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Literary Analysis of Mark Twain

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Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Clemens, is a very well known author in American literature. He was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, and literary critic. This renaissance man was born in Florida, Missouri on November 30th, 1835. However, he grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. He was the sixth child out of eleven. During his childhood, he was very sick and often confined to his bed. He was under the care of this mother, Jane. No one expected him to live (Powers, 39). Samuel's father, John M. Clemens, was a judge. He died when Samuel was twelve years old, leaving Samuel no other choice but to end his studies and search for a job. He began working for local newspapers as a typesetter. Eventually he worked for his older brother, Orion Clemens, who owned several newspapers. He married a wealthy woman named Olivia Langdon in 1870, and they had three daughters. Mark Twain became one of the most admired figures of his time and continued to earn honors until his death in 1910 (Magill, 2361). He died in Redding, Connecticut on April 21st.

Mark Twain had many different styles as well as themes in his writings. He sometimes wrote in a humorous style with irony. He used a certain dialect in his novels which potrayed racism and black stereotypes of his time period, which was during the civil war. This literary time period was called realism. Mark Twain's tragedies and disappointments in his life also greatly effected the style of his work as well as his themes. One theme he used was indirect satire, a type of satire in which the author exposes a character's shortcomings through their words and actions("Mark Twain" Online). He also used romance, race, and a "genteel culture". Mark Twain married a wealthy woman named Olivia. Because of this, he felt pressured and thought that he did not measure up. He wrote about this in The Prince and the Pauper.

Many personal situations in his life have influenced him in his works. His marriage with Olivia, his society (racism and slavery), and his failures are a few to name. As a pilot, Mark Twain encountered a lot of story telling that he later used in his work. His traveling along the Mississippi river also greatly influenced him. It enabled him to write creatively. He lived during the time when the United States was expanding westward, when industrialization was on the rise, and when the civil war was taking place. As a result he wrote about political corruption



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