Mark Twain 4 Essay

This essay has a total of 1511 words and 6 pages.

Mark Twain 4


Mark Twain was a pilot, a comic lecturer, a humorist, a short story writer, and a
novelist, to name a few of his many accomplishments. On November 30, 1835, Samuel
Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, became the first man of any importance
ever to be born west of the Mississippi River. He has become an icon as the American
writer. This is because his way of writing cannot be simulated by Europeans or anyone
else, due to the fact that the western setting of America creates a whole new atmosphere
and style of writing. Mark Twain is a classic American writer that acquired fame by using
satire, writing with single-minded use of words, and by writing the way that most people
think and speak.

Twain writes with single-minded use of words, which is understood to be plain and simple,
yet still intelligent, which enhances American literature. He writes what comes into his
mind without fear. This is an example from Huckleberry Finn: ... "then comes a h-wack!
bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum - and the thunder would go rumbling and
grumbling away" ... (Twain 45). This enriches American literature, because it is a clever
way, and the only way to make the reader actually seem to hear and feel the sounds the
writer is trying to convey.

This is an example from Tom Sawyer :
"Set her back on the stabboard! Ting-a-ling-ling! chow! ch-chow-wow! chow!".
(Twain 15). This dialect can be explained as a familiar speech spoken around us all the
time. It is the speech of the illiterate, the preliterate, the children, and the poor
people (Bloom 46). This is actually a very intelligent style of writing, for it is
difficult for an author to write in a different level of dialect than they actually speak.
The reader can tell that this dialect isn't Twain's own, since he doesn't write with it in
every part of the book. Huckleberry Finn is supposed to be written from Huck's point of
view. The story is written as he would speak it, so mistakes inevitably appear. However,
this single- minded dialect was worked, composed, and written by Twain. It was not done
haphazardly (Bloom 46). American literature would not be the same if not for Twain's ideas
for ways of writing in a way that spectacularly conveys the feelings of touch, sound, and
sight by the use of single-minded words.

Another way that Mark Twain enriches the heritage of American literature is by his style
of writing in the vernacular, which means to write the way that people think and speak
(Kesterson 14). The vernacular portrays the word in the purest sense of its original
meaning. The vernacular symbolizes American writing because nobody else on earth would
talk in that way besides the early American settlers. An example from Huckleberry Finn is
: " I reck'n I could eat a hoss. I think I could. How long you ben on de islan' ?" (Twain
46). This style is done by writing without worrying about spelling or context, and rather
just writing the way that the speech sounds. This style of writing is uniquely American,
because the famous European authors did not write that way since the people of Europe
didn't speak that way. Another example from this book is: " Say, who is you? Whar is you?
Dog my cats ef I didn't hear sumf'n." (Twain 5). Europeans had never spoken like this or
heard of it before Mark Twain. The vernacular enhances American writing solely because it
is uniquely early American. It also gives a face to American writing, distinguishing it
from writing in other parts of the world.

The vernacular also shows the rural, uneducated portion of America. These are two examples
from Tom Sawyer : " Can't, Mars Tom. Ole missis, she tole me I got to go an' git dis water
an' not stop foolin' roun' wid anybody. She say she spec' Mars Tom gwine to ax me to
whitewash, an' so she tole me to go 'long an' 'tend to my own business - she 'lowed she'd
tend to de whitewashin'" (Twain 13). Another example is: " Look at him, Jim! He's a-going
up there. Say-look! He's a-going to shake hands with him..."(Twain 38). This shows how
they are uneducated, because of the sloppy sentence structure, and it hints at the fact of
them being rural by mentioning whitewashing the fence. This enriches American literature
by showing a point of view from the poor, which is welcome to those who are tired of
hearing about the glamour of rich people.

Mark Twain's legacy as a humorist is to use satire, which greatly enhances American
literature. Satire is a term for a work that uses ridicule to attack ideas, institutions,
people, or other objects taken from real life. The main purpose for using satire is to
arouse disdain for its targets (Rasmussen 418). It belittles human weaknesses, using humor
as its weapon (Rasmussen 418). Twain doesn't try to mislead the readers intentionally, for
he believes that all humans already misunderstand themselves (Kesterson 27).
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