Biography of Mark Twain
Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835 under the name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens as “the sixth living child of John and Jane Clemens” in the town of Florida, Monroe County, Missouri (Cox 7). While there his father operated a general store and tried fruitlessly to create an invention to bring him riches. Therefore, before long, the store failed and John Clemens moved the family to Hannibal, Missouri which Mark Twain would make famous. Little Sam, as he was called in his younger years, was never particularly close to him family with the exception of his mother who he greatly admired and looked up to. At this time Twain five siblings, his three brothers “Orion, Benjamin, and Henry, and his [two] sisters, Pamela and Mary” (Cox 9).
A prevalent influence in his young life was slavery as his father either “owned or rented slaves” whenever the money was available (Cox 9). He felt great sympathy for the slaves and had difficulty sleeping one night while he listened “to the groans of a captured runaway slave tied up in a nearby shack (Cox 13). Despite his strong feelings and later condemnation of slavery, when twain was young he was unaware that there was any issue with slavery as no one spoke of it as anything but right, holy, and proper. As he grew older he was still left uneducated to the immorality of slavery, yet he also knew even without foreknowledge that it was wrong. The influences slavery had on him were later very clearly expressed in one of his most popular novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Twain’s young life was rather straightforward. His only formal education was a private school in Hannibal, which he grew great contempt for rather quickly. Then he spent his summers on his uncle’s farm, where he developed a kinship with many slaves and even met a slave named Daniel, who inspired many of the traits of “the escaping slave, Jim, in Huckleberry Finn” (Cox 15). He was always a trouble maker and never wanted to listen to authority. He would also do anything to avoid going to school to the point of even “climbing into bed with an infected friend” to contract the measles, which nearly killed him (Cox 14). However, soon John Clemens, in an effort to support his family’s needs, ran for the clerkship of the Surrogate Court. He managed to win the election, but he grew gravely ill and “within days, he was dead of pneumonia” (Cox 22). Before long, without the support of John, the Clemens’s became incapable of supporting Twain and he agreed to work under Joseph Ament, who ran the Hannibal Courier. This marked the end of his childhood and the beginning of his journey to fame and fortune.
He worked under Ament for a while and learned the trade of printing. But more importantly, while there he read a loose page that “opened him up to the whole world of literature …” marking the start of his love and devotion to writing (Cox 25). Soon after, Twain left to work under his eldest brother Orion, who was the owner of the...