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Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

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Presentation on theme: "Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) 1835-1910
“A literary classic is a book which people praise and don’t read” – Mark Twain

2 Sam Clemens as a boy Born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri
Sixth of seven children Only three siblings survived childhood “Do not put off until tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well.”

3 Sam Clemens as a boy Brought up in Hannibal, MO, moved when four years old A sickly, strange, quiet child who hated the indoors and liked to run away. Purposely contracted the measles to gain attention and nearly died Father died when Sam was 11 “By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity – another man’s, I mean.”

4 Sam as a young man Apprenticed to a printer and wrote for his brother’s newspaper after his father died. Worked as a type-setter and writer for the Hannibal Journal When he turned 18, he became a printer, living in several eastern cities, including New York. Returned to Missouri at 22. Inspired to become a steamboat captain on a trip to New Orleans When the Civil War ended river traffic, he joined the Confederate army in Missouri until it looked like they were going to have to fight. “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

5 Sam Clemens becomes Mark Twain
Moved to Virginia City, Nevada, with his brother Orion and became a miner Failed at mining so he went to work at The Territorial Enterprise as a writer Used the pen-name Mark Twain for the first time in 1863 “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

6 Mark Twain in California
Left for San Francisco to avoid a duel and became a reporter in 1864 Jim Smiley and his Jumping Frog was published around the country in 1865; giving Twain his first national fame Visited Hawaii as a correspondent for The Sacramento Union Set out on a tour of the Mediterranean and Europe in 1867; wrote about it successfully as The Innocents Abroad in 1869 “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

7 Marriage and Home Life Writing success gave Twain enough money to marry Olivia Langdon in 1870 Moved to Buffalo, NY First child, son Langdon, died at 19 months Eventually had three daughters: Susy, Clara, and Jean

8 The Twains moved to Hartford, Connecticut
Movin’ on up The Twains moved to Hartford, Connecticut “Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.”

9 From travel writer to immortal artist
Started Huck Finn in 1876 but quit by chapter 16 because of difficulties with the plot Published: Tom Sawyer: 1876 The Prince and the Pauper: 1881 Life on the Mississippi: 1883 Huckleberry Finn: 1884 “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

10 Later life Susy died in 1896 while Twain was on a world tour
Olivia died in 1904 Later works were darker with a tinge of bitterness Died on April 21, 1910 “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

11 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
“All modern literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn…All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.” -Ernest Hemingway

12 Huckleberry Finn Huckleberry Finn is thought to be a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but the first sixteen chapters of Huck were written before Tom Sawyer was published. The novel is really about a boy’s discovery of true morality by shedding the messed up conventions of society in favor of his own sense of right and wrong. Huck Finn is a comedy in which the humor is disguised – mostly ironic humor as real situations and people are different than Huck perceives them to be.

13 Plot The plot is episodic, meaning that it has a series of separate situations, or episodes, that are almost unrelated but tied together by a certain character, theme, or device. The Mississippi River is the plot device that holds the different episodes together. The plot alternates between the idyllic life on the raft and the confusion, gullibility, callousness, and prejudice of the people within the towns along the banks of the river.

14 Characterization The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is the first American novel to use dialect (the way people really speak in a certain region) in such abundance Huck is in the picaresque (rogue) novel tradition in which the main character is a rascal, thief or scoundrel Huck is an unreliable narrator, meaning he cannot be trusted to see the action of the story accurately; he has the perspective of a naïve, young boy Huck’s straightforward reporting of ridiculous situations provides much of the humor in the book as the reader sees what is going on while Huck may not. Huck is a tableau rasa (a blank slate) untainted by society’s traditions, relying on instinct and common sense

15 Themes The hypocrisy of a certain type of religion; Twain did not like Southern-based Christianity that taught love and compassion but sanctioned slavery The ineffectualness of the law to protect the most innocent and weak members of society Traditions that stifle creativity and common sense but promote conformity and narrow-mindedness are to be abandoned

16 Themes Society is the individual violence, greed, conformity, laziness, gullibility, and selfishness of common citizens ruled by imperfect laws Satire (making fun of a serious subject through exaggeration or mockery in order to improve the subject of mockery) of other melodramatic novels of the time period (melodramas being those plots that rely on suspense, sensational events, and coincidence)

17 Conflicts Huck matures and develops into a moral human being as he journeys down the Mississippi, Huck’s moral struggles are the central conflict of the novel as he frees himself from the taint of the society in which he grew up Good vs. bad type of religion Widow Douglas’s vs. Miss Watson’s Life on the raft vs. life in society on shore Jim and Huck are free on the river and bound on land Instinct vs. education Huck’s common sense vs. Tom’s book learning

18 Huck Finn Final Notes

19 How are Tom and Huck different?
Although not book-smart, Huck is sensible, practical, and efficient Tom adds unnecessary things to his plans based on silly rules and fantasy (symbolizing the laws and education of society) Twain is making a statement about society’s rules and institutions through Tom: they don’t help in the real world, they are based on imagination, and they are random and often ridiculous. Tom is a representative of those who completely conform to the rules of society: his imagination is based on the traditions of books, he will not break a law (leaves five cents when he “steals” the candles. Huck does not follow all the rules of society, but he knows how to treat others respectfully and with compassion, which is more important characteristics according to Twain

20 The river vs. the town The river is always described as either powerful, large, beautiful, or stable – suggesting its dignity and majesty The townspeople are most often described as quarrelsome, unreasonable, gullible, corrupt, or greedy The river represents the natural state of society when not corrupted: people are free to make choices, have relationships, and are surrounded by peace and beauty The town shows society in its corrupted state: lacking freedom, civility, and morals while pretending to have all of these things On the river, Huck and Jim are free to be friends, but their relationship is constantly interrupted and questioned by agents of the town

21 Society cannot protect the vulnerable
Huck is forced to obey an evil and corrupt person through the courts Widow Douglas does little to recapture Huck Miss Watson’s greed leads her to desire to sell Jim to an unknown fate

22 Money corrupts Pap is always scheming for Huck’s money
Miss Watson wants to sell a human being for money The King and Duke do everything they do because of the want of money The river boat fellow won’t go rescue the people on the ship wreck until he’s assured of payment The worst characters (those who are least sympathetic) are all corrupted by money The best characters are all least concerned by money, including Huck, Jim, Judge Thatcher, Widow Douglas, Silas Phelps, Aunt Sally, and even Tom Sawyer.

23 Representative Characters
Miss Watson represents hypocrisy because she speaks of the Bible and Christianity (particulary Moses) and owns a slave, is greedy, and plans to sell another human being regardless of where Jim would end up Pap represents brutality because he is violent and ruled by his habits, prejudices, and jealousy. Kidnaps and threatens Huck Pushes the uppity negro off of the sidewalk

24 Jim and Huck Huck and Jim’s relationship grows as the story progresses: Huck says “They’re after us!” Huck feels sad about the trick in the fog and asks Jim’s forgiveness Jim doesn’t tell Huck about his dead father because he wishes to spare his feelings Huck tears up the letter though he thinks he will go to Hell for it

25 Why bring Tom Sawyer back?
Tom is a highly popular character Some comic relief is needed after Huck’s decision to “go to Hell” to protect Jim; theme getting too dark and serious Jim needed to be put in his place to play to the sensibility of the reader Jim regains his dignity by sacrificing himself for Tom Sawyer’s sake by fetching the doctor

26 Superstition and religion
Superstition and religion are linked because Twain shows the beliefs of both leading to poor decision-making and irrational behavior. Twain also suggests that religion can be effective in helping good people become better (Huck, Widow Douglas, Silas Phelps) if they actually live their teachings about compassion and greed Otherwise, Twain sees religion as a tool for corrupt people to hide their corruption behind a cloak of respectability (Southern religions teaching that slavery was approved of by God)

27 Supreme Moments of Self-sacrifice
Jim risking his freedom to help Tom Gives Jim his dignity back and shows him to be a human being equal to white people despite his lack of education Huck risking his eternal soul to help Jim Shows his sense of right and wrong is superior to the teachings of his upbringing Twain puts a twist on the picaresque tradition by making his “rascal” character a strong moral character

28 Good and Bad Folks Sympathetic characters: Huck, Jim, Judge Thatcher, Widow Douglas, Uncle Silas, Aunt Sally Less sympathetic characters: Pap, Miss Watson, King, Duke, and the new judge In-between: Tom Sawyer (too tied into the traditions of society but a symbol for the fun and imagination of youth

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