When Clemens Gives you Lemons: On Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

When Clemens Gives you Lemons: On Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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“Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint” (Lederer 472). This direct quote from Twain himself highlights an important aspect of his character: his ability to incorporate humor into his own life. He was a prominent leader of the regional realism movement, which came about due to new technologies, postwar racial tensions, and a newfound commitment to realistic representation. Regional realism maintained popularity throughout the years of 1865-1900. Examples of this movement can be seen in many of Twain’s works, such as “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This regional realism is illustrated by the accurate representation of dialect, especially prevalent in both of these works (American Passages). Twain joins Bret Harte and Kate Chopin as authors in the regional realism movement.(Campbell). Twain’s childhood experiences, his traveling experiences as an adult, and his own thoughts and feelings greatly influenced the writings of America’s great humorist.
Twain’s experiences greatly affected his writing. One of the most pivotal events in Twain’s life was the Civil War. The Civil War proved critical in his life because it drew a fine line between Twain’s childhood and adulthood, even though his volunteer troop never went into battle and disbanded after two weeks (Ramussen). After the Civil War, he traveled west and dwelt in areas around Nevada and California. Specifically, he spent a few months in the mining district of Calaveras County before settling in San Francisco (Mark Twain: Chronology). This period in his life was imperative as Twain used his experiences traveling in writing his first successful short story, “The Notorious Jumping Frog of ...


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...nenburg Foundation, 2014. Web. 08 May 2014

Campbell, Donna M. “Regionalism and Local Color Fiction, 1865-1895. Literary Movements. Dept of English, Washington State University. 07/20/2013. 5/12/14.

Kazin, Alfred. “Huck Finn Forced Mark Twain to Become a Master Novelist”. Readings on the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Koster, Katie de, Leone, Stalcup. San Diego: Greenhaven.

Lederer, Richard. “Mark Twain and the American Language”. Prentice Hall Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. p. 472.

Ramussen, Kurt R. Mark Twain: A to Z. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Smith, Henry Nash. Mark Twain: A Collection of Critical Essays. Smith, Henry Nash. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1963. p. 10.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.

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