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life on the mississippi
‘Life on the Mississippi’, by Mark Twain, is a signet classic. It is a romantic history of the great Mississippi River and autobiography of Mark Twain’s early days as a steamboat man. It has many interesting stories about nights on the watch and brawls between the men aboard. This is Twain’s own experience on learning to navigate the mighty Mississippi.
Mark Twain is one of America’s greatest writers of all time. His real name was being Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He introduced us to the stories of ‘The adventure’s of Tom Sawyer’, ‘The Prince and the Pauper’, and Mark Twain’s finest novel ‘Huckleberry Finn’.
‘Life on the Mississippi’ is 383 pages long. It has about forty lines on each page and nine to eleven words on each line. The book has a lot of southern dialect, which makes you feel the mood of the story, but is also harder to read. This book is much like Twain’s later books in which it is intended for the more adventurous types so that you can follow the every move of young Sam. In my personal opinion, a trip down the Mississippi on a steamboat is quite boring and not adventurous.
‘Life on the Mississippi’ is much like ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’. Critics rank this book in the twain canon with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
This book has been made in to a movie. It was PBS-TV presentation of ‘Life on
The Mississippi’. I do not know if the movie is better or if the movie corresponds with the book. I have not seen the movie.
This book is unusual in the way that it is setup. It starts off talking about Sam’s childhood and then goes to his adult years all in one chapter. The change over is not consistent. There is a time lapse there.
Mark Twain’s purpose for writing this book was to tell about years of being a steamboat man on the mighty Mississippi. He tells all he can remember from his loves to his enemies.
There are many characters in this. First there is young Sam. Sam is a young Mark Twain. Sam pays 500 dollars so he can ride along on a boat to learn the Mississippi so that he can one day become a steamboat pilot. Horace Bixby is the steamboat captain who took the cub Sam. Uncle Mumford is Sam’s uncle who is a mate on a lot of boats, he was also at West Point for four years. Tom is also a young cub like Sam. He is also one of Sam’s better friends on the ship. Mr. Drown is an old businessman that gets himself into a lot of trouble on the ship. Finally there is Mr. Pellicrew. He is a riverboat passenger that is caught bringing life jacket on the boat because of his fear of drowning.
A quote that I found meaningful is “Well, I can follow the front hall in the dark if I know it is the front of the hall; but suppose you set me down in the middle of it in the dark and not tell me which hall it is; how am I to know?” I think that Sam showed Mr. Bixby up on this little fight. Mr. Bixby knew he was wrong, but still got his last word in by saying, “Well, you’ve got to, on the river!” Another quote that stood out to me was in chapter one. “The world and the books are so accustomed to use, and over-use, the word
‘new’ in connection with our country, that we early get and permanently retain the impression that there is nothing old about it.” I think this mean that people are changing with the times and that the are excepting as well.
This book is a non-fiction book that is not up to dates because like Twain said in the book the river is always changing. He was right about that. The book does have photographs, which were taken during the PBS-TV movie “Life on the Mississippi,” in the middle of the book.
The only way that I would recommend this book to a friend was if he liked the river and stories about the river. My worst enemy though I would because I think it is a boring book
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Mississippi River, Picaresque novels, Mark Twain, Redding, Connecticut, Sagebrush School, Horace Ezra Bixby, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain: The Musical, Mark Twain in popular culture
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