Mark Twain Essay

1600 words - 7 pages

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835. Clemons grew up in a town called Hannibal, Missouri. Here Sam Clemens saw an array of different type of people pass through his town. People such as: gamblers, entertainers, thieves, and even slave traders that influenced his childhood memories. We see traces of his rugged hometown deeply embedded with southern tradition. Clemens was known as a mischievous boy that smoked, led of crew of pranksters, and often played hooky from school. At the age of twelve Clemens dropped out of school after the death of his father. He later took a job as a printer where he was introduced to writing. Clemens constructed poems, reports, and humored sketches. Although young Samuel did not possess an education, he obtained knowledge from living life and experiencing the hustle and bustle of a river town. Clemens later went on to become a riverboat pilot perpetuated by displaying his yearning for travel. While on the river Samuel’s pen name became the name we all know today, Mark Twain. A term that riverboat engineers used to describe the depth of the waters the boat traveled. Twain’s humoristic writing style was influenced by his days as an editor of a local newspaper. A news paper that was saturated with jokes and tall tales. Twain’s remarkable youth was littered with experiences ranging from newspaper printer, reporter, journalist and editor, riverboat pilot, confederate army soldier and gold miner. Samuel Clemens’ adventurous childhood and nomadic lifestyle helped inspire the character formations found in two of his greatest writings, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn.
In a brief overview of Twain’s work we can see the breadth of experiences that motivated his will to write. Twain, made famous by his story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County laid the foundation for his success as a writer. He also wrote a successful book titled Roughing It that spoke to experiences as a gold miner and the fortune sought by him and many others. After traveling to Europe where he performed lectures, Twain wrote about the 1800’s, an era of corruption and exploitation; he entitled it The Gilded Age. This was his first fiction work which propelled him into the literary world. Even though much of his success was due to his previous works most Americans know Mark Twain by his two closely related novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ernest Hemmingway stated, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn ... it's the best book we've had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since" (Hemmingway and Shenton 22). The two stories are filled with raw humor, mature material, and they both draw from Samuel Clemens child hood memories. Both stories were written based on places and people found in Clemmons childhood hometown Hannibal. In...

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