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Why Jim Blaine Essay

882 words - 4 pages

Twain uses Jim Blaine, in the story of the Old Ram, as a tool to elevate the social status of the common man. This is accomplished by using Jim as expert story teller, making Jim a worthy literary subject, and making him a hero with an audience.The Story of the Old Ram starts out, "I don't reckon those times will ever come again. There was never a more bullier ram than he was"¦(Twain)" Then the story begins to ramble. It jumps between random characters and events with no obvious connection. On first read, the story is extremely confusing. One gets the feeling that they are missing the point, but that seems to be Twain's exact point. The content of this story is meaningless, and actually unnecessary. The old ram is never mentioned past the first few lines, even though the reader is led to believe the story will center on it. Twain takes the readers focus off the actual story, and puts it on the storyteller. Jim Blaine becomes the focus and necessary character of this story. After the story rambles for about two pages it ends with, ""¦on it and put-put on-put on it-sacred to-the m-e-m-o-r-y-of fourteen y-a-r-d-s-of three-ply-car---pet-containing all that was-m-o-r-t-a-l-of-of-W-I-l-l-i-a-m-W-h-e-.(Twain)" It becomes obvious that Jim's way of telling the story is what matters. Twain uses Jim as narrator to make a point. He is a common, poor, uneducated man- but no other man alive could tell this story like he can. As Twain himself puts it, "for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years(How to tell a Story, Twain)." Twain elevates the social status of the common man by using him as an expert storyteller.Jim not only is a unique character with a story, but he is worthy to be put in print. In the past, literary stories focused on the rich upper class and idealized themes. Twain elevates the social status of the common man by making him a worthy literary subject. In the Story of the Old Ram, we become acquainted with Jim Blaine. He is described more than anything else in the story. ""¦he was sitting upon an empty powder-keg, with a clay pipe in one hand"¦his hair was tumbled; in general appearance and costume he was a stalwart miner of the period.(Twain)" He sat on an empty powder-keg, not a throne or even a chair. Jim smoke a clay pipe, not a silver-tipped cigarette or cigar. He even had messy hair. Jim was a miner, not an aristocrat or scholar. Jim was the most common of men, and Twain...

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