Mark Twain: Racist Or Realist?


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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, whom readers know as Mark Twain, has written many novels including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876; The Prince and the Pauper in 1882; Puddin’ Head Wilson in 1883; and Twain’s masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which was completed in 1883 (Simpson 103). Throughout Mark Twain’s writings, Twain had written about the lifestyle in the South the way it was in truth and detail. Mark Twain was not predjudice in his writings, instead he stripped away the veneers of class, position, religion, institutions, and the norms of society through his use of setting, language, and characters.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 and died on ...

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the strong and weak, and the proud and humble (Baxter 1). In his autobiography he wrote “All negroes were friends of ours and those of our own age were inface comrades (Neider 5).” Mark Twain could not find the realistic acceptance of friendships, loyalty, and courage in the adulthood of societies, and because of this he would always use a boyhood view of the world to contrast the adult hypocracies. Mark Twain was honest and knew that he could only write from a realistic perspective and could not accept these hypocracies of society (Simpson 25).
Mark Twain had paid much attention to detail in his descriptions of the South. In 1876 he had been placed at the head of the best seller lists for his realease of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Unger 199). The time period of the book exists just prior to the civil war, although it was written just after the war (Simpson 3). In this novel the reader is asked to see and judge the ante-bellum world through Huck’s perception ...

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Huck and the runaway slave, Jim, escape the evils of society by retreating to the river, floating away on the raft (Simpson 47). In one of the episodes in the novel, Huck says “other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft.” Here the main idea is about freedom (Simpson 33). The episodes were designed “to pleasently remind adults of what they once were themselves (Unger 199). The underlying theme is not just a boy’s fun adventure, but a quest for freedom (Simpson 28). It is also more than just a boys view of the world without problems; it is delivered as a first-hand involvement in the novels Twain ...

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Added: 2/17/2004 02:26:47 PM
Category: Biographies
Words: 1914
Pages: 7

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