An Analysis of a Young Man's Life on the Mississippi

Although Mark Twain was primarily recognized and known as a humorist during his life, scholars now regard his work as some of the best and most authentic in American literature. The uses of his personal experiences and knowledge obtained on the Mississippi River dominate Twains legacy (Twain, Mark). Through his works, Twain accurately depicts the life of a youth on the Mississippi in midrnineteenthrcentury America. One of his most popular novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer helps some adults remember what they once were themselves (Mark Twain in His Times).

Mark Twain took a boy of the Southwest for the hero of his novel, TheAdventures of Tom Sawyer, and has presented him With a fidelity to circumstance that loses no charm by being realistic in the highest degree. Twain deals With the escapades of a young boy groWing up on the Mississippi River. He gives incomparably, the best picture of life in that region that had yet been known to fiction.

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The town where Tom Sawyer was born and brought up is some such idle. shabby little Mississippi River town as Twain has so well described in his piloting reminiscences, Yet, Tom belongs to the better sort of people in it, and has been bred to fear God and dread the Sunday school according to the strictest rite of the faiths that have characterized all the respectability of the Mississippi. His subjection in these respects does not so deeply affect his inherent tendencies but that he makes himself a beloved burden to the poor, tender—hearted old aunt who brings him up With his orphan brother and sister, and struggles vainly With his manifold sins, actual and imaginary.

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The limitations of his transgressions are nicely and artistically traced. He is mischievous, but not vicious; he is ready for almost any depredation that involves the danger and honor of adventure, but profanity he knows may provoke a thunderbolt upon the heart of the blasphemer, and he almost never swears; he resorts to any strategy to keep out of school. but he is not a downright liar, except upon terms of after shame and remorse that make his falsehood bitter to him. He is cruel. as all children are. but chiefly because he is ignorant; he is not mean, but there are very definite bounds to his generosity: and his courage is full of prudence and mindful of retreat as one of the conditions of prolonged hostilities (Mark Twain. Ed, Jon 0.). Like any other youth of his time, he got into trouble and lots of it. not necessarily because he was bad either. In a word, he was a boy. and merely and exactly an ordinary boy on the moral side. In that time period there wasnt TV or the computer, Boys had fun however they could, even if it meant terrorizmg the neighbors, building makeshift steamboats, or testing the wart curing theories of dead cats.

Like many young men growmg up in all time periods, he had wild and fantastic dreams; Tom couldnt rest till he had somehow realized them, Till he had actually run off With two other boys in the character of buccaneer, and lived for aweek on an island in the Mississippi. he had lived in vain; and that passage was but the prelude to more thrilling adventures. in which he found hidden treasures, traced the bandits to their cave, and was himself lost in its recesses. When the halfabreed murdered the young doctor, Tom and his friend. Huckleberry Finn, are really, in their boyish terror and superstition. going to let the poor old townrdrunkard be hanged for the crime, till the terror of that becomes unendurable. The story is awonderful study of the boyrmind, which inhabits a world quite distinct from that in which he is bodily present with his elders, and in this lies its great charm and its universality, for boy-nature, however human nature varies, is the same everywhere (Twain, Mark). The tale was very dramatically wrought, and the subordinate characters are treated With the same graphic force that sets Tom alive before us, The worthless Vagabond. Huck Finn, is entirely delightful throughout, and in his promised reform his identity is respected: he will lead a decent life in order that he may one day be thought worthy to become a member of that gang of robbers which Tom is to organize. Tom’s aunt is excellent, With her kind heart’s sorrow and secret pride in Tom; and so is his sister Mary one of those good girls who are born to usefulness and charity and forbearance and unvaiying rectitude. Many village people and local notables are introduced in wellrconceived character: the whole little town lives in the reader’s sense, with its religiousness, its lawlessness. its droll social distinctions, its civilization qualified by its slaverholding. and its traditions of the wilder West which has passed away. The picture Will be instructive to those who have fancied the whole Southwest a sort of vast Pike County, and have not conceived of a sober and serious and orderly contrast to the sort of life that has come to represent the Mississippi in literature (Clemens, Samuel).

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An Analysis of a Young Man's Life on the Mississippi. (2022, Jul 12). Retrieved from

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