Mark Twain - Two Views of the River Outline

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Introduction: In Mark Twain’s essay “Two Views of the River,” the implied thesis is losing innocence and gaining experience. This idea is effectively communicated to his audience through appropriate organization of ideas, opposing tone, and stylistic devices. Twain’s essay uses the block structure for contrast, differing styles, and opposing tones. The first effective means of communicating the thesis is the block method of contrast with helpful transitions. The first block describes innocence, and the second block describes maturity through experience. A. Introduction

Mark Twain was an experienced steamboat pilot and that made a “valuable acquisition,” but also “lost something too.” (Twain 184) B. Body (Block One and Block Two)
In the first block, the tone is positive and innocent. Twain views the river with “speechless rapture,” and enjoys all of the “new marvels of coloring.” (Twain 185) In the second block, the tone is negative and mature. Twain then views the river “without rapture.” (Twain 185) C. Conclusion

In conclusion, Twain compares himself to a doctor who cannot “see a woman’s beauty,” but instead “simply views her professionally.” (Twain 186) Thus, the essay’s structure is the block method.
Another effective way the essay shows the thesis is by using two differing kinds of style – poetic to show the author’s innocence and realistic to show his experience. A. The first type of style is poetic.

1. “many tinted as an opal” “leaves that glowed like a flame” 2. “river was turned into blood”
3. “I drank it in”
4. “leaves that glowed like a flame”
B. The other kind of style is realistic.
1. “sun means wind to-morrow”
2. “log means river is rising”
3. “slanting mark refers to bluff reef”
4. “tumbling boils show dissolving bar & changing channel These differing tones emphasize the author’s shift in understanding of the river. The final and most effective way Twain’s essay shows its main idea is...
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