Pudd'nhead Wilson

Based on the idea of nature versus nurture, explain "Tom's" treatment of "Chambers" as they mature.

Chapter 4

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The key theme raised in these chapters is nature versus nurture. More specifically, the chapters pose the question of whether it is an individual's innate qualities that determine the type of person he or she becomes, or whether it is the environment in which he or she is raised that is controlling. In truth, the book does not expressly provide a conclusive answer either way. Tom Driscoll, or really the young usurper posing as Tom, is a perfect example. On one hand, one might argue that "nurture" is responsible for Tom's disposition; being raised white and rich led to him becoming a spoiled, cruel young man. This argument would further assert that had "Tom" remained a slave and received a more austere upbringing, he likely would have grown to be meek and docile, as Chambers did. On the other hand, it might be suggested that it was Tom's inherent "nature" which determined the kind of man he would become; that his laziness and dishonesty are in fact manifestations of his inborn slave qualities. In fact, Roxy later suggests precisely this, claiming that it's Tom's "blackness" that causes his cowardice.