The Use of Humor in the Writings of Mark Twain

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What is humor? With humor we think of something that is obvious, something that sticks out to us in a book or in a paper that makes us laugh. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, included numerous occasions of humor throughout his writings, though Mark Twain makes his humor very dry and sometimes hard to tell that it is even there. Mark Twain, unlike most authors, includes humor in his writings without it being blatantly obvious.

In a small excerpt from an essay by Naomi Hori on humor in one of Twain’s writings, she writes, “Let me clarify the features of Twain’s laughter. His way of evoking laughter is apparently by writing a book; there is no interaction between Twain and his readers. There is a time lag till readers laugh about Twain’s humor, and he cannot be influenced by an audience.” (148). These points are definitely very true with Twain’s writing, and more accurately with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where most of his subtle humor is not always picked up right off the bat by the reader, it takes time to register why it’s funny and what it is making fun of. Most of his writings were done not in front of an audience but from his own bed, where he wrote what he was thinking, and it became some of the most well known literary works in American history.

Mark Twain was a very forward thinking person for his time. He went against most of the people’s ideals of the time. Twain would use his humor to cover up people’s anger over certain issues that were affecting them.

But probably the most striking thing about Twain – and a measure of his genius – was his ability to write humorously about issues that made him seethe with anger. Twain believed that laughter was the “one really effective weapon” people possesse...

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... American history, and forever will be. Twain’s way of including humor without it being blatantly obvious, will surely ensure his place as the great American humorist.

Works Cited

Hori, Naomi. "An Analysis of Mark Twain's Humor in His The Innocents Abroad." Web. 25 Mar. 2012. .

"Mark Twain Quotations - Religion." Mark Twain Quotations. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. .

Twain, Mark. "Autobiography of Mark Twain:." Google Books. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. .

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Bantam, 1981. Print.

Twain, Mark. "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." 301 Moved Permanently. Ed. Angel Price. Web. 24 Mar. 2012. .

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