Mark Twain’s “The Bad Little Boy” is a short story that tells about its subject which is also the title of the story, told in a third person’s point of view and presented with humor as the story-teller wonders at the characteristics of the main character…
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It is evidently clear from the discussion that Twain’s purpose in the story is to present that not all the bad boys in stories have a change of heart in its conclusion and have a happy ending because they changed from being bad to good but that in real life, bad characters also succeed. Twain’s mention of Sunday school books a number of times to compare their bad boy James to his bad boy Jim emphasizes the difference between the two characters although they have a similar name. Sunday school stories, known for the moral lessons derived from the stories indicate that the character of James is round, developing from being a nuisance to the charming boy everyone wants while Twain aims to present his Jim as a challenge to face realities that there indeed are flat characters like Jim who are static, bad from the beginning to the end of the story. The frequent contradictions of James and Jim in the story establish a strong foundation for this theory. For instance, when Jim sneaked into the pantry for some jam, it was mentioned that he did not do as the other bad boys do in other stories, feeling sorry for their bad actions, kneeling and praying then telling their mothers what bad things they did and asking for forgiveness. Instead, it mentions that the opposite happened to Jim which now puts him in a different category, that instead of becoming better, he became worst, even feeling happy for what he did and prepared for what spanking and discipline that would come from his mother.
The story also presents the fact that bad things do not happen to bad people only and likewise, good things do not happen to good people only but that good and bad happen to everyone, contrary to what is usually taught in Sunday schools. This is exemplified by the mention of the main character stealing apples from a farmer’s apple tree and yet did not fall and break his limb, nor fallen in bed for weeks, grieved for what he did but that he successfully came down from the tree with lots of stolen fruits, overpowering the dog and escaping whatever danger there might have been. Drowning on a Sunday did not also happen to Jim while he was out boating when he was supposed to be in church or at home doing what was expected of a good little boy. That he did not blow his fingers off when he run with his father’s gun to go hunting on the Sabbath nor was he caught when he stole the teacher’s pen-knife instead, he broke his moral classmate’s reputation when the pen-knife fell from his cap where Jim placed the stolen item. All throughout the story, Twain presented the argument that there is more to what is written in Sunday stories which should be taught to the children and that would be the realities of life.
The author also presents sarcasm in the few times he mentioned amazement about the luck of the main chara
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