Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The distribution of wealth occurs frequently in Mark Twain's novels, especially at the resolution. Indeed, Twain uses wealth as resolution in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Pudd'nhead Wilson. The repeated use of this formula in the author's approach to novel writing indicates the tremendous influence that capitalism had in shaping his worldview. In his early works, Twain appears to endorse capitalism in his use of wealth as resolution. Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and Huckleberry Finn each conclude with the distribution of capital as a reward to the protagonists and as an effective solution to conflicts presented throughout the texts. However, the tone of Pudd'nhead Wilson is decidedly different. This later novel ends with wealth as resolution, but the result is not the happiness granted to characters in Twain's previous works. Instead, the fates of Tom Driscoll, Chambers, and Roxy leave the reader with a sense of the inadequacy of capitalism. Twain's change in his approach reveals a rejection of bourgeois values. An examination at the resolution to all four novels reveals Twain's shifting Weltanschauung, culminating with a rejection of the dominant ideology in Pudd'nhead Wilson.


English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America