secular
state.
These were the changes, of course, that Jonathan Edwards was at
tempting to combat in his ministry. In line with his interest in re
instituting more strictly Calvinistic principles, Edwards's view of
providence was distinctly traditional and definitely not materialistic.
In explaining the correspondence between spiritual and material worlds,
he replaced the emphasis on the former when he wrote:
It is a great argument with me that God, in the crea
tion and the disposal of the world and the state and
course of things in it, had great respect to a shewing
forth and resembling spiritual things, because God in
some instances seems to have gone quite beside the
ordinary laws of nature in order to it sic 1; particu-
larly that in serpents' charming birds and squirrels
and such animals. The material world, and all things
pertaining to it, is by the creatour wholly subordi
nated to the spiritual and moral world. To show this,
God, in some things in providence, has set aside the
ordinary course of things in the material world to
subserve to the purposes of the moral and spiritual,
as in miracles. And to show that all things in heaven
and earth, the whole universe, is wholly subservient,
the greater parts as well as the smaller, God has
once or twice interrupted the course of the greater
wheels of the machine, as when the sun stood still in
Joshua's time. So, to shew how much he regards things
in the spiritual world, there are some things in the
ordinary course of things that fall out in a manner
quite diverse and aliene from the ordinary laws of
nature in other t^jngs, to hold forth and represent
spiritual things.
Edwards thus illustrated the traditional belief in a God who totally
sustains and controls the universeby general laws, special providences,
or even occasional miracles. He tried, by the analogies he drew between
23
God's providence and such natural phenomena as rivers and trees, to
reawaken in eighteenth-century Americans the sense that they were still
dependent on Divine Providence, in spite of their personal achievements


44
"Say, won't be suspicion what we're up to?"
"Maybe he won't. But we got to have it anyway.
Come along."
So they got out and went in.
The door slammed to because it was on the careened
side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim
come tumbling after me. I out with my knife and cut
the rope, and away we went! (pp. 103-104).^
Once again, Huck and Jim avoid detection and disaster by a fortuitous
22
concurrence of events.
But perhaps the most extraordinary coincidence of the entire trip
downriver occurs, appropriately enough, at the very outset of the con
troversial Phelps Farm episode. By this time, Huck has come to depend
on Providence to get him out of all the tight spots, as he indicates
when he says, "I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan,
but just trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth when
the time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did put the right
words in my mouth if I left it alone" (p. 285). But this time, it
finally appears as if Huck has run out of good luck and/or providential
guidance: "Well, I see I was up a stumpand up it good. Providence
had stood by me this fur all right, but I was hard and tight aground
now. I see it warn't a bit of use to try to go aheadI'd got to throw
up my hand" (p. 288). This lack of confidence immediately proves to be
unjustified, however, as Huck's surrender to truth is prevented by the
timely appearance of Silas Phelps: "So I says to myself, here's another
place where I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth to begin: but
[Mrs. Phelps] grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed, and says:
'Here he comes! Stick your head down lowerthere, that'll do; you
can't be seen now. Don't you let on you're here. I'll play a joke on
him"' (pp. 289-240). And the potential victims of Huck's continued
disguise then unwittingly inform him of his supposed identity:


91
comments as follows: "Honor stood first; and the laws [making up the
code] defined what it was and wherein it differed in certain details
from honor as defined by church creeds and by the social laws and customs
of some of the minor divisions of the globe that got crowded out when
the sacred boundaries of Virginia got staked out" (p. 116). And in any
battle between the antagonistic traditions of aristocracy and Chris
tianity, the latter always loses where members of the F. F. V. are con
cerned: "These laws required certain things of him which his religion £
might forbid: then his religion must yieldthe laws could not be re
laxed to accommodate religions or anything else" (p. 116).
Of course, not all of the townspeople in Dawson's Landing openly
admit to or actively participate in such irreligiosity. But even those
who do not worship directly at the temple of aristocracy still agree
to its tenets. This is first indicated in an early description of
Dawson's Landing, when the narrator points out that the basis of the
town's economy is slavery. And it is later affirmed by the reaction of
the townspeople to the duel fought between Judge Driscoll and Luigi
Capello: "The people took more pride in the duel than in all of the
other events put together, perhaps. It was a glory to their town to
have such a thing happen there. In their eyes the principals had reached
the summit of human honor. Everybody paid homage to their names; their
praises were in all mouths. Even the duelists' subordinates came in
for a handsome share of the public approbation: whereupon Pudd'nhead
Wilson was suddenly become a man of consequence" (pp. 145-146).
The "cult of Southern aristocracy," practiced by the members of
the F. F. V. and approved by the townspeople, is not the only false
religion practiced in Dawson's Landing, though. Another notable


115
are the equal victims of providential justice: "God helping us, we do
[stand by this verdict]; and to the issue we do solemnly commit our
lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. . 'Not even a sparrow
falls,' and so forth and so forth; and neither does a fly. This Chris
tiansuch as he wasthis alleged Christian fell by the dispensation of
God; this fly likewise. Such is the verdict, and by it we stand or fall
Wir kbnnen nicht anders" (pp. 145-146). The logic of the jurymen is as
little able to stand scrutiny as was Ursula's.
Still a third occasion on which man's dependence on providential
justice is made to appear ridiculous is discovered several pages later,
when Theodor relates how he and Seppi used Satan's ability to foresee
events to fleece their companions. Humorously ignoring his and Seppi's
own part in the activity, Theodor justifies taking advantage of his
friends on the premise that they should not have been betting on Sunday
and that their losses thus were actually the result of a providential
judgment: "We were not sorry, for it was wrong of them to bet on Sunday,
It seemed to me that it was a plain judgment on them. And not an acci
dent, but intentional. Seppi said it was as manifest as the fly's case
(pp. 149-150).
However, the most direct and thorough attack on the concept of
a God who loves, cares for, and controls this world and its inhabitants
is provided in the last chapter of "No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger."
Here Satan proceeds ruthlessly to dismantle the Christian concept of
providence by pointing out its particular flaws and illogicalities:
"Strange, because [your universe and its contents] are
so frankly and hysterically insanelike all dreams:
a God who could make good children as easily as bad,
yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made
every one of them happy, yet never made a single


66
and however much these traits hinder a critic trying to grasp the central
meaning of A Connecticut Yankee, consistent targets of Clemens's satire
in this novel can be demonstrated.
Because of Clemens's humanitarian and republican inclinations,
he opposed any institution which undermined the dignity, worth, or free
dom of the common man. Hank Morgan, the Connecticut Yankee, indicates
that the Established Church, the monarchy, and the nobility of sixth-
century England all conspired to that end:
The truth was, the nation as a body was in the
world for one object, and one only: To grovel before
king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat
blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work
that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that
they might be happy, go naked so that they might wear
silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared
from paying them, be familiar all their lives with
the degrading language and postures of adulation
that they might walk in pride and think themselves
the gods of this world.
The nation as a whole, then, was led by these three institutions. But
the keystone of these three, and the one which therefore kept the people
totally subservient to the institutions of monarchy and nobility as
well, was the Roman Catholic Church. This Hank recognizes almost from
the beginning of his tenure in the Arthurian kingdom, as is evident
from his explanation on the genesis of the Established Church and her
brother institutions in England:
Before the day of the Church's supremacy in the world,
men were men, and held their heads up, and had a man's
pride and spirit and independence; and what of great
ness and position a person got, he got mainly by
achievement, not by birth. But then the Church came
to the front, with an axe to grind; and she was wise,
subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cator
a nation; she invented "divine right of kings," and
propped it all around, brick by brick, with the Beati
tudeswrenching them from their good purpose to make
them fortify an evil one; she preached (to the com
moner) humility, obedience to superiors, the beauty


125
resume their proper roles and order is reestablished in the fictive
world. In the concluding section, those who were evil are punished
and the good are finally rewarded by God and the kingGod's secular
representativeworking together. And over all this activity moves the
author-narrator, who supervises, manipulates, and occasionally intrudes
upon his creation in a fictive analogue of providential control. The
world portrayed in this novel, then, is one in which Providence is truly
present. And it is a world which Clemens hoped would win for him the
acceptance of genteel readers and did win for him the approval of
Eastern critics. In The Prince and the Pauper, then, Clemens mastered
the conventions of the providential novel, a traditional and accepted
formula which would never serve him so well again.
With Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Clemens produced quite a dif
ferent type of novel. The narrator and chief protagonist, Huck Finn,
was far removed from the genteel. Even more important for this study,
he also was an inappropriate voice through which to affirm the concept
of providence. For while Huck occasionally seems to have accepted the
idea of providential guidance and control, he never really develops a
satisfactory understanding of the concept from the various representa
tions of Providence provided him at one time or another by Miss Watson,
the Widow Douglas, Jim, and even the supposed Dauphin. Finally Huck
rejects the providentialand the genteel as wellby choosing first
to go to hell and somewhat later to escape to the frontier. This put
Samuel Clemens in a dilemma. On the one hand, he depended heavily on
the providential machinery in writing Huckleberry Finn. On the other,
he was gradually discovering that his central character and even his
own purposes in this novel were at odds with this tradition.


8
world by a direct action of His own will; by such a use of laws in the
first place upon us, such a use as may not be known by us, but is per
fectly known to God, by such a use of natural laws as is wisely adapted
2 6
to effect needed results." Even better proof that the providential
concept remained a viable part of American religious thought in the
nineteenth century is provided by Horace Bushnell, a Congregational
minister and a founding member of the Monday Evening Club to which
Samuel Clemens belonged. In his Nature and the Supernatural, Bushnell
devoted a separate chapter to the explanation and proof of providential
control and care. And though the terms of his explanation and proof
might have differed from those of his predecessors, Bushnell would have
had the agreement of the Bradfords, the Mathers and even the Edwardses
when he concluded:
What we find then as the result of our inquiry is,
that the government of the world shows the same hand
which appears in the character and work of Jesus. In
the first place, we discover that nothing takes place
in the world that ought to take place, and even must
take place, if the government and supreme law of things
were confined to mere nature and her processes. Next,
we find that the issues of wars and discoveries, the
migrations, diplomacies, and great historic eras of
races and nations, the extinctions and revivals of
learning, and the persecutions and corruptions, not
less than the reformations of churches, are all so
modulated by the superintending government of the world,
as to perpetuate the gospel of Christ, and, as far as we
can see, to insure its ultimate triumph. Then passing
into the interior history of souls, which, after all, is
the chief field of God's government in the earth, we
meet vast myriads of witnesses in all walks of life, and
in all past ages, who profess to know God in the witness
of their internal life and show, by tokens manifold and
clear, that they are raised above themselves, in all
that makes the character of their life. To sum up all
in one brief expression, we have found a New Testament
in the government of the world. It penetrates all depths
of matter, heaves in the roll of the sea, administers back
of the thrones, tempers the courses of history, restrain
ing remainders and excesses of wrath, overturning, con
serving, restoring, healing, and reaffirming thus, in all


93
"Then she covered the tempter with a book, and another member of the
kitchen cabinet got it. She made this sacrifice as a matter of religious
etiquette; as a thing necessary just now, [only a fortnight after she
'got religion' at a revival,] but by no means to be wrested into a
precedent; no, a week or two would limber up her piety, then she would
be rational again, and the next two dollars that got left out in the
cold would find a comforterand she could name the comforter" (pp. 26-
27). And the possibility for an exchange of the infants, Tom and Chambers,
resulted from Roxy dressing her own son in the finery of his master.
While this exchange was made initially to preserve her baby from ever
being "sold down the river," Roxy ultimately recognizes the material
value of the deed. So when she returns to Dawson's Landing after eight
years as a chambermaid aboard "a Cincinnati boat in the New Orleans
trade," and discovers that her Tom has been disinherited, she is bitterly
dejected:
"Dissenwhiched him?"
"Dissenhurrit him."
"What's dat? What do it mean?"
"Mean's he bu'sted de will."
"Bu'sted de will! He wouldn't ever treat him so!
Take it back, you mis'able imitation nigger dat I bore
in sorrow en tribbilation."
Roxy's pet castlean occasional dollar from Tom's
pocketwas tumbling to ruin before her eyes. She could
not abide such a disaster as that; she couldn't endure
the thought of it (p. 72).
Ultimately, though, "an occasional dollar" will satisfy neither her
wounded pride nor her materialistic nature. For when Tom contemptuously
refuses Roxy's request for "on'y jis one little dolflar]," she begins to
extract a return from the investment she had made in that exchange of
22
babies over some twenty years. And it is significant that, in addi-
23
tion to the show of filial affection and respect she requires of her son,


106
character of "the stranger" in its various manifestations: for example,
in his book Mark Twain & the Community, Thomas Blues shows the similari
ties and differences between Wilson and the figure of the "old man,
who functions in the late fiction as exploder of illusions and victim-
izer of those who need their illusions to survive" (p. 56); in Mark
Twain: The Development of a Writer, Henry Nash Smith shows that Wilson
has some of the qualities of the "transcendent figure"; and in The Fate
of Humor, James Cox shows that Wilson is the fullest embodiment of "the
ironic stranger."
12
"Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property, p. 28.
13
For example, Spangler concluded his article by stating that
Pudd'nhead Wilson, "far from being incoherent or inconsistent, is re
markable among Twain's works for its unity, a unity which derives from
its pervasive concern with the theme of property, particularly the
perils of an obsession with property to the exclusion of all other
human values and needs" (p. 37). Likewise, Alsen ended the article
"Pudd'nhead Wilson's Fight for Popularity and Power" by indicating that
"the two major themes of the novel . thus mutually support and
clarify each other. This structural and thematic symmetry proves that
Pudd'nhead Wilson is far from incoherent and inconsistent in its de
velopment, that it is, on the contrary, Mark Twain's most tightly con
structed novel" (p. 143). And Schell concluded his article, "'Pears'
and 'Is' in Pudd'nhead Wilson" by stating that, "on the whole it seems
to me that Pudd'nhead Wilson is a far more unified, more balanced novel
than many of its critics have been willing to grant. As an exposition
of the shifting, extremely fine line between appearance and reality,
it stands firmly in the mainstream of Mark Twain's art" (p. 15). Fi
nally, in "The Composition of Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary
Twins: Chronology and Development," Anne Wigger indicated that, be
cause of revision, Pudd'nhead Wilson became "a powerful work" and ended
by giving an important reason why this was so: "The overlying unity
which Twain gives to this complex of ideas is for him a remarkably sus
tained ironic contrast between reality and appearance" (p. 102).
14
In his "Mark Twain's Neglected Classic: The Moral Astringency
of 'Pudd'nhead Wilson,"' F. R. Leavis showed admirable perception and
honesty when he wrote: "'Pudd'nhead Wilson' is not faultlessno book
of Mark Twain's is thatbut it is all the same the masterly work of
a great writer" (p. 128). And in "As Free as Any Cretur ..." Leslie
Fiedler seems to have agreed: "The two stories [Pudd'nhead Wilson
and Those Extraordinary Twins] were, after all, one, and the old book
a living unity that could not be split without irreparable harm. Yet
Pudd'nhead Wilson is, after all, a fantastically good book, better than
Mark Twain knew or his critics have deserved" (pp. 130-131).
15
Richard Chase offered the clearest contradiction to Leavis and
Fiedler, and by implication to the conclusions of Spangler et al., in
The American Novel and Its Tradition (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday
Anchor Books, Inc., 1957), pp. 149-156; he prefaced his discussion of
Pudd'nhead Wilson by stating that "Huckleberry Finn is, as everyone
says, 'one of the great books of the world.' Yet aside from the first
part of Life on the Mississippi there is nothing anywhere else in Mark


63
2
was the first to attempt such a study. Hoben felt that the novel be
gan as a burlesque based on the possibilities for humor contained in
a contrast between sixth-century Arthurian England and nineteenth-century
industrial America. Proof, for Hoben, that the dominant tone and intent
originally was burlesque rather than satire was provided by a letter
written to "Mother" Mary Fairbanks; in this letter, written on Novem
ber 16, 1886, only five days after he read the first three chapters of
A Connecticut Yankee at a meeting of the Military Services Institute
on Governors Island, New York, Clemens wrote:
The story isn't a satire, particularly, it is more
especially a contrast. It merely exhibits under high
lights, the daily life of the [imaginary Arthurian]
time & that of to-day; & necessarily the bringing them
into this immediate juxtaposition emphasizes the sa
lients of both. Only two or three chapters of the
book have been written, thus far. I expect to write
three chapters a year for thirty years; then the book
will be done. I am writing it for posterity only;
my posterity; my great grandchildren. It is to be my
holiday amusement for six days every summer the rest 3
of my life. Of course I do not expect to publish it.
According to Hoben's chronology, Clemens did not work on the novel again
until the fall of 1888by which time he had developed an intense an
tagonism toward England, principally because of Matthew Arnold's at
tacks on the American scene. The material written at this time re
flected this Anglophobia, so that the direction of the novel appar
ently changed from simple burlesque to energetic satire.
Hoben's study did not satisfactorily answer all of the questions
about the genesis of A Connecticut Yankee, though. A central problem
left unsolved was how Clemens had managed to develop sufficient material
for the forty-one chapters supposedly written between the fall of 1888
and the summer of 1889, a period during which he was deeply involved
in various business activities. Howard Baetzhold therefore offered a


43
and the moral guidance this runaway slave would eventually provide.
Only by the merest of coincidences was this double loss prevented.
Having just escaped capture by Mr. Loftus and his companion, Huck
and Jim proceed down the Mississippi River. Much of the time this raft
provides the quiet security and peace that Huck was looking for. But
for one reason or another, Huck occasionally risks the loss of this
comfortable world. For example, the influence of Tom Sawyer is still
sufficiently strong to cause Huck to board the wrecked Walter Scott:
"Do you reckon Tom Sawyer would ever go by this thing? Not for pie,
he wouldn't. He'd call it an adventurethat's what he'd call it; and
he'd land on that wreck if it was his last act" (p. 98). And landing
on the wreck in fact nearly is Jim and Huck's last act. For of course
the wreck has already drawn the attention of a gang of desperadoes;
and when Huck barely escapes detection by this gang and makes for the
raft, Jim has yet another surprise for him: "Oh, my lordy, lordy! Raf'?
Day ain't no raf' no mo', she done broke loose en gone!en here we is!"
(p. 102). Naturally there is another boat,the gang'sso there is no
miracle in Huck and Jim's discovering one. But the extraordinary help
they need to escape again comes a moment later when the gang, ready to
occupy this single boat themselves, is "fortunately" drawn back into
the Walter Scott at the very last moment:
He flung a bag of something into the boat, and
then got in himself, and set down. It was Packard.
Then Bill h£ come out and got in. Packard says, in
a low voice:
"All readyshove off!"
I couldn't hardly hang onto the shutters, I was
so weak. But Bill says:
"Hold on'd you go through him?"
"No. Didn't you?"
"No. So he's got his share o' the cash yet."
"Well, then, come along; no use to take truck
and leave money."


107
Twain's writing that is really first-rate, especially if one is think
ing of his contribution to the progress of the novel" (pp. 149-150).
However, Chase did not rely on generalities alone; for later he voiced
his most serious complaint against Pudd'nhead Wilson quite specifically:
"But what keeps this book from being a great novel is that the charac
ters and their relationships are not adequate to the moral action; the
split between action and actors runs through the book" (p. 155). Robert
Wiggins, in his article "Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Literary Caesarian Opera
tion," C[E, XXV, p. 186, summarized the reasons for agreement with Chase
when he concluded: "But if we fairly judge Pudd'nhead Wilson we must
also recognize that Twain's evasion [of the full implications of the
miscegenation theme] marked by the flawed structure of the work keeps
it from being a satisfying novel." Additional support for Chase's
opinion of Pudd'nhead Wilson is provided by Florence Leaver, who ended
her article on "Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson" with the following
statement: "If [the reader] is acquainted with the great Mark Twain
books, he will be certain that this one falls short of their high stan
dard. This is in spite of the compactness of plot, the stature of Roxy
as an imaginative creature, the magnitude of the theme, and the author's
power of language. The novel's 'machinery' is too obvious; the theme
of determinism is confused; the twins are dull and a little foolish;
the finger print device is 'contrived'; the author is so consumed with
hatred of the things he satirizes that his hatred sometimes gets between
him and his art" (p. 20).
16
Mark Twain: The Development of a Writer, p. 180; my italics.
"The Incipient Wilderness: A Study of Pudd'nhead Wilson," p. 127.
18
Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins (New
York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1899), XIV, 13-14; my italics.
Subsequent references to this work will be cited in the text.
19
As Wilson hypothesized, the true "object of that person in that
house was robbery, not murder. It is true that the safe was not open,
but there was an ordinary tin cash-box on the table, with three thousand
dollars in it. It is easily supposable that the thief was concealed
in the house; that he knew of this box, and of its owner's habit of
counting its contents and arranging his accounts at nightif he had
that habit, which I do not assert, of course;that he tried to take the
box while its owner slept, but made a noise and was seized, and had to
use the knife to save himself from capture; and that he fled without
his booty because he heard help coming" (p. 211). In his article
"Pudd'nhead Wilson: A Parable of Property," p. 35, Spangler also sug
gests that Judge Driscoll is "something of a Babbitt. As . Babbitt
he escorts the twins around Dawson's Landing, pouring out 'an exhaust
less stream of enthusiasm' for its paltry 'splendors.' Finally, he is
dozing over his cash and accounts when Tom comes to rob him, a scene
which suggests the economic base of his status, one perhaps similar to
that of his brother and Tom's presumed father who died a bankrupt be
cause of his speculations in land."


CHAPTER V
PUDD'NHEAD WILSON
Even when it was first published in 1894, Pudd'nhead Wilson caused
a certain amount of disagreement among critics. On the one hand, William
Livingston Alden insisted that "Pudd'nhead Wilson, Mark Twain's latest
story, is the work of a novelist, rather than of a 'funny man.' There
is plenty of humour in it of the genuine Mark Twain brand, but it is as
a carefully painted picture of life in a Mississippi town in the days
of slavery that its chief merit lies. In point of construction it is
much the best story that Mark Twain has written, and of men and women
in the book at least four are undeniably creations."*" Another reviewer,
however, felt that the characterization was really the only strength of
the work: "And what has to be said about the book must be chiefly about
the individuals in it, for the story in itself is not much credit to
2
Mark Twain's skill as a novelist." And still a third reviewer ques
tioned whether the story was literature at all, much less an acceptable
novel: "Pudd'nhead Wilson is . admirable in atmosphere, local
color and dialect, a drama in its way, full of powerful situations,
thrilling even; but it cannot be called in any sense literature. . .
What is this? is it literature? is Mr. Clemens a 'writer' at all?
must he not after all be described as an admirable after-dinner story
tellerhumorous, imaginative, dramatic, like Dickenswho in an evil
moment, urged by admiring friends, has put pen to paper and written
3
down his stories?"
86


35
3
(New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1903), XII, 289. Subse
quent references to this work will be cited in the text. That prayer
is not reserved for emergencies is humorously illustrated when "The
Terror of the Seas" and the "Black Avenger" pray before going to sleep:
"They said their prayers inwardly, since there was nobody there with
authority to make them kneel and recite aloud; in truth, they had a
mind not to say them at all, but they were afraid to proceed to such
lengths as that, lest they call down a sudden and special thunderbolt
from heaven" (p. 133).
4
A similar fear of providential justice is displayed during a
Sunday morning church service, when Tom refrains from catching a fly
during the prayer out of fear of God's punishment: "[F]or as surely
as Tom's hands itched to grab it they did not darehe believed his soul
would be instantly destroyed if he did such a thing while the prayer
was going on" (p. 51). And Tom and Huck are quite surprised when Injun
Joe is not immediately struck down upon lying about Dr. Robinson's
murder: "Then Huckleberry and Tom stood dumb and staring, and heard
the stony-hearted liar reel off his serene statement, they expecting
every moment that the clear sky would deliver God's lightnings upon his
head, and wondering to see how long the stroke was delayed" (pp. 111-112).
^"Injun Joe and his partner plunged into the narrow path between
the tall sumach bushes, and were at once hidden in the gloom. Huck
closed up and shortened his distance, now, for they would never be able
to see him. He trotted along awhile; then slackened his pace, fearing
he was gaining too fast; moved on a piece, then stopped altogether;
listened; no sound; none, save that he seemed to hear the beating of his
own heart. The hooting of an owl came over the hillominous sound!
But no footsteps. Heavens, was everything lost! He was about to spring
with winged feet, when a man cleared his throat not four feet from him!
Huck's heart shot into his throat, but he swallowed it again; and then
he stood there shaking as if a dozen agues had taken charge of him at
once, and so weak that he thought he must surely fall to the ground"
(pp. 257-258).
6
Mark Twain's Notebook (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1935),
p. 129.
Mark Twain and John Bull (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
1970), p. 48.
8
The Innocent Eye: Childhood in Mark Twain's Imagination (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), p. 114.
9
Critics other than Stone have noted this element of the novel.
In Mark Twain's Burlesque Patterns (Dallas: Southern Methodist Uni
versity Press, 1960), p. 125, for example, Franklin Rogers pointed out
that Edward's journey was an education in moral truth: "Thus the journey
becomes what may be called a 'moral pilgrimmage,' for the moral conse
quences of Edward's disillusionment are the important matter of the book."
And William C. Spengeman pointed to the moral element of this novel in
his Mark Twain and the Backwood Angel: The Matter of Innocence in the
Works of Samuel Clemens (Kent State University Press, 1966), p. 55, when
he wrote: "Edward's moral journey begins in ignorant pride and ends in
enlightened humility."