Nickel EllisProfessor:WarmbrandEnglish 102-00819 December 2017 In addition to Mark Twain, a 19 thCentury writer, is credited with being the father of American literature, writing masterpieces relating to the American culture as perceived through his eyes. Defined by many different occurrences in his life, Twain managed to write numerous influential pieces that are still being used today.Although there is Two pieces that broaden the view into Twain’s personal life are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; based on his childhood friend Tom Blankenship, and “A Fable”: a short story about imagination and perceptions of art. Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the family moved to Hannibal, Missouri after tragedy struck in the form of death. Many of Twain’s influences include a trip to Europe as seen in his personal account, The Innocents Abroad, and moving to New York with his wife where he worked as a editor and writer for the Buffalo Express.
From being influenced to influencing is a very powerful step in one’s life. His famous writings, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have been adapted many times into movies. The masterful painter of words is renowned for being extremely controversial and his piece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a timeless piece that is a keystone piece in American literature and is a required read in almost 70% of public schools across America. Furthermore, When asked to describe Mark Twain, many people always mention the white hair, the white suit, and the cigar,but, who is he? Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, in the small town of Florida, Missouri, Mark Twain was the sixth of seven children. In 1839, Twain and his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a small town on the Mississippi River.
(The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) A slave state,Missouri life was the prime influence and served as the perfect model for his greatest works. Due to medical complications during his birth as well as after, his mother was overprotective of him. After his father’s death,accumulated debt forced Twain to leave school and become a printer’s apprentice at the Missouri Courier. After being an apprentice, he worked with his brother Orion at the Hannibal Journal (Albert Bigelow Paine). At the age of 18, he moved to New York City where-he worked for newspapers writing some successful articles (The Mark Twain House and Museum).
After seeing a picture of Charles Langdon’s sister, Olivia, Twain began to court her. Courtship led to marriage. After marrying Olivia Langdon, the couple moved many times before settling down in Buffalo, New York, where Twain worked as a editor and writer for the Buffalo Express. After that, the couple moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he wrote some of his best work. After that, Twain and his family traveled abroad in Europe. Twain’s writing was a reflection of everything that was happening around him.After Twain’s mother passed away, his books and stories became dramatically pessimistic.
He wrote “Pudd’nhead Wilson”, “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc”, “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg”, and “The War Prayer”(The Mark Twain House). These stories gave birth to the shaping of American literature with use of humor,sarcasm, and drama. He accurately paints a picture of how the Southern American life was by using vivid characters.By using personal experiences to mold fictitious ones,Twain became the master puppeteer of his day.
One of the most obvious influences was his childhood home of Hannibal. This suddenly changed with the arrival of the riverboat. “The gamblers,stevedores, and pilots, the boisterous rafts-men and elegant travelers, all bound for somewhere surely glamorous and exciting, would have impressed a young boy and stimulated his already active imagination”.
Twain set aside The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for a while, but, after taking a trip down the Mississippi River, Twain finished the piece. Versions of his experiences in Hannibal and in the west appear in many of his books. The poetry of Robert Browning served as a very important influence.
Twain read Browning’s poetry aloud, claiming “I can read Browning so Browning himself can understand it”. Living in a slave state located on the Mississippi River had a great influence on his writings. This is the case in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as Twain introduces the character, Jim.One of Twain’s most popular works is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a story of a young boy, Huck, who goes out in search of freedom and adventure. Along the way he meets Jim, Miss Watson’s slave, and together they go off in search of better lives.
In his autobiography, Twain-admits that Huck was based on his childhood friend, Tom Blankenship. ” In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant,unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person–boy or man–in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us. And as his society was forbidden us by our parents the prohibition trebled and quadrupled its value, and therefore we sought and got more of his society than any other boy’s”.One of the biggest possible controversies at the time that this book came out was that Twain used the word “nigger” to talk about Jim.
Many people want to ban the book from schools across the country because of Twain’s portrayal of Jim. People argue that this book should be banned because Twain wrote out sounds instead of words,and his use of dialect for Jim makes Jim look like a stupid character. As Twain’s writing was a product of his environment, he wrote about things he saw. In conclusion, As the father of American Literature, Twain wrote many things that defined our culture as a whole and spawned an entire era of a comedic revolution.
Without him , we would not have shows like Saturday Night Live,Mad TV, etc. He was molded by many of the occurrences in his life and molded many of the events in our lives. As history took its place, Twain became known as the author who loved to poke fun at the American culture. I thought this would be a simple assignment to research a random person and write a paper, but, I have come to understand the importance of Mark Twain in America’s history.
As an American writer, Twain entered uncharted waters. In time when our country was fighting against itself, Twain was able to put a mirror in our faces and force us to take a hard look at ourselves.Cite”Everything Mark Twain.
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” Biography.com. 07 Apr. 2009 .Paine, Albert B. “Mark Twain, A Biography by Albert Bigelow Paine: Part I The Refuge Of The Hills.
” About Albert Bigelow Paine. 07 Apr. 2009