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Mark Twin Research

In: English and Literature

Submitted By katepassmore
Words 3124
Pages 13
“Life does not consist mainly – or even largely – of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one’s head” states Mark Twain in his autobiography (Twain, Wit 78). Twain certainly had a “storm of thoughts,” but he was able to eloquently and succinctly put those thoughts onto paper. Because he wrote a combination of fiction and nonfiction, it is difficult to categorize Mark Twain as an author. According to Neil Schmitz, Mark Twain was, “a southern humorist gone over, not just a deserter, a dissenter, but a literary scalawag, a southern writer in unionist discourse and narrative” (91). Most people recognize Twain’s brief, witty, straightforward proverbs that are often quoted today. He also wrote many novels, a few nonfiction books, a plethora of short stories, and essays. Mark Twain uses a variety of rhetorical devices including carefully chosen, colorful language, satirical tone, and unique symbolism to entertain and to enlighten his readers about the moral dilemmas and the beauty of the America he knew. According to Ernest Hemingway, all of American literature comes from one great book, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain, Huck Finn vii). Although this statement may seem hyperbolic, it does indicate the important place Mark Twain holds in American literature. Early Nineteenth century American writers tended to try to write like English writers with flowery, ostentatious language (Schmitz 100). Twain’s writing style was innovative when it was written and is still absolutely unique. He writes with simple prose and careful word choice. Each word is carefully selected and each sentence is meticulously crafted. Twain writes, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning” (Twain, Wit 71).

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