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Discussion of Local Color in Mark Twain

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Discussion of Local Color in Mark Twain

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Mark Twain was the author of many famous novels and short stories such as "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn," "The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer," "The Notorious Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County," and "Pudd'nhead Wilson." Born Samuel L. Clemens, he was raised in a small village in Missouri. When he was twelve years old his father died, leaving him to take care of his family. He became an apprentice to a printer and later went to work for his brother who was a publisher. In 1861 he began to write his own short stories that were published in magazines. In many of Twain's novels and short stories he uses local color to help define his characters and give meaning to his stories ("The Norton Anthology Of American Literature" page 212-215). The use of language that is specific to a particular area, the depiction of his characters and people throughout the story, the use of idioms, and the description of places as settings characterize local color. In other words local color is used to express "distinctive natural, social, and linguistic features" ("The Norton Anthology Of American Literature" page 12). Mark Twain often used local color to create realistic characters and settings within his writings. In many of Mark Twain's stories, such as "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn," he easily gives his characters their own vernacular language. In "The Notorious Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County," Simon Wheeler speaks with a strong accent and it is as if he has actually speaking with a type of "southern drawl" such as when he says the name Daniel he says "Dan'l" ("The Norton Anthology Of American Literature" page 217). His accent and his way of speaking gives the reader the feeling that Simon is a respectable, knowing person. Twain uses this type of dialect for Simon to give him character and to give the reader a better view of Simon's personality. Twain also uses this type of local color in "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn" where he uses many different types of dialects to...

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