“Advice to Youth”
The Object of Mark Twain’s article is to point out that the youths of our society are being told to become just like everyone else and that discourages their individuality. He uses sarcasm, so that he can assume the role of an elder in society, the kind of people he attacks, which instructs younger people how to act. Mark Twain does an exemplary job in copying exactly the types of teachings for youth that have been passed down through the ages. The idea of respecting one’s elders has been around for a long time. The article gives expresses of both adult and teen satire. But it mostly, pokes fun at the stereotypical advice and coaching given to youth through the use of firearms. However, the last sentence has a much darker and more of a bitter tone, and attacks the teachings he has just mocked, “Build your character thoughtfully and painstakingly upon these precepts, and by and by, when you have got it built, you will be surprised and gratified to see how nicely and sharply it resembles everybody else’s.” Twain uses satire in describing the story of the boy who almost shoots his grandmother with what he thought was an unloaded gun. Instead of the classic “life lesson” story where the gun turns out to be loaded and ends up killing someone, he twists it so that the gun isn’t loaded after all and no one gets hurt. The rule at the root of this piece is the idea that individuality should be educated and that rational teachings are normalizing our youth. Mark Twain is great at mocking known teachings because he looks at it from a different angle, not suggesting that they are wrong but rather questioning if they are limiting originality and freedom of thought. Although, he runs into the certain obstacle that people who follow rational wisdom and tell their children the kinds of things he mocks won’t be as open to his argument because he doesn’t preach rational wisdom himself. He uses irrational wisdom to prove his point....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document