He was a humorist, a rebel and a dreamer. He became the George Washington of American Literature. His name was Mark Twain and he was America’s most famous literary icon, publishing 28 pieces. He was born on Nov. 30, 1835 as Samuel L. Clemens in the little town of Florida, Mo. He was the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens (Quirk). As a young child Clemens had poor health and stayed inside most of the time, causing all sorts of mischief. Spending most of his time with his mother he caught her sense of humor. Later in his life Clemens asked his mother about his poor health then saying:
“I suppose that during that whole time you were uneasy about me?” “Yes, the whole time,” she answered. “Afraid I wouldn’t live?” “No,” she said, “afraid you would.” (Quirk) His mother’s sense of humor later reflected in his writing.
At the age of four, in 1839, Samuel and the rest of his family moved a few miles east to the town of Hannibal (Biography.com). A bustling port city situated along the banks of the Mississippi river. Growing up in Hannibal, Clemens witnessed a local man shoot a cattle rancher, and a slave die as his master hit him. Exposed to the inhumanity of slavery, realizing that it was not acceptable lead him to later go out against it in his writing. Twain’s major novel “Huckleberry Finn” is illustrated on his personal experiences. The story is based at the time of slavery, when blacks were considered of lower rank. Through out the book, Twain arguably targets racism. Though not directly but through the use of mockery. In his book, Twain demonstrated that black and whites are equal by making Jim one of his main character. Through this character, he portrayed his fondness and appreciation for African Americans. Huck…
… his work‚ we can dive into the past and piece together various events of his era and the responses to them”(Welcome to the Mark Twain House & Museum). Eager to speak his mind Mark Twain embodied the best and worst of America.Works Cited
“A Life Lived in a Rapidly Changing World: Samuel L. Clemens‚ 1835-1910.” Welcome to the Mark Twain House & Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
“Hannibal.net | The Hannibal Courier-Post.” Hannibal.net | The Hannibal Courier-Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2014.
“Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer’s Adventures Alive in Hannibal.” Chicago Tribune. N.p., 17 Jan. 2010. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
“Samuel Langhorne Clemens.” 2014. The Biography.com website. Apr 21 2014
Quirk, Thomas V. “Mark Twain.” History.com. A Television Networks, n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
“Welcome to Hannibal, Missouri.” Hannibal , Missouri. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.