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The Life and Writing Style of Mark Twain - Essay Example

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Summary
Mark Twain once wrote, “If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be – a Christian” (Cox vii). This is indeed not only humorous but also demonstrative of two types of criticisms – a low estimation of man and an equally low regard for the role of God and religion in people’s lives. …
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The Life and Writing Style of Mark Twain
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The Life and Writing Style of Mark Twain

By employing humor in his works, Twain was able to expose the bitter, realistic attributes of of society, religion and humanity. In fact, Twain’s two masterpieces “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and “Letters from the Earth” demonstrate Twain’s two kinds of humor.
Mark Twain was born in 1835 as Samuel Langhorn Clemens, a man who had had numerous careers before he even turned 30 from being a journeyman printer to being a riverboat pilot. When he found a job at a newspaper company, he immediately adopted a pen name – Mark Twain. It was in 1865 when he gained overnight fame from his first masterpiece – a short story entitled “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” and also a piece of work that practically displays Mark Twain’s typical writing style (Schultz). Most of Twain’s writings had in them local color realism and mainstream realism.
For “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” Twain employed local color realism and mainstream realism, while for “Letters from the Earth,” the author used sharp sarcasm and wit. In “The Celebrated Jumping Frog,” local color realism can be proven by Twain’s use of the dialect of the deep south. The vocabulary used by the character Simon Wheeler in short story is typical of local color realism. In the story, Wheeler uses “feller” instead of fellow, and contractions like “reg’lar” and “solit’ry” (Twain, “The Celebrated”)....
ost curious,” “she don’t,” which is supposed to be “she doesn’t,” and “ketched” which stands for “catched” but which is supposed to be “caught.” (Twain, “The Celebrated”). Moreover, mainstream realism is also used in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog” as Twain mentions real life events like gambling and cheating. Both local color realism and mainstream realism attribute the realistic aspect of any literary work during the era of realism in literature. On the other hand, Twain employs sarcastic humor in “Letters from the Earth.” In fact, the whole story is heavily peppered with sarcasm. One of these instances is in saying that “[man] believes the Creator is proud of him; he even believes the Creator loves him” when in fact He does not (Twain, “Letters,” I). In fact, the picture of man as otherwise arrogant and proud is what he means by the aforementioned example. Twain was therefore trying to awaken people through his sense of humor coupled with realistic elements. Satan also mentions in his letters that although human beings place sexual intercourse “far and away above all other joys,” they have somehow forgotten to include it in their idea of heaven (Twain, “Letters,” II). This now addresses a confusing issue about sex. If human beings consider the act as sexually and physically pleasurable as it is stated in the Bible, then why would the idea of sex be excluded from one’s perception of heaven? Twain addresses this issue in “Letters from the Earth” (Twain). As an addition to sarcasm, Twain used religious references in “Letters from the Earth” but references to the government in “The Celebrated Jumping Frog.” The purpose is to instill humor. Through the characters of the archangels Michael and Gabriel and ... Read More
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