Donna Hunter - Period 2
Research Paper - Mark Twain
October 26, 2012
A REMARKABLE MAN WHO PAINTED THE WORLD
“Classic' - a book which people praise and don't read.” When Samuel L. Clemens (more often referred to as Mark Twain) said this, he meant it in a humorous sense, but he also wanted people to understand it’s meaning. People call books like Huck Finn and Gatsby classics, yet the idea that these books are actually read by everyone isn’t so. Twain isn’t just a classical writer because we deem him so, he is given that title for the political influence he managed to present to his readers. He wanted to show that the idea of romanticism was healthy for young children unless used excessively. He expressed this point by creating Tom Sawyer, a boy who idolized romanticism; a movement in the arts and literature that originated in the late 18th century, emphasizing inspiration, subjectivity, and the primacy of the individual. And to have a balancing opposite, Huckleberry Finn was added into the equation - a boy who had no education but grew up both mentally and physically quickly because of his poverty.
Twain’s idea of this political influence was a major impact on the people in his time because of the segregation of the whites and blacks - which was such a very big issue in that time with protests and such - and so his views were very democratic. We still value his influence today, not just because of the slavery issue but because of the controversy between romantic dominance and peaceful intelligence, romanticism having a more imaginative effect and intelligence striking your knowledge and building it on facts. That is why The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are meant for different aged readers - to impact a certain influence at a younger age when you read Tom’s story which is widely more imaginative, and to see the change of Twain’s attempt to get his point across of romanticism being unhealthy...