Mark Twain Essays (Examples)

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Twain V Thoreau Twain v

Words: 936 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 75195861

This speaks quite clearly to the different attitudes the two authors had about what to do with this hypocritical, greedy, and foolish society. Thoreau argues for revolution in a way that Twain almost certainly would have avoided. Instead, Twain's protagonist Huck says that the best way to deal with direct violence and injustice from people like Pap "is to let them have their own way." To Thoreau, acceptance of such injustice was the same as performing the injustice. For Twian, society is to late to be saved; remembering that he wrote his book over a decade after the close of the Civik War and the end of slavery suggests that Twain saw his society as basically unchanged by this major event. Rather than changing society, Huck (and presumably Twain's) solution is simply to leave it behind.

This fundamental difference between the two author's views on the irrationalities, absurdities, and injustices of human society and "civil" government shows up in many ways in these two works. For example, Twain and his characters would almost certainly not have suffered prison for their beliefs when escape was easy. Though Huck breaks the law in helping Jim escape, he does it secretly and feels…… [Read More]

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Twain's To the Person Sitting

Words: 601 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 26837199

They are so shrouded in mental and spiritual darkness, say the oppressors that they require outside assistance in the form of religious missionaries and military personnel. Christianity and the armies that propagate it are here to help the "Persons Sitting in Darkness," to save them from themselves. Thus, Twain uses the printed word to demonstrate how American foreign policy is founded on principles of social Darwinism and thinly concealed racism.

Throughout "To the Person Sitting in Darkness," Twain concentrates on lambasting the notion that America stands for freedom, liberty, and Civilization. According to Twain, these concepts are "only for Export." Moreover, they are costly. Twain makes sure to bring up the financial motives for American political maneuvers: "The Actual Thing that the Customer Sitting in Darkness buys with his blood and tears and land and liberty." The word "Customer" drives home the point that money, not concern for the well being of the people, motivates political decisions and colonialism. Occasionally Twain uses graphic imagery for emphasis: the Americans sentence "innocent little children to inevitable starvation and lingering death" for "blood money." The ideals that America purports to possess and implement become distorted when applied to its territories.

The author also…… [Read More]

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Twain and the Slavery Controversy

Words: 935 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 39434877

His decision that Jim is worthy of the same consideration as any other man is not only a sign of Huck's growth, but a direct statement that Twain was making to the people reading his book in a very racially divisive time.

Twain also makes many broader statements about humanity in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The book is full of many characters who take advantage of others, like the Duke and the King, people who hate and fight senselessly, like the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, and even honorable seeming men like Colonel Sherburn, who despite an eloquent speech about honor and the common man's cowardice shot and killed a defenseless drunk. Huck has a major epiphany when he sees the Duke and King, who have betrayed Huck and everyone else they met, tarred and feathered. Despite their actions against him and their obvious lack of regard for others, Huck feels sick at the sight and comments that "humans can be awful cruel to one another" (254). Slavery is one of the clearest example of man's cruelty to man, and is the central and most clear example used in the novel to illustrate the injustice inherent to the maltreatment of…… [Read More]

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Twain's Use of Irony in The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Words: 794 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 86534246

Notorious Jumping Frog

Mark Twain's iconic story "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is one of the most entertaining and interesting examples of a tall tale. Twain uses the tools of literature expertly, weaving human and irony into the narrative with his usual style and flair.

The narrator is obviously from the east, an educated person, and Simon Wheeler, the man being interviewed by the narrator, is from the wild west. Right away there are two cultures interacting, and in effect the two cultures are in conflict, which is traditional between eastern and western values at this point in the settling of the United States. The frontier is an unknown concept to genteel, civilized persons from the east so there is a juxtaposition and a conflict of cultures set up at the beginning, making irony and humor a likely outcome with Twain.

The potential for irony is there. Irony is described in several ways, one form of irony comes to the reader in literature through when the author uses a character, or the development of the plot, to show the opposite of that which is seemingly presented. The outcome of events in this story is ironic because the result…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Twain, Mark. "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." Retrieved September 9,

2011, from
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Twain Involve Slavery in Huck

Words: 1155 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 86417438

He had the whitest shirt on you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat" (Twain, 37); "They said he was a p'fessor in a college, and could talk all kinds of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain't the wust. They said he could vote when he was at home" (idem). The white man who considered his white ancestry all it took to make him better than any black person, regardless of whatever qualities he or she may have had, is the very expression of a society that was gravely affected by the gangrene of slavery and would bear the scars of segregation for almost another century after the Abolition Act had been passed.

Twain's choice for the time setting of his novel proved to be well thought and pointed at those who were still blinded by the slightest shade of dark on the skin of their fellow countrymen. Mentalities never changed over night and twenty years were by far not enough for people to understand the wrong doing of those who thought they could use other people as their personal objects and nothing more. When people like Huck's father are raged by the idea that black men could vote…… [Read More]

Another striking scene is revealed by the discussion between Huck and the runaway Jim, the slaved owned by the widow Douglas. Jim is telling his story about the fourteen dollars he once had and lost, first by making the wrong decision of investing ten of them in a cow who died. After he tells Huck the whole story of how he came to loose all of his money, he concludes: "Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns mysef, en I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I wouldn' want no mo'" (Twain, 65).

The comparison between owning a cow and owning oneself and Jim's consideration of being rich based on his former value as a slave and not on his value as a human being are words that should be engraved on the stone wall of every school. Twain was right to choose a period in history that left the American people with numerous things to be proud of, but also with one of the worst and most unfortunate aspects of its inheritance: slavery and after that, segregation.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Collier & Son. 1918
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Scoundrels in Twain's Adventures of

Words: 781 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 37775098

However, this label can only be loosely applied to Tom, as society accepts that the scoundrel will grow out of him, given his proper upbringing.

Second, dangerous scoundrels often seem humorous, but the danger they pose cannot be underestimated. The most blaring examples of dangerous scoundrels in the novel are Pap, Huck's father, and the Duke and the Dauphin. Pap is a drunk who has a reputation for causing trouble. If he were simply a drunk, however, he would be classified as a societal scoundrel. Instead, he is a dangerous man who beats his son and takes advantage of him for his money. Twain clearly disapproves of Pap, as his actions toward Huck, despite Huck's desire to have a family are abysmal. Twain's judgment against Pap is avenged as dies early on in the novel, although the reader and Huck do not know about it until the end. In addition to Pap, the Duke and the Dauphin, two con men whose names derive from a con they pulled, telling others that they are French royalty. These swindlers manage to come up with creative ways to get others money; they even pretend to be relatives so that they can get the…… [Read More]

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Chopin Twain Etc Change in

Words: 1496 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 17064575

Herein is composed a character who captures the internal conflict that would identify America on its path to Civil War.

In Twain's work, Huck emerges as a figure whose behavior and ideology are stimulated by a discomfort with the circumstances constraining him. Though painted as a portrait of one young man, the adventures which give the novel its title are actually a series of events wherein Huck brazenly flouts the standards which had given the pre-Civil War delta its cultural outlook. His flight to freedom is guided by the juxtaposed but equally inapt incarcerations which he endured both at the pious hands of the Widow Douglas and the abusive hands of his drunken father. Certainly, his staged death and his river-raft escape here would be explicit forms of active protest to the church-going morality of the former and the violent authority of the latter. In both, we see the religious and militaristic devices of patronage that would be America's alternating calling cards.

But on a more poignant scale, the novel centers on Huck's companionship to Jim. The fugitive slave partners with Huck on his excursion and the two become a crucial support system to one another, demonstrating Twain's disregard for…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. (1898). The Storm. About Literature. Online at

Eliot, T.S. (1917). The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock. The Egoist.

Robinson, E.A. (1921). Mr. Flood's Party. Web Books. Online at 

Twain, Mark. (1884). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Charles L. Webster and Co.
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Narrative Use in Twain's Huck Finn

Words: 870 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 28407876

Narrative Style of Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

The entire structure of the novel is one of frustrated attempt to escape from restrictions only to find the refuge susceptible to invasion and destruction.

Huckleberry Finn himself is the most American of heroes: he is the boy-man in a male world... And solitary -- alone even among others. (Solomon, 175).

While the vast majority of critical analysis conducted on Mark Twain's The

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn focuses on the symbolic significance of the river within the overall narrative; few scholars have suggested that Huck himself may have been constructed in such a way as to evoke the emergence of America and the realization of its national identity. A youth filled with the spirit of rebellion, yearning to live free from the dominion of an arbitrary authority, self-sufficient and reliant on his own intelligence to guide him, Huckleberry Finn embodies the ideals of the fledging American nation. Critics have long sought the perceived moral of Twain's classic, but have seldom explored the possibility that Huckleberry Finn may indeed be an authorial expression of admiration for the principles from which his country was born. Clearly, the narrative structure of the novel is…… [Read More]

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U S History From 1865-1945 Mark

Words: 1059 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 64912054

(Boyer, 2001)

Sixty-hour weeks, no insurance, no compensation for injuries or overtime, and no pensions symbolized the workers' plight. And when the workers went on strike over the inequities, the government sided with the owners.

The mass society of the late nineteenth century had no diversity. It was a society in which the rich and powerful manipulated the existence of the politically and economically powerless mass through overwhelming mass production, mass communication, and mass distribution.

Examples (Boyer 2, 2001) Mass production transformed the way Americans lived and worked at the beginning of the twentieth century. Thanks to its role in creating mass consumer culture (mass society), it constitutes a vital part of contemporary life. It was responsible for the dehumanizing assembly-line work of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as well as the physical comfort enjoyed by most people in industrialized countries. The 1926 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica formally introduced the term in an article titled "Mass production." The article appeared over Henry

Ford's name, for he is indeed recognized as the man who popularized the term and, more important, made mass production work. (Calhoun, C.W. 2006, p. 62-63) When a bomb exploded in Harmarket Square in Chicago…… [Read More]


Boyer, P.S. (2001). Early republic, era of the. Retrieved February 20, 2009, from

Boyer, P.S. 2 (2001). Gilded age. Retrieved February 23 from encylcopedia. com, 2009, from The Oxford companion to U.S. history: h ttp:/ /

Calhoun, C.W. (2006). The Gilded Age: Perspectives on the origins of modern America. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. ( (n.d.). Overview: 1900's. Retrieved February 25, 2009, from
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Attack of the Butterflies Mark

Words: 1763 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 59532160

The trick is not to focus on any of this, but to focus on preparation and then on the real thing.

Do you think you're afraid to talk in front of other people? Guess what? The average person says 15,000 words per day. Unless you're in solitary confinement, those words are spoken to other people, sometimes two, three or more at the same time. You speak to family, friends, fellow students, and co-workers. You're already a public speaker, and you can help yourself gain more control over the situation by remembering this.

Get control, even if it's just in your own mind, with a little ritual before making a presentation. Some people might call it a good luck charm. Michael Jordan wore his old University of North Carolina shorts under his NBA shorts in every game. Wade Boggs always ate chicken before he played. Control, even in these seemingly small and strange ways, gives us confidence to face the public-speaking situation, over which we do not have total control. Stuff happens. But when we're prepared and confident, we can deal with it.

Television newsman Edward R. Murrow once said, "The best speakers know enough to be scared…the only difference between…… [Read More]

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Twain Incorporates Humor by Using

Words: 565 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 32730455

They are the same age but Buck's family is wealthy and, for all intents and purposes, he should be refined but he is not.

Twain uses satire with the Grangerfords by making fun of Emmeline, who keeps a notebook full of notations like car wrecks, other kinds of bad luck, and suffering because she would later use those records to compose poetry.

The Grangeford's are also used for Twain to point out the hypocrisy of people. They are "church goers" and one of Mr. Grangerford's sermons is about brotherly love yet his family is feuding with another family for a reason no one can remember.

Examples of imagery in Chapter 19 include the days and nights swimming by, sliding along slowly. We read about the bullfrogs "a-cluttering" (323) and the cool breeze "fanning" (323) their faces. The intent on this scene is to bring the woods alive for the reader.

The characters of the Duke and King are satirical because Twain scolds small-time crooks with these characters.

The weather in Chapter 20 is foreshadowing the conflict ahead because the storm is filled winds that screams and glares that light up the sky through rain and thrashing trees.

Huck reaches an…… [Read More]

Work Cited

Clemens, Samuel. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." The Heath Anthology of American

Literature. Lauter, Paul, ed. Lexington D.C. Heath and Company. 1990. Print.
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Prince and the Pauper

Words: 1432 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 79016495

Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper

Calais, France

Anno Domini 1544,

October the First

My dear Hugh,

It is with a heavy heart that I take up quill and inkpot to pen this sad missive, informing thee of the death of Miles thy brother during that recent battle between his majesty our most puissant sovereign King Henry the Eighth and his sworn enemy, that perifidious frog the Dauphin of France, which did of late take place in pitched battle at Boulogne-sur-Mer in the month of August, in the year of our lord 1544.

As doubtless thou hast heard at Hendon Hall, in the heat of summer His Majesty did command His Grace the Duke of Norfolk to raise the engines of siege so as to break the will of the French garrison in that wretched town, so close to the Channel which doth separate our blessed England from the continent. His grace of Norfolk did muster and conscript a tremendous host from the shires and hamlets of Albion and among their number was young Miles, whose very name he did remark to had destined him for a soldier. 'Twas folly indeed though that Miles should have gone to France…… [Read More]

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Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses

Words: 958 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 29905395

Twain and Cooper

Cover Letter

The following essay looks at Mark Twain's reaction to James Fennimore Cooper's writing, and more specifically at the praise given to Cooper by these people. The reader should take away that Twain was correct in what he wrote because he was structurally accurate. However, Twain slights Cooper in that he looks at his works from an only a structural standpoint. Cooper's works meant much more to American literature than the face value of the books. Cooper was an innovator as far as American literature went, and gave American writers a distinct voice.

At first the essay strikes of jealousy, but Twain seemed more irritated by what the critics overlooked than he was of Cooper's writing. The assignment was enjoyable because it speaks to the clear differences between a visionary writer and a more structural one. Twain is more of an engineer than a creator. He wants everything to be technically accurate, and he expects the same from other writers and critics. Cooper is not a technician, he is a dreamer. He wants to provide American authors with the tools to write their nation's own stories rather than borrowing style from England or anywhere else. It…… [Read More]

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Race Relations in Uncle Tom's

Words: 1072 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 51867841

Their friendship means more to either of them than the definition of the word slave. Huck demonstrates his loyalty when he befriends Jim. This becomes evident when he realizes that he cannot tell the others of Jim's whereabouts. Huck struggles over telling the truth of telling a lie. He cannot reach an acceptable answer at the time and thus determines to do "whichever come handiest at the time" (Twain 307). Huck does eventually lies for his friend later in the novel - an indication that he is more human than the adults that attempted to raise him. He rationalizes lying by saying:

Then I thought a minute and says to myself, hold on, --s'pose you'd done a right and give Jim up; would you feel better than what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad -- I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what's the use of you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages just the same?" (307).

In addition, he decides that it would be better to go to hell than to tell on his friend. For…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lauter, Paul, ed. Massachusetts D.C. Heath and Company. 1990.

Stowe, Harriet. Uncle Tom's Cabin. New York: Bantam Books. 1989.
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Huckleberry Finn and What Makes an American

Words: 1401 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 76425793

Huckleberry Finn and What Makes an American

What Makes Twain's Huckleberry Finn American?

"Those canonic ideals -- self-government, equal opportunity, freedom of speech and association, a belief in progress, were first proclaimed during the era of the Revolution and the early republic and have developed more expansive meanings since then," these are the basic core ideals which make something truly American (Kazin & McCartin 1). The freedom to live as we want, say what we want, and govern ourselves -- these are what make us Americans in culture and ideology. In literature, these core elements are also often what define a book or character as truly American. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn adheres to the very ideals of what it is to be an American, which is what makes the work and its author truly Americanized in style and content.

One of the most important ideals in the concept of Americanism is the idea of liberty. Freedom at all costs has been embedded into the American ideology since the Revolution, and continues to shape modern politics and culture today. Mark Twain embodies this concept with his main character of Huckleberry Finn. In Twain's work, "Huck strikes out for an absolute freedom"…… [Read More]


Jehlen, Myra. "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Classic American Literature." Banned in Concord. 1995. Web. 

Kazin, Michael & McCartin, Joseph Anthony. Americanism: New Perspectives on the History of an Ideal. University of North Carolina Press. 2006.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Harper Bros. 1910.
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Styles of Henry James and

Words: 740 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 61655454

This style is in stark contrast to the writing style of Mark Twain, despite the fact that both authors are examining the broader aspects of life through their individual characters.

Twain and James also differ in the level of emotionality that is attached to their work. Twain writes with a vibrant passion, seeing the world through the lenses of his wide-eyed protagonists. There is a clear emotional connection between Twain and his characters, and the stories that he is telling. James, on the other hand, seems rather detached from his stories and his characters, almost as if he is viewing them from a distance. His description of Daisy's death is completely detached, as is the dialogue between the characters themselves. For example, even when Mrs. Costello is gossiping about the relationship between the Millers and Eugenio, she seems very reserved and staid -- not at all as if she were discussing a juicy scandal:

They treat the courier like a familiar friend-like a gentleman. I shouldn't wonder if he dines with them. Very likely they have never seen a man with such good manners, such fine clothes, so like a gentleman. He probably corresponds to the young lady's idea of…… [Read More]

Works Cited

James, Henry, "Daisy Miller" In Nina Baym, ed. The Norton Anthology: American Literature. (Shorter Seventh Edition; Volume 1) pp. 319-356

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Forgotten Books, 1925
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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Words: 1383 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 2918036

Huck Finn

In Mark Twain's Huckeberry Finn, the title character and escaped slave Jim bond together in their mutual quest for freedom. Neither knows where they are headed, but they do know where they have been and what they are running from. Both have endured a different type of slavery. Jim escapes from the actual legally sanctioned and racialized form of slavery; whereas Huck Finn is running from an abusive father who literally locks him up. Therefore, Huck Finn and his friend Jim are mirrors for each other as well as partners. It matters not that their backgrounds are different, and in spite of the overarching theme of race, the two friends bond psychologically in a mutually respectful and mutually protective relationship.

Huckleberry Finn and Jim go out of their ways to help one another while they are on the island, and after. There is no formal bond of loyalty between them; their connection is unspoken and assumed. However, the friendship between Huck Finn and Jim does not develop organically as the friendship between the two white boys Huck and Tom Sawyer develops. On the contrary, Huck is well aware of the social norms that constrain the evolution of his…… [Read More]


Arac, J. (1992). Nationalism, hypercanonization, and Huckleberry Finn. Boundary 2, 19(1).

Chadwick-Joshua, J. (1998). The Jim Dilemma: Reading Race in Huckleberry Finn. University Press of Mississippi.

Jehlen, M. (1995). From Banned in Concord: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and classic American literature. In The Cambridge Companion to Mark Twain, Forrest G. Robinson ed. (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Robinson, F.G. (1988). The characterization of Jim in Huckleberry Finn. Nineteenth Century Literature 43(3): Dec 1988.
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Satan Has Many Names in Literature Beginning

Words: 1917 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 80695130

Satan has many names in literature, beginning with the Bible, and they are not limited to the image that people have come to associate with his person. For example, Lucifer means "Angel of Light" (apparently the station from which he fell), but he has also been called "The Prince of the Power of the Air," "The Devil," "The Prince of Demons," and, more in line with the needs of this story, "Mephistopheles." He, or a character very like him, is seen as the central opposite of good in many legends, stories, religious writings and artistic depictions throughout history. It seems every culture has to believe in the dichotomous good and evil, so there has to be a primarily "good" character, and a primarily "bad" character. The two stories selected for this comparison contrast paper, Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" and Goethe's "Faust," use Satan as a central theme, but they explore that theme in very different story lines. This paper summarizes the two stories, evaluates the contents with regard to a comparison, and then contrasts how the two stories have depicted their "Satan" character.


Mark Twain is known as a writer of satirical pieces that may sometimes approach metaphysics…… [Read More]

Works Cited

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang. Faust: A Tragedy. Trans. Frank Claudy. Washington, D.C.: Wm. H. Morrison, Law Bookseller and Publisher, 1886. Print.

Twain, Mark. The Mysterious Stranger: A Romance. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1916. Print.