Mark Twain Essay, Research Paper
Mark Twain’s works are some of the best I’ve ever read. I love the way he
brings you into the story, especially with the dialogue used, like in Tom
Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain is my favorite dead author.
Mark Twain was never “Mark Twain” at all. That was only his pen name. His
real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Samuel was born in Florida, Missouri in
1835. He accomplished worldwide fame during his lifetime for being a great
author, lecturer, satirist, and humorist. Since his death on April 21, 1910,
his great literary reputation has further increased. Many writers such as Ernest
Hemingway and William Faulkner have declared his work-especially Huckleberry
Finn- a major influence on 20th-century American fiction.
Twain was raised in Hannibal, Missouri, a town on the Mississippi river.
After the death of his father in 1847, Twain joined his brother Orion’s
newspaper, the Hannibal Journal. During this time he became accustomed with
much of the frontier humor of the time.
From 1853 to 1857, Twain worked in many cities as a printer, and wrote
articles for his brother’s newspapers under various nicknames. After a visit
to New Orleans, he learned how to pilot a steamboat. That became his job until
the Civil War closed the Mississippi River, and
it set him up for “Old Times on the Mississippi” and “Life on the Mississippi.”
In 1861, Twain traveled to Carson City, Nevada, with his brother Orion.
After attempts for silver and gold mining had failed, he continued to write for
newspapers. It was in 1863 when Samuel Clemens adopted the name “Mark Twain”, a
riverman’s term for “two fathoms” deep.
In 1884 Twain went to San Francisco and reached national fame with his
story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” He then took a trip
to Hawaii which started him on a very successful career as a public speaker.
His trips to the Mediterranean and the Holy Land were recorded in letters to a
San Francisco newspaper, and later formed into The Innocents Abroad, which was
popular all over the world.
In 1870 Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon. He then abandoned journalism to
focus on serious literature. From 1870-1875, Twain produced many novels,
including the famous tale, Tom Sawyer.
A European vacation in 1878-1879, inspired novels like The Prince and the
Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Meanwhile, he
established his own firm, Charles L. Webster and Co., and after that, completed
his masterpiece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in 1884.
In 1891, Twain was forced to move to Europe because of financial problems.
In 1894, because of the failure of his firm and other reasons, he had to declare
bankruptcy. During this time he produced many works, but they were not some of
his best. To help his situation, he commenced a world lecture tour.
Even though his financial situation rapidly improved, much stress and
sorrow came to Twain following the death of first his daughter, in 1896, then
his wife in 1904. His writings in the late 1890’s and 1900’s became
increasingly gloomy. One of his accomplishments during these years is “The Man
Who Corrupted Hadleyburg”, a pessimisstic examination of human nature.
After these bleak years Twain died in 1910. Yet his reputation as a writer
did not die along with him. Instead it rose as people began to look at his
works differently. Mark Twain has become an embedded part of America’s history.