“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” This is a quotation from Mark Twain. To appreciate Mark Twain, one must study his life, his literature and his legacy.
What if someone said that Mark Twain was not really Mark Twain? They would be correct, believe it or not. Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens born on November 30, 1835 (marktwainhouse.org). “Samuel Clemens was born in a two-room rented shack some thirty-five miles southeast of Hannibal in Florida, Missouri. He was the fourth son and the sixth of seven children born to John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens” (Ward 3). “Samuel was his paternal grandfather’s name, Langhorne the family name of old friends of his fathers- but in his early years because of his size and fragility, everyone called him “Little Sammy” (Ward 3). “One infant son had died before Sam’s birth- only four of the children would survive to adulthood- and Sam, born 2 months premature was so thin and sickly, his mother remembered, “I could see no promise in him!” “(Ward 3). Mark Twain remembered that he never saw his father laugh. “My father and I were always on the most distant terms when I was a boy- a sort of armed neutrality, so to speak” (Mark Twain). Mark’s father died when Mark was eleven years old. “My mother was very much alive, fond of excitement, fond of novelties, fond of anything going that was sort of proper for members of the church to indulge in…always ready for Fourth of July processions, Sunday school processions, lectures, conventions, camp-meetings, revivals in the church…and never missed a funeral” (Mark Twain). “She loved dancing and music, too, …
Lauber, John. The Making of Mark Twain: A Biography. New York: American Heritage, 1985. Print.
“Mark Twain Biography.” Bio.com. A Networks Television, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. .
“The Official Web Site of Mark Twain.” The Official Web Site of Mark Twain. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. .
Twain, Mark, and Charles Neider. The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Including Chapters Now Published for the First Time. New York: HarperPerennial, 1990. Print.
Ward, Geoffrey C., Ken Burns, and Dayton Duncan. Mark Twain An Illustrated Biography. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2001. Print.
Wolff, Geoffrey. “Voice of America.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Oct. 2005. Web. 18 Mar. 2014. .