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❶They give very little in return, usually because they hardly have any idea what they are talking about.

Mark Twain American Literature Analysis

by Mark Twain
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Language & Lit

Tom is terrorized by his criminal father. Edward, if in an obviously comfortable position, lives a sequestered life in the palace, dominated by the dying Henry VIII. Tom dreams of a life of royal power and plays that game with his mates in the slums, then he is given his chance. Edward is also given his chance to meet his subjects, sunk in the squalor of poverty, class privilege, and legal savagery.

Both are freed of their fathers, one dying, the other disappearing into the criminal world forever, possibly also dead. What they do with their chances is central to the most serious themes in the book. What could have been simply a charming fairy tale becomes, as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is to become later, a study of boys becoming men.

A loosely organized, partly autobiographical story of Mississippi steamboat life before and after the Civil War.

Written early in his career, before the difficulties of his personal life had a chance to color his perception, and filled with reminiscent celebration of his time as a boy and man, as an apprentice and as a Mississippi steamboat pilot, it is a lively, affectionate tribute hardly muted by the fact that the world of the romantic pilots of the Mississippi had disappeared forever during the Civil War and the development of the railroads.

It is a great grab-bag of a book. It starts formally enough, with a sonorous history of the river that reveals how much Twain feels for the phenomenon of the Mississippi which will appear again in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , but swiftly falls into rambling anecdotes, comic turns, and tall tales. It has, as is often the case in early Twain, a weakness for elephantine humor of the unsophisticated, midwestern rural stripe, but the obvious happiness that marks the tonality of the book manages to keep it going despite its regular habit of floundering in bathos.

The book could well have descended into an amusing shambles had it not been used to tell the very long, detailed, and sometimes hilarious story of the steamboat pilots and of how Twain as a young boy wheedles his way onto the Paul Jones , where Mr.

Bixby, the pilot, agrees to teach him the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis for five hundred dollars, which Twain is to pay him out of his first wages as a pilot. These passages are some of the best action writing done by Twain, and they anticipate the kind of exciting river narrative that is so important in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain obviously fell in love with the river and with piloting, and the whole book is a joyful exercise in telling it once and for all, since it had, at the time of printing, been lost forever. Mindful of this, Twain was determined to get it down in all its detail, and he follows the trade from its height, when the pilots were kings, through the battles to unionize as a defense against the owners, to the eventual falling away of the trade during the war period.

There is a kind of broken-backed structure to the work, caused in part by the fact that earlier versions of chapters 4 to 17 originally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in serial form. These were not sufficient to make a book, so the second half was added, with Twain, now the celebrity writer, touring the river and the cities along its banks. This later material is not all bad, but it has nothing like the dramatic focus or energy of the earlier chapters, and there is a feeling that Twain is sometimes at pains to pad it, despite the success of the anecdotes.

The twenty-two years that separate the later Twain from the early adventures of the boy Clemens take much of the immediacy out of the book, even when Twain tries to praise the improvements that engineering science has imposed on the river. Twain, the businessman, saw the profit; Clemens, the old pilot, saw the loss. It is certainly true that this latter material best illustrates the function of the book as a travel document, as Twain catalogs the changes in the river and in the towns along its banks.

The decades that had passed between the events of the first half and the second reveal how quickly the Midwest was catching up with the East and how the village and town landscape was giving way to small cities.

Huckleberry Finn, tired of being beaten by his father and of well-meaning people trying to civilize him, takes to the Mississippi on a raft and discovers that he has a runaway slave along for the ride. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may at first have seemed to Twain to be an obvious and easy sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , but this book, begun in the mid s, then abandoned, then taken up again in and dropped again, was not ready to be published until It was worth the delay.

In some ways it is a simpler novel than The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ; it has nothing like the complication of plot which made that earlier novel so compelling. Huck, harassed by the Widow Douglas and her sister, Miss Watson, who want to give him a good home and a place in normal society, and by his brutal father, who wants to get his hands on the money that Huck and Tom found in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , decides to get away from it all, and he runs away.

This time, he does not have the tempering influence of Tom Sawyer, who was prepared to run away to a nearby island but could not resist going home for his own funeral. Tom is only an occasional renegade, eager for the romance but not the long-term reality of rebellion. Huck is of tougher stuff, and he intends to go for good. No better indication of this is to be seen than in the simple fact that Tom tries to smoke but does not have the stomach for it: Huck does not play at it. He is a real smoker and a real rebel—or so he thinks.

Kidnapped by his father and held captive by him, Huck revels at least in the freedom of the barbaric world without soap, water, or school, but he manages to get away, leaving a trail that suggests he has been murdered, and heads for an island in the Mississippi as a start on his attempt to get away from his father and from the well-meaning sisters who would turn him into a respectable citizen.

He is on his way to leave all of his troubles behind him. It is at this point that Twain adds the complication that is to be central to the ascent of this novel from juvenile fancy to the level of moral seriousness.

Jim, whose wife and children have already been separated from him and sold to a southern owner, is determined to escape to the free northern states, work as a free man, and eventually buy his family out of bondage.

Jim is property before he is a man, and Huck is deeply troubled, surprisingly, by the thought that he is going to help Jim. He sees it, in part, as a robbery, but more interestingly, he sees his cooperation as a betrayal of his obligation to the white society of which he is a member. Huck, the renegade, has, despite himself, deeply ingrained commitments to the idea that white people are superior to black people, and for all his disdain for that society, he is strongly wedded to it.

This conflict provides the psychological struggle for Huck throughout the novel. Even when the two move on, driven by the news that in the town a reward has been posted for Jim, accusing him of murdering Huck, Huck carries a strong sense of wrongdoing because he is helping Jim to escape—not from the murder charge, which can be easily refuted, but from his mistress, who clearly owns him and is entitled to do with him what she will.

Nevertheless, Huck and Jim set off on the raft, which is wedded archetypally to the Ulyssean ship and may be seen as the vehicle for Huck to find out who he is and what kind of man he is likely to become. The pattern is a common one in the history of fiction; Twain weds it to another common structure, the picaresque, which has a long literary history and in which the main characters, while traveling, encounter trials and tribulations that test their wits and ultimately their moral fiber.

The Grangerford-Shepherdson feud, for example, shows the kind of virulent stupidity that can obsess even relatively civilized human beings.

The confidence men who call themselves the Duke and the King, however, take over the raft and use Huck and Jim and anyone else they can deceive for profit without concern of any kind. Huck fears these men but is reluctant to make a clean break from them, though it is fair to remember that they watch him and Jim very closely. The ultimate betrayal comes when Huck, who has let their confidence games be played out in several communities, draws the line when they try to defraud a family of three daughters of their inheritance.

The Duke and the King escape without discovering that Huck has revealed their plan. Undismayed by their loss, they start their fraudulent games again, committing their most thoughtlessly cruel act by selling Jim for the reward money. This is the point of no return for Huck. Jim—ignorant, superstitious, and timid but loyal and devoted to Huck—has, on the long trip down the river, shown over and over that he is a man of considerable character, despite his color and despite his disadvantaged life as a slave.

Huck, in turn, discovers that however much he tries to distinguish Jim as other than an equal, however much he is bothered by his determination to see Jim as a lesser being than the white man, he cannot ignore his growing concern for him nor his deepening affection and respect for the way in which Jim endures and goes on.

Disgusted by the unfeeling barbarity of the King and the Duke, Huck sets out to free Jim, believing that in so doing, he will go to Hell. Huck passes himself off as Tom in order to get to Jim, who is being kept in a farm outhouse. With the arrival of Tom himself, who passes himself off as his brother Sid, the fun begins, as Tom, as wildly romantic as ever, plots to free Jim the hardest way possible.

Twain was an excellent recorder of dialects, and was passionate about recording the way people spoke exactly. He felt so strongly about it that at the beginning of his book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," he states, "In this book a number of different dialects are used," and then he goes on to explain each and every type of dialect that he uses, so that. Another distinctive trait of Twain's was his sense of humor.

His writings are almost always humorous and have an element of satire to them. Satire is when you point out the absurdities of something by making fun of it a bit; so, if you notice characters with extreme personality traits or elaborate and exaggerated descriptions of things, then Twain might just be satirizing. For example, in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," an older lady is explaining what heaven is to Huck, a year old boy, and Twain describes her as saying that it is a place where people just floated on clouds and played harps all day.

Huck's reaction to this is, "I didn't think much of it. He inserts funny observations and satirical elements in a lot of his writing. I hope that those two elements of style--dialect and satire--will help you in identifying more of Twain's work. In the decades after the Civil War, Mark Twain introduced a new voice into American writing—fresh, impudent, boisterous, rough, and at times infantile. He brought the West into our literature, made it possible for grotesque Southwestern humor to be mainstreamed, poked fun at the genteel pretensions of New England while also establishing himself as one of its new citizens , and left us a legacy of two children's stories that are central to our folklore: In some of the most heightened passages in his stories, Twain seems to suggest that the ultimate medium of life is fog or vastness , that we are always in the mists, and that contours are always blurred.

In the river scene in "Huck Finn" where Huck and Jim are separated by fog, Twain suggests the utter factitiousness of identity itself. This can also be seen in the cave scene with Tom and Becky in "Tom Sawyer. He is a humorist and satirical writer. Moreover, Mark Twain used everyday American language to tell his story, and he was the first one to use vernacular speaking characters and narrator. He is always the satirist and commentator on the foibles of human nature.

For example, after Tom has tricked the other boys into painting the fence for him, the voice of Mark Twain points out the gullibility of man: Mark Twain also criticizes the adult attitudes and behaviors throughout the novel. The main image is that of the Mississippi River. The river is described as wild and free flowing, illustrating the type of life Huck wants to live.

He wants to be adventurous. Also, the river serves as a sort of time line as readers go along in the story. A major symbol that he uses throughout the novel is that of the river. It symbolizes freedom, independence, and life in the wild. Huck flees civilization to life on the river to live freely and have adventures. Another symbol is Jim. He is more than a character in the book, but symbolizes all of the slaves in the South.

Through him, we see the southern attitude toward slaves and blacks and we also see the humanity in slaves. This is important because Twain is able to use Jim as a means to further the reality that slavery is evil. In this case, Twain pokes fun at the fact that Miss Watson tries to become a better Christian and a better person, but still owns slaves and considers them property. A major theme in the novel is an emphasis on the Mississippi River and what it provides.

where the past is always present

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Mark Twain's writing style, Twainthe pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens, American writer and humorist, is characterized by .

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Twain's narrative writing style belongs to what people call Southwestern humor. This regional style of writing features earthy language, at times crude humor and doses of cruelty as well as stock characters and situations in which the trickster triumphs. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain: Summary, Characters & Analysis Mark Twain, a writer who is Twain's use of authenticity in voice and writing style created for him and the.

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Mark Twain once said when asked how to write, "Write what you know about." His work of Life on the Mississippi is a great representation of his advice to aspiring writers. It is written in true realistic style, providing the reader with many elements. 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.