Date of Award

12-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

Department of African American Studies, Africana Women's Studies and History (AWH)

Abstract

This study is a historical examination of the attitude and behavior of Mark Twain (also known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens) in his relationship with his household servants during the Gilded Age (1870-1900) in Hartford, Connecticut. "Gilded Age" was coined by Twain in a satirical expose of the corrupt greed in business and politics. Twain suggested dishonesty was disguised beneath a thin golden veil of American propaganda. This period of self-elevation and lavish wealth was contrasted against a poor unskilled working class. Twain, who evolved from lower rungs of society to fortuned heights, makes an ideal study for hypocrisy. Serving as a symbol of the times, this investigation explores his ability to rise above or to succumb to the predisposed mentality of the day. Further, the same biases of class, race, and gender continue to be unresolved issues today in an inviolate hypocritical system of privilege, gilded by wording in a duplicitous Constitution.

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