The Importance of Mark Twain in American Literature
Mark Twain is important to American literature because of his novels and how they portray the American experience. Some of his best selling novels were Innocents Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. In these books, Mark Twain recalls his own adventures of steamboating on the Mississippi River.Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in a small village of Florida, Missouri. His parent’s names were John Marshall Clemens and Jan Lampton Clemens, descendants of slaves in Virginia. They had been married in Kentucky and move to Tennessee and then Missouri. When Sam was four, his father, who was full of the grandiose ideas of making a fortune, moved the family to Hannibal, Missouri. Here, the mighty Mississippi River with its mile side wide was the home of little Samuel Clemens. There on the West Bank of the river, Sam spent his boyhood with moving steamboats and making stops (Encyclopedia Americana 921A). Growing up aside a mile-wide surfaced Mississippi River was the same as Tom Sawyer did. Young Samuel must have watched, as any boy might, admire the strength of this river and the surrounding frontier. He seen men killed in waterfront brawls and Negroes that were chained like animals transported up and down the river for slavery in the south. “Sometimes he would have nightmares by walking in his sleep because of the ride ways and the terror (American Authors, 193).By the time he was 18, Sam had served an apprentices as a printer on his brother’s Orion’s paper and had tried his hand at writing juvenile sarcasm. He even had one humorous sketch, The Dandy Frightening the Squatter, published in B. …
…er towns where they stop. “Twain uses the irony of Huck’s innocent view of life to criticize the barbarity of sivilization.”In conclusion, Mark Twain has left us with an unbelievable legacy. He still
remains as one of the greatest writers of all time. It is his childhood stories that will
follow and set a roadmap for all new writers for the generations to come.
American Writers, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons 1974
Hart, James D., The Oxford Companion to American Literature. New York, OxfordUniversity Press 1965.
Meltzer, Milton. Mark Twain A Writer’s Life Library of Congress Cataloging inPublication Data, New York 1985.
The Volume Library 2, Nashville: The Southwestern Company, 1989
“Twain, Mark” Encyclopedia Americana. Connecticut: Grolier Incorporated, 1988 ed.