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Analysis of Hemmingway Quote Essay

The fictional novel by Mark Twain titled, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is credited by many well-respected authors as one of, if not, the best books ever written. One of these prestigious authors, Ernest Hemingway says “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before.

There has been nothing as good since” (Lombardi 1). Hemmingway is right and agreeable in what he means by this statement. He makes it known that any literature that shares the same theme or style is modern and a descendant from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Hemmingway makes it evident that he believes Mark Twain’s book to be great and incomparable. The language used in the book at the time was a shock to culture. Many were not prepared for the common speech element illustrated throughout the novel. When Hemmingway says “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn”, he means just that. He is essentially saying that no book or author reached such heights before and that any author after the publishing received their courage by the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The central themes throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn focus on the hypocrisy and racism present in society at the time. In the twentieth century, more American novels, fiction and nonfiction, began focusing more on these themes and exposing what everyone already knew but very seldom wrote about. Authors broke away from the traditional aesthetic styles of writing and began sharing similar styles of Novels such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Illustrative and informal styles of writing seemed to be more popular amongst authors and readers alike. Through this, it is evident that American novels in the twentieth century descend from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn through the styles of which written and themes throughout.

After the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Modernist literature began to be seen more. Modern literature is the style of writing, breaking away or modifying traditional beliefs in conformity with modern ideas. Novels that were once written about moving from one piece of land to another were eventually evolving into stories written about the realities of slavery and harshness of society, ultimately leading to modern war novels.

In Hemmingway’s quote, it is his strong belief that any and every modern American novel, written with modernist ideas, stems from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Ernest Hemmingway said it best when he said “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since” (Lombardi 1). He emphasized that there was no literature at the level of The Adventures of Hucklberry Finn and that any literature nearing, was a descendant of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. After many readers and authors read the book, other modern books began sharing similar themes and styles of writing.

Themes that focused on hypocrisy and racism in society were now not taboo subject’s to write about. Informal and illustrative styles of writing were now being used in the modern American novels. A modern American novel, like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is literature that breaks away from traditional styles, in accordance with modern ideas. Hemmingway was easy to agree with in what he believed and given the effect that the book had on society, he was right.


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