Mark Twain was a catalyst for the American education reform movement and the social changes that it brought. By writing in a style that the common man could relate to, he opened a nations eyes to problems, within the nation, that may have gone undetected.
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, which was two months sooner than expected. At this time Missouri was a slave holding state. However, Twain's father, a local storeowner, was against slavery in all forms and instilled this belief in his son at a young age. Twain 's hometown was small. He describe it as having two main roads only 100 yards long with a population of no more than 50 people. In fact so small that with a good tail wind you could spit from one end to the other (www.asahi-net.or.jp/~XA3K-soy/mt/mtpage.htm). As a young boy he dreamed of a life in a better place, filled with adventure. This was the life he led. He was taught to write as a child by his mother. Finding that he enjoyed it, he decided to make it his career.
Twain wrote in a conversational style that made his stories appealing to the common man as well as to educated people. His topics ranged from slavery, to antidotes about his travels. He lived out his dreams of adventure by visiting places like Bermuda, California, and many other exotic locations across the globe. Although Twain seemed to find fame in almost anything he wrote possibly his most famous and controversial of stories was The Adventures of Huck Finn. This was an anti-slavery novel written during the period of reconstruction in the south when slavery was a very sensitive topic in the United States. Anti-slavery views were not welcomed in the south at this time.
The story of Huck Finn takes place in the Deep Southk, along the banks of the Mississippi River. Huck, a young white boy, befriends a black boy of the same age. Not old enough to understand why Huck's parents disapprove of the relationship, the boys decide to run away to freedom. The two construct a raft out of wood and sail off to freedom. Along their journey, the boys have many adventures and realize that they are already free, and there is no need to run from home.
This story and many others were Twain's way of relating his ideas on slavery to the common man and children. By writing in a conversational style ...
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... Now that people of all economic groups were becoming more educated and more importantly literate, society changed. The first great, American, woman authors began to write. Lousia May Alcott wrote Little Women. This was a story attempting to give a realistic and sentimental view on life. This story was, like the works of Twain, relating everyday experiences and romanticizing mundane daily life, making her stories popular to the common person and most importantly, the children of the time.
Both of these stories served as mile markers in the history of children's literature, and marked turning points in our Society. For the first time, children were allowed to think freely, and learn. They independently formed their own thoughts on life, God, and many of the other highly regulated aspects of their society. Until this time most of the children were taught to think as their parents or feel the wrath of vengeful and often cruel God.
The road to the utopian society that the transcendentalists wished to achieve is a hard one that our nation is still traveling on. But thanks to their efforts many changes have come along that make this country a great place to live.
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