Mark Twain

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Mark Twain It is indisputable that, during his many years of writing, Mark Twain established himself as a literary genius. It is also indisputable that the primary reason for his success as an author was his quick wit and sense of humor. During this nation’s time of political and social division, Twain wrote about many of the simpler things in life while always showing his humorist side. His brilliant comedic mind was especially unusual for any popular writer around during this rough time period in the nation’s history. Mark Twain’s humorist views and writings truly solidify him as the forefather of American humor. Unlike many writers of his time, Samuel Clemens, better known as his pen name, Mark Twain never secluded himself or slaved over a piece of work. He enjoyed playing billiards or sitting on his porch, smoking a pipe. He lived with his wife and three daughters, and did most of writing in his billiards room or on his bed. He lived a simple, casual life, which proved to encourage his laidback, humorist attitude. (Whipple, Sally) William Dean Howells once compared Twain’s lifestyle to the other famous writers of his time. “Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes… they were like one another and like other literary men; but Clemens was sole, incomparable.” (Twainweb) This being perhaps the best explanation for Twain’s unique humorist views, it is no doubt this lifestyle provided for his creative storytelling and successful career as an author. Mark Twain, a native of Missouri who lived most his childhood in poverty, began his career, surprisingly, as a steamboat pilot. This career path was soon to be interrupted by the Civil War, in which he served for the Confederate Army for two weeks before withdrawing. Already at this point in his life, Twain was showing his humorist side when he commented on this incident saying, “…it was my retirement from it that brought the crash. It left the Confederate side too weak.” (Ayers, 42) After the Civil War, Twain began his career as a journalist. He bounced from one city to another, including a stay at Virginia City, Nevada and San Francisco. While in San Francisco, Twain wrote The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, his first nationally acclaimed work. This tale of young boys and frog races combined the themes of youth and humor, a combination he would revisit frequently. (Budd, 32) Finally, in 1869, Twain’s f... ... middle of paper ... ...k Twain in His Times) Jones 6 Unfortunately, this was Twain’s last popular, humorous story. He would leave Hartford due to debts he owed and live a hard life for the rest of his years. Before he died, Twain would see two of three daughters and his wife pass away before him. He spent the rest of his days trying to repay his dept and mourning over his lost family members, whom he was very close too. He died on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Conn. During his lifetime, Mark Twain went from a child of poverty to one of the most famous and unique writers of his time to a legendary American hero. Due to classics such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he has established himself as not only a famous writer but also a famous comedian. There was no comedy before Mark Twain, most men were obsessed with politics and the military. After Twain, comedy exploded. Charlie Chaplin is one man who is not only a famous comedic pioneer, but also a supporter of Twain. His career shows the influence of Mark Twain in many areas, often including his characters. Mark Twain’s stories truly solidify him as a legendary author, yet his humor was the unique quality which put him above the rest. Word Count: 1536

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