A Summary of Mark Twain's "Two Views of the Mississippi"
In "Two Views of the Mississippi" by Mark Twain, the author recounts his ability to recognize and appreciate beauty in his surroundings early in his career as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, in contrast to his perceptions later in life. He recalls a specific sunset journey where he is able to revel in the brilliance of the river surrounding him, taking note of the small details including the distant golden glow of the water; the simple, yet remarkable passing singularities; and the darkened, crowded shore. Later, he reflects on how his internal dialogue would differ if he were to experience that same voyage again many years later. The beauty he so easily appreciated in his novice years, would most likely go unnoticed; instead, the sum total of his experience and wealth of knowledge would shed a new light on the meanings of the individual spectacles, causing him to understand them in a more practical way; as warnings of the dangers ahead. He likened this shift in mentality to what he believes a medical doctor must experience when examining the human body. After awhile, he assumes that a doctor would be unable to appreciate the body's separate enchanting characteristics, and instead only see markers pointing to the eventual "decay'' the form is destined to. In his conclusion, Mark Twain questions whether the knowledge accumulated in the practice of a profession is worth the loss of being able to cherish the artistry and poetic wonders in our lives.