Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

William Morris, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Daniel Belgrad, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Edward Waldron, Ph.D.

Keywords

Middle East, Orientalism, prejudice, racism, West

Abstract

The purpose of this study on Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad is toinvestigate the various personal and socio-historical reasons for Twain's disrespectful and intolerant depiction of the people of the Middle East in juxtaposition to his lighter treatment of Europeans of the Mediterranean, whom he also wrote about at length in the same travel narrative.The research involves examining the main text, but also considers the long history of Western attitudes towards the Middle East, Twain's prejudicial upbringing, his strong penchant for exaggeration, his sense of opportunism, and the books and contemporary social attitudes that may have influenced his thinking. Research reveals an intricate web of complexity behind Mark Twain's attitude in his writing. It also reveals that the many of his critics fall prey and become entangled inthe very same web of complicated and skewing factors that trapped Twain nearly one hundred and fifty years ago.

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