Mark Twain: Racist or Realist

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Mark Twain: Racist or Realist

By | October 1999
Page 1 of 6
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 April 21, 1910. He was raised in the South on a Missouri Frontier and when he was only four year of age he moved to Hannibal, a large Southern town on the banks of the Mississippi River (Simpson 104). The Mississippi River is a key element in his two novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Both the characters Tom and Huck are similar to Twain in their spirit of adventure (Unger 193). Throughout his writings Twain wrote about the oppression of the rich and poor, 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...
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