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The Autobiographical Nature of The Mesmerizer, by Mark Twain Essay

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In the article “The Mesmerizer,” by Mark Twain in his autobiography, Twain tells us a story when he was a teenager. In 1850, there was an exciting event taking place in the village Hannibal. A mesmerizer named Simmons came to town to advertise his show. Simmons has a subject in his show named Hicks. Fifteen year old Twain participates in this show that Simmons promised marvels to his audience, the townspeople. Twain usurps Hicks’s place stealing the spotlight with a lie. Although Twain became the show, the temporary fame that Twain receives is lost years later and continues to bite him back even after many years. Just as Twain is to blame for being carried away with his own fame that was built on a lie, those who were at the show are to blame for helping Twain. Everyone is to blame.
To begin with, Twain is to blame. His self-image along with jealousy, forced him to establish that he was better than Hicks. On the fourth night of the mesmerizer’s show, he was tempted to replace Hicks. He pretended to be sleepy and easily enough, he became subject. As soon as Twain successfully terminated Hicks as a subject in the show by proving that he was better in all realms, he was extremely proud. “Success to Crime!” (2) He says. Twain is proud of doing wrong and continues the show as subject. Eventually, he became a hero on the platform. Since he establishes himself as a hero on the stage as a teenager, he can no longer undo his injustice thirty-five years later and put himself in an immobile position.
The mesmerizer, Simmons, is at fault too. Simmons is not actually a hypnotist or magician. He’s a fraud! He’s a fraud because he goes from town to town advertising his show making money off of conning people instead of actuall...


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...re good get carried away and commit immoral acts.
Twain’s attitude changes from the first half of the story to the last half since it is many years later. But, years later, when he thinks about how much pride he had in his successful crime, he cannot relieve himself of guilt. In fact, he can’t even convince his own mother that he lied. “How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!” (6). He built his heroism on a lie and now that he tries to tell the truth to his mother, she won’t believe that he lied. After all, they say that people believe what they want to believe, even in the face of truth. Twain, as a teenager, participated in Simmons’s show for the attention, and thirty-five years later his guilty conscience continues to haunt him. But, it wasn’t only his wrongdoing, the townspeople and Simmons are all to blame.



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