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a brief history of Samuel Clemens life

Updated on March 29, 2012

Samuel Clemens was one of America’s best writers. He produced some of the most revered works attributed to an American author. He eventually used the pen name, Mark Twain. He was at times impolite in his writing, and at other times crude. His works, however, have stood the test of time. He had a good sense of humor in his writings. He began The Tales of Huckleberry Finn with hilarious warnings to any one who seeks to pick his story apart. His most popular works include The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Tom Sawyer. These tales of adventure have entertained children for generations.

Clemens’ life was not easy as a boy. At age twelve he lost his father, and was forced to raise himself. His character, Huck, lived a life that seems to parallel Clemens’. Huck had a drunken father that always left him. Because of this, Huck developed a level of maturity that was not seen in Tom Sawyer. Clemens, through work, sought a life on the river. Tom and Huck also had a love for life on the river. Clemens’ grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which was the basis for St. Petersburg—the town in which Tom and Huck spent their almost endless summers. Clemens had a strong aversion for his hometown, as did Tom and Huck.

The tales of Tom and Huck explore many issues of Clemens’ day including: slavery, racism, superstition, and religion. Tom and Huck are two boys that live in a small town. They eventually meet a slave named Jim, who is seeking to get away from town. Each dreams of leaving the town for a better life. Jim wishes to leave his life of slavery behind, especially since he found out that he might soon be separated from his family. Tom is heavily influenced by the romantic literature that he reads. He dreams of living an extravagant life like his heroes in the books. His dreams are based on tales of fantasy. Huck does not dream of luxury and adventure as much as Tom does. He simply is seeking to get away from his drunken father. His dream is based upon the misery of his current reality.

The tales also deal with a lot of superstition. Tom and Huck seem to live their lives in fear of certain superstitious notions. They would often let a hairball decide their fortunes. They also had very strange views of bad luck. They supposed that bad luck would be acquired if one were to touch a dead rattlesnake’s skin, talk about a dead man, or kill a spider. If some one heard a dog howling, this supposedly meant that death was coming.

The best theme found in the tales is friendship. Through tough times, and near-death experiences, Tom, Huck, and Jim looked out for one another. Jim and Huck especially had a special bond. Tom seemed to be using others throughout the story, but Huck simply acted as a good friend. These tales are so adventurous, yet realistic enough to make any one dream. Tales like these make a life on the river sound as fulfilling as any.

Clemens’ stories are interesting, but they are also comical in a strange way. His warning at the beginning of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn just exemplifies perfectly his attitude toward those who analyze everything. He did not try to please everyone. He just let the pen do the talking. His stories entertained me as a child, but now they entertain me in a new way as a teenager.


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