Mark Twain

Word Count: 1315

Mark Twain was a pilot, a comic lecturer, a humorist, a
short story writer, and a novelist, to name a few of his
many accomplishments. On November 30, 1835, Samuel
Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain,
became the first man of any importance ever to be born
west of the Mississippi River. He has become an icon as
the American writer. This is because his way of writing
cannot be simulated by Europeans or anyone else, due to
the fact that the western setting of America creates a whole
new atmosphere and style of writing. Mark Twain is a
classic American writer that acquired fame by using satire,
writing with single-minded use of words, and by writing the
way that most people think and speak. Twain writes with
single-minded use of words, which is understood to be
plain and simple, yet still intelligent, which enhances
American literature. He writes what comes into his mind
without fear. This is an example from Huckleberry Finn: ...
"then comes a h-wack! bum! bum!
bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum - and the thunder
would go rumbling and grumbling away" ... (Twain 45).
This enriches American literature, because it is a clever
way, and the only way to make the reader actually seem to
hear and feel the sounds the writer is trying to convey. This
is an example from Tom Sawyer : "Set her back on the
stabboard! Ting-a-ling-ling! chow! ch-chow-wow! chow!".
(Twain 15). This dialect can be explained as a familiar
speech spoken around us all the time. It is the speech of the
illiterate, the preliterate, the children, and the poor people
(Bloom 46). This is actually a very intelligent style of
writing, for it is difficult for an author to write in a different
level of dialect than they actually speak. The reader can tell
that this dialect isn’t Twain’s own, since he doesn’t write
with it in every part of the book. Huckleberry Finn is
supposed to be written from Huck’s point of view. The
story is written as he would speak it, so mistakes inevitably
appear. However, this single- minded dialect was worked,
composed, and written by Twain. It was not done
haphazardly (Bloom 46). American literature would not be
the same if not for Twain’s ideas for ways of writing in a
way that spectacularly conveys the feelings of touch, sound,
and sight by the use of single-minded words. Another way
that Mark Twain enriches the heritage of American
literature is by his style of writing in the vernacular, which
means to write the way that people think and speak
(Kesterson 14). The vernacular portrays the word in the
purest sense of its original meaning. The vernacular
symbolizes American writing because nobody else on earth
would talk in that way besides the early American settlers.
An example from Huckleberry Finn is : " I reck’n I could
eat a hoss. I think I could. How long you ben on de islan’
?" (Twain 46). This style is done by writing without
worrying about spelling or context, and rather just writing
the way that the speech sounds. This style of writing is
uniquely American, because the famous European authors
did not write that way since the people of Europe didn’t
speak that way. Another example from this book is: " Say,
who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn’t hear
sumf’n." (Twain 5). Europeans had never spoken like this
or heard of it before Mark Twain. The vernacular enhances
American writing solely because it is uniquely early
American. It also gives a face to American writing,
distinguishing it from writing in other parts of the world. The
vernacular also shows the rural, uneducated portion of
America. These are two examples from Tom Sawyer : "
Can’t, Mars Tom. Ole missis, she tole me I got to go an’
git dis water an’ not stop foolin’ roun’ wid anybody. She
say she spec’ Mars Tom gwine to ax me to whitewash, an’
so she tole me to go ‘long an’ ‘tend to my own business -
she ‘lowed she’d tend to de whitewashin’" (Twain 13).
Another example is: " Look at him, Jim! He’s a-going up
there. Say-look! He’s a-going to shake hands with
him..."(Twain 38). This shows how they are uneducated,
because of the sloppy sentence structure, and it hints at the
fact of them being rural by mentioning whitewashing the
fence. This enriches American literature by showing a point
of view from the poor, which is welcome to those who are
tired of hearing about the glamour of rich people. Mark
Twain’s legacy as a humorist is to use satire, which greatly
enhances American literature. Satire is a term for a work
that uses ridicule to attack