Mark twain 3

A pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens American writer and humorist, whose best work is characterized by broad, often irreverent humor or biting social satire. Twain’s writing is also known for realism of place and language, memorable characters, and hatred of hypocrisy and oppression.

Born in Florida, Missouri, Clemens moved with his family to Hannibal, Missouri, a Mississippi river port, when he was four years old. There he received a public school education. After the death of his father in 1847, Clemens was apprenticed to two Hannibal printers, and in 1851 he began setting type for and contributing sketches to his brother Orion’s Hannibal Journal. Subsequently he was a journeyman printer in Keokuk, Iowa; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and other cities. Later Clemens was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River until the American Civil War brought an end to travel on the river. In 1861 Clemens served briefly as a volunteer soldier in an irregular company of Confederate cavalry. Later that year he accompanied his brother to the newly created Nevada Territory, where he tried his hand at silver mining. In 1862 he became a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City, Nevada, and in 1863 he began signing his articles with the pseudonym “Mark Twain,” a Mississippi River phrase meaning two fathoms deep. After moving to San Francisco in 1864, Twain met the American writers Artemus Ward and Bret Harte, who encouraged him in his work. In 1865 Twain reworked a tale he had heard in the California gold fields; within months the author and the story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” had become national sensations.

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In 1867 Twain lectured in New York City, and in the same year he visited Europe and the Holy Land. He wrote of these travels in The Innocents Abroad, a book burlesquing those aspects of Old World culture that impress American tourists. In 1870 he married Olivia Langdon. After living briefly in Buffalo, New York, the couple moved to Hartford, Connecticut. Much of Twain’s best work was written in the 1870s and 1880s in Hartford or during the summers at Quarry Farm, near Elmira, New York. Roughing It recounts his early adventures as a miner and journalist; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer celebrates boyhood in a town on the Mississippi River; A Tramp Abroad describes a walking trip through the Black Forest of Germany and the Swiss Alps; The Prince and the Pauper, a children’s book, focuses on switched identities in Tudor England; Life on the Mississippi combines an autobiographical account of his experiences as a river pilot with a visit to the Mississippi nearly two decades after he left it; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court satirizes oppression in feudal England.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the sequel to Tom Sawyer, is considered Twain’s masterpiece. The book is the story of Huck Finn, a boy who flees his father by rafting down the Mississippi River with a runaway slave, Jim. The pair’s adventures show Huck the cruelty of which men and women are capable. Another theme of the novel is the conflict between Huck’s feelings of friendship with Jim, who is one of the few people he can trust, and his knowledge that he is breaking the laws of the time by helping Jim escape. Huckleberry Finn, which is almost entirely narrated from Huck’s point of view, is noted for its authentic language and for its deep commitment to freedom. Huck’s adventures also provide the reader with a panorama of American life along the Mississippi before the Civil War. Twain’s skill in capturing the rhythms of that life help make the book one of the masterpieces of American literature. In 1884 Twain formed the firm Charles L. Webster and Company to publish his works and other writers’ books, notably Personal Memoirs by the American general and president Ulysses S. Grant. A disastrous investment in an automatic typesetting machine led to the firm’s bankruptcy in 1894. Twain’s successful worldwide lecture tour and the book based on those travels, Following the Equator, paid off his debts.

Twain’s work during the 1890s and the 1900s is marked by growing pessimism and bitterness—the result of his business reverses and, later, the deaths of his wife and two daughters. Significant works of this period are Pudd’nhead Wilson, a novel about miscegenation and murder, and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, a sentimental biography. Twain’s other later writings include short stories, the best known of which are “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” and “The War Prayer” ; philosophical, social, and political essays; the manuscript of “The Mysterious Stranger,” an uncompleted piece that was published posthumously in 1916; and autobiographical dictations.

Twain’s work was inspired by the unconventional West, and the popularity of his work marked the end of the domination of American literature by New England writers. He is justly renowned as a humorist but was not always appreciated by the writers of his time as anything more than that. Successive generations of writers, however, recognized the role that Twain played in creating a truly American literature. He portrayed uniquely American subjects in a humorous and colloquial, yet poetic, language. His success in creating this plain but evocative language precipitated the end of American reverence for British and European culture and for the more formal language associated with these cultures. His adherence to American themes, settings, and language set him apart from many other novelists of the day and had a powerful effect on such later American writers as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, both of whom pointed to Twain as an inspiration for their own writing.

In Twain’s later years he wrote less, but he became a celebrity, frequently speaking out on public issues; he came to be known for the white linen suit he always wore when making public appearances. Twain received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1907. When he died he left an uncompleted autobiography, which was eventually edited by his secretary, Albert Bigelow Paine, and was published in 1924.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain
In his famed novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain writes a classic American adventure story, complete with moral dilemmas, the theme of an individual against society, and the proverbial journey into maturity.However, the focus of his book is not on the adventure itself, but rather on the pseudo father-son relationship that springs up between Jim and Huck during their pilgrimage down the Mississippi.Huck, an uncivilized, pragmatic child, has had little if any controlling influence in his life.His father Pap is an abusive alcoholic who kidnaps him in the beginning of the novel, setting the scene for his disappearance and the ensuing journey.Huck meets Jim, an escaped slave, and accepts him as a companion, as they are both running for their freedom.However, Huck still sees Jim as a slave, a piece of property, rather than a human.This changes as the two journey down the Mississippi River, becoming dependent on each other, one filling both a practical !
and emotional need of the other.This bond begins to fade from view as the book strays from Huck and Jim with the introduction of the Duke and the Dauphin, and gets progressively further from view towards the end of the book.Eventually, When Twain re-introduces Tom in the end of the novel, he removes Huck and Jims relationship as the focus of the book and thereby dilutes his message.


Huck and Jim begin their travels together as two very different people running in the same direction, yet end as the closest of friends.In the beginning, Huck and Jim stay together out of need because Jim needs a white person to run with to avoid being captured as a slave, and Huck is lonely by himself.Running together, they gradually become good friends, but their camaraderie is not cemented until they are separated and later reunited in chapter fifteen.In this chapter, the two are separated in a dense fog near Cairo, their destination, where the Ohio river joins the Mississippi.After many hours, Huck finally makes his way back to the raft, which he finds with one broken oar and covered with debris.Jim is sleeping, and Huck, still in a childish state of mind, decides to play a joke on Jim by pretending that he was never lost.He pretends to wake up next to Jim, who is overjoyed to see him, and convinces him that the whole episode was a dream.When Jim finally rea!
lizes that Huck is fooling him, he admonishes him sharply for it, “my heart wuz mos’ broke bekase you wuz los’, en I didn’ k’yer no’ mo’ what become er me en de raf’. En when I wake up en fine you back agin, all safe en soun’, de tears come, en I could a got down on my knees en kiss yo’ foot, I’s so thankful. En all you wuz thinkin’ ’bout wuz how you could make a fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is TRASH; en trash is what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren’s en makes ’em ashamed.”(Twain, 109)It is here that Jims association with Hucks really becomes paternal, for Jims words are those of a responsible father whose son has acted shamefully.Jims words have a profound affect on Huck, who realizes that Jim is a person, and that his feelings can be hurt.Regardless of his former friendship with Jim, he still considered him a lowly slave until then.

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In the early 1800s in the South, blacks were slaves, and the social order was accepted.Most people thought nothing of black ri…..ghts, they were considered property.As Huck states, “I was stealing a poor old woman’s nigger that hadn’t ever done me no harm”(Twain, 271)Twains installation of Jim as a symbolic father for Huck is a rejection of this sentiment, in that he sees Jim as a person, and a far better one than Hucks real father who, despite his white skin, never treated Huck as a good father should.Pap seems to typify the whites in this story, most of whom are ethically barren in one way or another.The Duke and the Dauphin are frauds, the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons kill each other over nothing, and Colonel Sherburn kills Boggs without a thought.By rights, Jim is morally superior to virtually all the whites in the book.Such is shown when Jim sacrifices his freedom to stay with Tom when he lies wounded on the raft in the end of the novel, despite the fa!
ct that it was Tom who had been tormenting Jim for weeks with his asinine rescue game.All this ties into Twains message, which is a cry for racial equality.Unfortunately, Toms re-appearance dilutes this message, making it not as emphatic as it could have been.


When Tom meets Huck in the end of the book, he immediately takes control of the situation, telling Huck that to rescue Jim the “right” way, they must use the most excessively complicated method possible.This entails all sorts of unnecessary things like digging into the cabin through the floor, having Jim write messages in his own blood on plates and throw them out the window, and filling the cabin with rats, spiders, snakes, and other unpleasant creatures to make the environment more like that of a prison for Jim.Being the pragmatist he is, I would have thought Huck would have objected to the extensive measures Tom went to, especially considering the fact that Huck could have rescued Jim much quicker using his own ideas. Huck idolized Tom all throughout the novel, and thus his reasoning was that Tom was smarter, and knew more about rescuing people.However, as Huck has spent the entire novel fighting against societal etiquette which he deems impractical, it seems odd tha!
t he would follow it here, regardless of who preaches it.Also, because Jim meant more to Huck than anything else, and as Huck was willing to go to Hell for Jim, it would have seemed like Huck would have placed a higher priority on Jims rescue.Needless to say, Hucks relative complacency during this ordeal weakens Twains message by degrading the quality of his relationship with Jim, for were it more important, Huck would have freed him sooner.Furthermore, when Tom treats Jim cruelly, as he would a slave, he negates Jims previous standing as an actual person, with real feelings.As Walter Blair writes, “Jim, whom the reader and Huck has become to love and admire, becomes a victim of meaningless torture, a cartoon.” (Miller, 91)
Despite its childish appeal, Huckleberry Finn is a serious novel, withdefinite moral implications.However, when Tom re-appears in the end of the book, he usurps control of the story for twelve chapters, turning it into a game, a prank, a narrative more fitting to his novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, than its counterpart.


Works Cited
Miller, Robert K. Mark Twain. New York: Fredrick Ungar Publishing Co., 1983. (91)
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1896. (109, 271)

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