A famous man once said, “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” This man is considered to be one of the most influential American writers in history. His two most famous works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. His real name is Samuel Clemens, but most know him by his pen name, Mark Twain.
Samuel Clemens was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. His father worked in many different jobs, never managing to obtain the wealth he so dearly wanted. His mother was a fun-loving, tenderhearted homemaker who whiled away many a winter's night for her family by telling stories (biography.com). This may have helped play a part in Sam’s later life.
At the age of 4 Samuel Clemens and his family moved to Hannibal, a growing port city that lay along the banks of the Mississippi, and was a frequent stop for steam boats arriving by both day and night from St. Louis and New Orleans (cgmww.com).This bustling town was the foundation of his famous novels Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. The incoming and outgoing of interesting people, such as steamboat crews and circus troops influenced Sam to be adventurous.
Sam went to school until his father died, which made it necessary to be apprenticed to a printer. He later got a job at a small newspaper the Hannibal Western Union, which was owed by his brother Orion. Money and food was meager but the family made it through.
At the age of 21, Clemens fulfilled a dream: He began learning the art of piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi. He said, ”a pilot, in those days, was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived in the earth.” He loved the freedom of the river. It was here that he picked up his famous pen name Mark Twain, a river term for 12 feet of water, right on the edge of safe water.
Unfortunately, the Civil War started and caused a halt in civilian traffic on the Mississippi River. Twain, without a job, joined a small Confederate force. After 2 weeks the force disbanded. Looking for a new start, Twain headed to the west.
After several unsuccessful attempts, Twain eventually found success in Nevada writing stories