People Are Shaped by Environment

Topics: Slavery, Black people, White people Pages: 3 (877 words) Published: April 24, 2002
People are Shaped by Their Environment

For a long time, people have argued over whether an individuals behavior is controlled solely by their environment. Their experiences, and the people they grow up with shape the way they behave as people. People teach others ways of acting and thinking that are kept for the rest of their lives. In Mark Twain's, Pudd'nhead Wilson, the characters live in a society that criticizes the way they live their daily lives. The town's expectations, opinions and values affect their personalities. For these reasons, environment is the driving force shaping the way individuals live.

Chambers, who grows up in an environment of discrimination and abuse, becomes ashamed and insecure about himself. For example, because Roxy swapped Chambers and Tom, therefore switching their environments:

Tom got all the petting, Chambers got none. Tom got all the delicacies, Chambers got mush and milk, and clabber without sugar. In consequence Tom was a sickly child and Chambers wasn't. Tom was "fractious," as Roxy called it, and overbearing; Chambers was meek and docile (41). The slave system insists that because Chambers is "black" he must be treated differently from those who are not . The punishment Chambers receives emotionally scar his thoughts and causes him to act inferior. In addition, when Chambers finally finds out his true identity, "The real heir suddenly found himself rich and free, but in a most embarrassing situation. He could neither read nor write, and his speech was the

basest dialect of the Negro quarter" (166). The effects of his damaging childhood have now affected his capability to become the successful man he could have been. Although Chambers is now free from slavery, with an abundance of money in his pocket, he will not be able to attain his intelligence. Furthermore, Chambers is uncomfortable with accepting the white man's lifestyle because, "he could not endure the terrors of the white man's...
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