A “Rightly Constructed Boys Life”

Richard S. Lowry

in ‘Littery Man’

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780195102123
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855087 | DOI:

Series: Commonwealth Center Studies in American Culture

A “Rightly Constructed Boys Life”

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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The author suggests three major cultural transformations which best describe the writing of Mark Twain: capital, culture, and education. The second one is tackled in detail in this chapter. This is aided by a discussion on one of the novels of Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). This chapter shows how this novel brings into collision the commodity aesthetic with a narrative voice built in response to one of the earliest languages of the expert. A discourse on boyhood in emerging forms of middle-class manhood is also presented. Subchapters include a discussion on nostalgia and play, on how to rightly construct boys, and talking about Injun Joe. The “problem of Injun Joe” as a sign of Twain's own ambivalence is given light, as is his role as a domestic entertainer.

Keywords: Tom Sawyer; culture; Injun Joe; boyhood; manhood

Chapter.  19634 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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