Mercurial Essays

Free Essays & Assignment Examples

Subject = English (1485 words)

subject = Englishtitle = Biography of Mark Twain
papers = Please put your
paper here.


Samuel Clemens based his works on things that occurred throughout
his personal
life. He gained many interests and talents while on the Mississippi
River that contributed
to his writings.


Samuel Clemens was born on November
30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. He was
two months premature. AT the time
of his birth, Haley’s comet was in the sky. Four
years after Clemens was
born, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri. He grew up there
on the Mississippi
River. The river supported some of the happiest moments in his life.


Clemens
was the fifth child in the family of John and Jane Clemens. The first seven
years
of his life, he was under the supervision of his mother and the family physician,
Dr.


Hugh, because of being sick. At age nine, though, Clemens was known to
be grown up.


In 1847, his father died. He began to carry our adult responsibilities
now at age 12. He
began working and running errands to contribute to the
family. After his father died, the
family began to have bad financial problems.


When Clemens turned seventeen, he was
ready to be on his own, He began to
write stories and sketches for newspapers. He
supported himself for the next
two years. He also decided to go east ward from Hannibal
to work on printing
jobs. (Miller, Dwyer, Wood, 259)
He enrolled in school at age four. He
was well-behaved and disciplined in school.


Learning was a privilege to Clemens.

he was interested in knowing facts, information, and
figures. He had a strong
knowledge of math, language, vocabulary, and correct
composition. He learned
much about Botany. At age 12, he quit school and became a
printer’s apprentice.


In 1901, he received his Lit. D. degree from Yale, 1902. his Lit. D.

degree
from the University of Missouri, and in 1907 his Lit. D. degree from Oxford.


In
1857, Clemens started down the Mississippi River. He made important
decisions
with important consequences in his life. Clemens persuaded Horace Bixby to
teach
him piloting skills. In 1859, he became a licensed riverboat pilot. During
the 1850’s
while he piloted steamboats, he adopted the name Mark Twain in
Virginia City. Mark
Twain was a name meaning two fathoms deep, used on a
Mississippi River steamboat.

(Discovering Authors) Twain first began to
publish under his pen name on February 3,
1863. During the summer, he was
working with the staff of the Virginia City, Nevada,
Territorial Enterprise.

his career progressed. He removed himself from a humorous
image to express
the view that all motives are selfish. When he became a steamboat pilot
he
had to learn to be forward with his offers and not polite like his mother raised
him to
be.


During his nights of piloting he discovered his love for astronomy.


In 1861, Twain
served briefly in the Missouri, Militia. His piloting years
ended when the river was closed
down by the war in 1861. He also served in
a Confederate volunteer company for two
weeks. he decided not to be involved
with the war. His brother Orion and he traveled to
Carson City, Nevada in
1861. Through the years of 1861-1862, he was a prospector for
gold in Nevada.


Twain
found spiritual uplifting and inspiration through memories on the
Mississippi.


On the Mississippi, he learned of the different types of human nature that
could
be found. (Albert Paine, 82) Twain was skeptical about human society. He
had a
serious view of life, causing him to be viewed as serious and pessimistic.


He was known
as a humorist. Although there was a lot of tragedy in his life
through the poverty and
death of his father, loss of a daughter, and bankruptcy.


Twain was a master of irony,
urging people to see the things they could change
if they tried. He was a very generous
person, but seldom liked to show it.


He had musical talents that were not known by many
people. He could play
the piano, guitar, organ, and could sing. Even though Twain was
always into
trouble and liked adventure, he had good luck at being where interesting
things
were happening at the right time. He had a skill for quickly observing things.


One
of Twain’s later works was Life on the Mississippi. It tells of the Mississippi
River
region and things such as the history, sights, people, and legends of the towns
and
steamboats. Throughout chapters 4 and 17, he recalled his piloting days
very vividly. The
Atlantic Monthly originally contained these chapters as
“Old Times on the Mississippi.”
In 1852, Twain did not want to be a writer.


He did not know what he wanted to
do in life, but he found writing to be
easy. He began to write to support his family and to
make a living. He was
good at describing details. Twain could interest the reader by
telling his
own ideas and reactions. His imagination is limited with freedom. His desire
for
freedom and adventure exists in his works. (Henry Smist, 35) By using things
from
his past that he remembered, he could interpret reality well. Twain
can find a deeper
meaning beneath appearances, and show the environment of
each character well. he was
unsure of the Bible and could not find a firm
conception of God. He grew up Presbyterian
and his works reflect his doubt
on religion. Also he had a belief that life was
predetermined and free will
is an illusion. (John Gerber, 3)
In November of 1865, Twain published his
first important sketch, “Jim Smiley and
His Jumping Frog” in the New York
Saturday Press. His first book was The Celebrated
Jumping Frog at Calvaras
County. In 1867, he traveled to Spain, Italy, France, and
Palestine. Stories
were published and known as the book, The Innocents Abroad. (1869)
Throughout
this book, Twain ridiculed the countries he visited, along with the sights
of
American tourists traveling about. In 1874, his first novel, The Guilded
Age was
published. it was co-written with Charles Dudley Warner. The title
comes from the
decades following the Civil War. Twain wrote of his youth
in a more pleasant way of life
than it was based on. The short story, ” The
Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” is an
indication of his dark side.


In 1876,
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published. In this book, the
character Aunt
Polly was based on his mother. The family had a better financial condition
like it was at his Aunt Patsy’s. The story was about a mischievous boy in
a Mississippi
River town. Tom Sawyer was a backward step. It was addressed
to adults, but appealed
to young people. (Ronald Gottesman, 1163) Tom Sawyer
was a predecessor of Huck
Finn. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which was
published in 1885, was the sequel to
Tom Sawyer. Mark Twain was not Tom Sawyer
or Huckleberry Finn, although they were
boys that he wished he was. Twain’s
childhood was the basis for the story of boys being
raised on the frontier
in Huckleberry Finn. During his years as a steamboat pilot on the
Mississippi,
he met many people to help characterize his novels. He seldom used the name
of
a friend or relative in anything he wrote. Huckleberry Finn was written by
Twain in
eight years. It is a novel which demonstrates the difference between
appearance and
reality without creating feelings of disdain about humanity.


Throughout Huckleberry Finn,
he brings out the power of nature to develop
an understanding of values such as common
sense, honesty, and courage.


During
Twain’s life he enjoyed listening to yarnspinners. Wile on the Mississippi,
he
found it entertaining to listen to fellow pilots or passengers spin yarns.


One day a yarn
was told by Ben Coon and Twain and a friend listened. Later
he told the story to a
famous humorist named Artemus Ward. He urged Twain
to write the story so that it
could be printed. In 1865, “The Celebrated
Frog of Calaveras County” was published. It
was published and read in newspapers
all over the United States. From there after, he
used his personal life-experiences
and his humorous side to combine the best way of
writing he knew. His talent
of yarnspinning was very helpful during his writing career.

(Miller, 143)
In February of 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon. They were engaged for
one
year. She changed his writings, sometimes weakening them, and making
them more
readable. His marriage life was always happy, considering they
came from totally different
backgrounds. When they were married, Olivia’s
parents said that Twain was not a
Christian. They were married for 33 years
and had four children during that time. His son
died at 18 months in June
of 1872. Twain’s favorite daughter, Susy, died at meningitis in
1896. She
died peacefully and was laid to rest by her brother. After Susy’s death, the
family
secluded themselves in London. His other two daughters, Clara and Jean, moved
away
from Twain. Clara married a pianist and lived in Europe. Jean spent most
of her
adult life in nursing homes. Jean had the worst relationship with
her father out of the
Clemens children. The last few months of her life,
though, she grew closer to her father
while living with him. In December
of 1909, she died. (Miller,17)
Twain was not known as an easy man to live
with. He had a bad temper, but he
tried to keep it under control. In 1904
his wife, Olivia, died in Italy. On April 24, 1910
Twain died at Stormfield
of angia pectoris at age 74. Haley’s comet was once again in the
sky at this
time. He was buried in Elmira, New York.


After his death, he was known as
a hero. Schools, parks, and museums have been
named after him. His works
have become known as the first and finest literary expression.


According
to Ernest Hemingway, Twain was the father of all Literature. He is “the poet
of
a unique phase of American experience.” (Smist, 38)