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American Places - American Lives

In: English and Literature

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American Places, American Lives
Jessica Hernandez
American Autobiography/ENG208
Week Two Individual Assignment
October 27, 2014
Ms. Dorothy Barton

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835. He was raised in Hannibal, a small town on the banks of the Mississippi. In 1857, being away from Mississippi for several years, Twain fulfilled his boyhood dream by becoming a pilot on a riverboat. Growing up in Mississippi, Twain’s only ambition was to be a pilot on a riverboat (Twain, p.197).
The town was drowsy in the sunshine of the summer’s morning; the streets were empty; a few clerks sat on splintered chairs outside their stores, with hats over their face while they were asleep. Nobody paid attention to the peaceful waves of the Mississippi but the town came alive when they heard a steamboat coming (Twain, p198).
Twain’s focus was on steamboats and the Mississippi (particularly Walnut Bend). Twain remarked how handsome a steamboat was and his attention to detail showed his desire for the American dream of being a pilot. He focused on the architecture of the steamboat and the natural elements of Walnut Bend. “She is long, sharp, trim, and pretty; two tall fancy-topped chimneys; a fancy pilot-house, all glass and gingerbread; and a flag gallantly flying from the jack-staff (Twain, p198). This was Twain’s view of his future even before being on the boat.
Along the river, Twain was able to remember every Island, town, bars, points, masses of lumber, and bends of Walnut Bend (Twain, p203). He stood bewitched and took it all in. The world was new to him and felt nothing like home (Twain, p212). The effect that his focus had on his life is that he wanted nothing more to be a pilot, and his attention to detail showed his desire to fulfill his dream.
Twain describes in most detail his time learning to become a pilot as well as the shape of Walnut Bend.…...

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