Mark Twain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Samuel Clemens was an American writer and humorist who's best work is shown
by broad social satire, realism of place and language, and memorable characters.
Clemens was born November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. His family moved
to Hannibal, Mississippi when he was four. There he received a public school
education. Samuel Clemens was a difficult child, given to mischief and mis
adventure. He barely escaped drowning on nine separate occasions. His fathers
death was a calamity in which Samuel was not prepared for. Albert Bigelow Paine,
Clemens official biographer, offers the following glimpse of the young Clemens
"The boy Sam was fairly broken down. Remorse, which always
dealt with him unsparingly, laid a heavy hand on him now. Wildness,
disobedience, indifference to his fathers wishes, all were remembered; a
hundred things, in themselves trifling, became ghastly and heart-wringing
in the knowledge that could never be undone. Seeing his grief, his mother
took him by the hand and led him into where his father lay."
"It's all right, Sammy," she said. "What's done is done, and it
does not matter to him anymore; but here by the side of him now I want
you to promise to me-"
He turned, his eyes streaming with tears, and flung himself into
"I will promise anything ," he sobbed, "if you won't make me go
to school! Anything!
His mother held him for a moment, thinking, then she said:
"No, Sammy; you need not go to school anymore. Only promise
to be a better boy. Promise not to break my heart."
After his fathers death, Clemens got a hold of two Hannibal printers, and
in 1851 began setting type and contributing articles to his brothers newspaper,
The Hannibal Journal. After leaving his first job he took his printers and
became a journeyman printer in Keokuk, Iowa, New York City, Philadelphia, and
other cities, and then a steamboat pilot until the break out of the American
Civil War which brought end to traveling on the river. After a failed attempt at
silver mining in 1862 he became a reporter on the Territorial Enterprise in
Virginia City, Nevada, and later in 1863 began signing his articles with the
pseudonym "Mark Twain," a Mississippi River phrase meaning two fathoms deep.
After the move to San Francisco in 1864, Twain met the writers Artmeus Ward and
Bret Harte, who encouraged him on his work. In 1865 Twain rewrote a tail he
heard in the California gold fields and within months the author and the story,
"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," had become a national
In later years Twain visited Europe and the Holy Lands...