Mark Twain Essay

Submitted By ptzimmer
Words: 2207
Pages: 9

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Patrick Zimmer
Ms. Barnes
English 3H
November 11, 2014
Mark Twain Biography and Literary Criticism
Mark Twain is a man who has seen it all and done it all. He lived in Missouri, Iowa,
Louisiana, California, Connecticut and even Germany. Twain has doctorate degrees at three different universities despite quitting school at age twelve. He worked as an editor, a river boat captain, and a gold panner to name a few. Twain was also a journalist and a lecturer. However,
Mark Twain is remembered for being one of the most profound early American authors. He wrote many famous works such as
Innocents Abroad
The Gilded Age
The Adventures of Tom
, and
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
. Mark Twain is a man who used his life experience and many travels, along with his literary skills, including humor and character development, to create incredible nonfiction books and fiction novels that are still printed and read today. It is important to keep in mind that many points in Twain’s life must be omitted for one could most definitely fill a textbook covering the life of this man.
Mark Twain was born in February 1863. However, this biography begins many years earlier. Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the man destined to be known as Mark Twain, was born
November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. His family later moved to Hannibal, a small town on the Mississippi, which becomes the setting for both
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
. They moved to Missouri in order to reach the prosperity that had always eluded the family. It was this same search for wealth and a better life that led

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Clemens to make many of his choices in life. He had a poor but honorable family and quit school in 1847 when his father passed away. Sam became a full time apprentice to Joseph
Ament of the
Missouri Courier
. A few years later, Sam began editing
The Journal, which was established by his older brother Orion. Sam was inspired by humorous writing he found and started to print his own comical sketches in
The Journal
. He became a traveling printer and went to places such as Philadelphia, New York, and St. Louis. By 1855, he moved to Keokuk, Iowa where much of his family lived. Sam worked around this area as a printer for two years until he made a decision that led to a new chapter in his life.
In 1857, Samuel moved to New Orleans for an unknown reason. Some believe he originally wanted to go to South America and explore the Amazon. Instead of this, however,
Samuel became an apprentice to a steamboat pilot. This was a dream of his as a child. By 1859,
Samuel received his piloting license. This occupation proved to be yet another short part of
Clemens's life because the Civil War began two years later thus ending commercial trade on the
Lower Mississippi River. Although this was a small section of Twain’s life, his familiarity with the Mississippi is evident in books such as
Huckleberry Finn and
Life on the Mississippi
Clemens’ next adventure is traveling to Carson City, Nevada with his brother Orion. He originally planned to be his brother’s assistant, but he decided it was not his cup of tea. The journey did however become the subject of the beginning of Twain’s
Roughing It
, published in
1872. Clemens next tried prospecting for gold, but he failed at this and reported for various newspapers in the area of Virginia City and San Francisco. It was in 1863 that he first signed his name as Mark Twain, which was a boating term meaning “two fathoms deep.” During his time in California, Twain lived with a man name Dick Stoker who he later used as inspiration for the

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character Dick Baker in
A Tramp Abroad
, published in 1880. Twain acclaimed fame as a traveling reporter and used this to become a public lecturer. In 1867, Twain set off on a 5 month voyage to Europe working as a reporter