Twain was a realist in terms of his writing style, however, in his writings he had many illusions about what America was like, and he showed these in his writings. He is now considered to have been a critic of the American scene, and he would improve on what he saw as wrong, or emphasize it in his writings. Hadleyburg is a perfect example of this because it is supposed to be an incorruptible, well-behaved, mature town.
Twain used Illusions in the plot and in the setting of "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg." America also has illusions about it in general, and in the rural communities. Some Illusions that are common to America, Hadleyburg, and small towns in America are: The illusion of invulnerability, the illusion of equality, the illusion of incorruptibility, and the illusions of having no crime, greed, or enemies.
An illusion that was widely overlooked until a couple years ago is the illusion of invulnerability.
America, Americans, and Hadleyburg residents all felt, and perhaps still feel, that it is impossible for anyone to harm them. For America, it took a few terrorists with a well planned and executed attack, for Hadleyburg, a traveling gambler with a sack of lead. After the fact in both cases both groups realized that they had been wrong. In Hadleyburg the people frowned on the man with the "gold" because he was a gambler. "We ourselves do not gamble" they said, and had the same response for him when he asked if he could smoke. When they finally realized that the sack was filled with lead and not gold, and that they had been had, they saw that there was greed, and dishonesty in their incorruptible town.
A second illusion common to America and...