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Mark Twain Criticism

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 9 (2168 words)
Categories: Criticism
Downloads: 5
Views: 5
Source A
Rohter, Larry. “Dead for a Century, Twain Says What He Meant.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 July 2010. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Source A
Motivation/intent

“One thing that gets Mark Twain going is his rage and resentment. There are a number of passages where he wants to get even, to settle scores with people whom he really despises. He is invective.”

Shows a motivation for his writing.

Source B
Style

“I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences.

That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart.

An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”
– Letter to D. W. Bowser, 20 March 1880

Shows writing style

Source B
Style

“Well, my book is written–let it go. But if it were only to write over again there wouldn’t be so many things left out. They burn in me; and they keep multiplying; but now they can’t ever be said. And besides, they would require a library–and a pen warmed up in hell.”
– Letter to W. D. Howells, 22 Sept 1889 (referring to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court)

Is a reflection on his writing style.

Source B
“Mark Twain Quotations – Writing.” Mark Twain Quotations – Writing. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Source C
Style

“My Dear Howells:
It is a splendid notice, & will embolden weak-kneed journalistic admirers to speak out, & will modify or shut up the unfriendly. To “fear God & dread the Sunday school” exactly describes d that old feeling which I used to have but I couldn’t have formulated it.1 I want to enclose of one of the illustrations in this letter, if I do not forget it.2 Of course the book is to be elaborately illustrated, & I think that many of the pictures are considerably above the American average, in conception if not in execution.”

Mark Twain on “The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer”

Source D
Strengths and Weaknesses

“If Mr. Clemens has been wanting in continuity in his longer sketches, and that sustained inventive power necessary in dovetailing incidents, Tom, as a story, though slightly disjointed, has this defect less apparent.”

Shows strengths and weakness of Tom Sawyer.

Source D
“NY Times Reviews Tom Sawyer.” NY Times Reviews Tom Sawyer. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Source D
Strengths and Weaknesses

“As a humorist, Mr. Clemens has a great deal of fun in him, of the true American kind, which crops out all over the book.”

Shows the Strengths of Tom Sawer.

Source D
Worldwide Audience

“Mr. Clemens has an audience both here and in England, and doubtless his friends across the water will re-echo “the hearty laughs which the reading of Tom Sawyer will cause on this side of the world.”

Shows how audiences around the world share the same reaction to Twain’s writing.

Source D
Impact of book/writing

“We are rather inclined to treat books intended for boys and girls, written by men of accredited talent and reputation, in a serious manner. Early impressions are the lasting ones. It is exactly such a clever book as Tom Sawyer which is sure to leave its stamp on younger minds. We like, then, the true boyish fun of Tom and Huck, and have a foible for the mischief these children engage in. We have not the least objection that rough boys be the heroes of a story-book. Restless spirits of energy only require judicious training in order to bring them into proper use.”

Shows the impact the book has on young children.

Source D
Strengths and Weaknesses

“We have before expressed the idea that a truly clever child’s book is one in which both the man and the boy can find pleasure. No child’s book can be perfectly acceptable otherwise. Is Tom Sawyer amusing? It is incomparably so. It is the story of a Western boy, born and bred on the banks of one of the big rivers, and there is exactly that wild village life which has schooled many a man to self-reliance and energy. Mr. Clemens has a remarkable memory for those peculiarities of American boy-talk which the grown man may have forgotten, but which return to him not unpleasantly when once the proper key is sounded. “

Shows how his writing is able to reach a wide variety of people in a bunch of age categories.

Source E
Motivation/Intent

“Tom Sawyer, as we are told in the Preface, is intended primarily for the amusement of children, but it is hoped that “it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try pleasantly to remind adults of what they once were themselves.”

Mark Twain on the intent behind The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Source E
Strengths/Weaknesses

“We fear these elegant extracts give but a faint idea of the drollery in which the book abounds; for the fact is that the best part of the fun lies in the ludicrous individuality of Tom himself, with whom we have been gradually growing familiar. But we should say that a perusal of Tom Sawyer is as fair a test as one could suggest of anybody’s appreciation of the humorous.”

Gives an idea of something that might be considered a weakness of his writing.

Source E
Strengths/Weaknesses

“The drollery is often grotesque and extravagant, and there is at least as much in the queer Americanizing of the language as in the ideas it expresses. Practical people who pride themselves on strong common sense will have no patience with such vulgar trifling. But those who are alive to the pleasure of relaxing from serious thought and grave occupation will catch themselves smiling over every page and exploding outright over some of the choicer passages.”

Shows how different audiences might react to the drollery.

Source E
“London Times Reviews Tom.” London Times Reviews Tom. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Source F
Worldwide Audience

“The phrase “A tale for young people of all ages” is an example of a paradox conventionally resolved by saying that “young” refers not to chronological age but to a state of mind–the novel is for any reader young at heart. Read this way, the subtitle asks readers to shed adult preconceptions, including perhaps the conventions of language and referentiality”

Shows intended audience.

Source F
Strengths/weakenesses

“Much of the novel’s meaning is conveyed through its puns–not only expected plays on “cant/ Canty” and “mark” but also the homology drawn between “offal” and the different meanings of “awful.” (6) to language as sound and to multivalent meaning may exemplify the trait of being “young” in the subtitle’s sense.”

Shows the place where Twain is successful in his writing.

Source F
Motivation/intent

“Like all of Clemens’s dedications, this one reinforces the artificiality of Twain, the invented narrator but is particularly important as a message of transmittal from father to daughter; as such, it deconstructs the bias toward patrilinealism and primogeniture built into the English monarchy and the cultural institutions that flowed from it. (As Twain’s preface will make clear, a male bias has always been part of the transmission of stories.)”

It shows his inspiration and motivation while crafting his book, it shows what pushes him forward into his writing.

Source F
Motivation/intent

“Where earlier authors looked to England and Europe for aesthetic inspiration and cultural validation, writes Powers, Twain provided a “radically new native voice [that was] diametrically the opposite of Jamesian eloquence [and which] radiated, in its very homespun ardency, a new sort of American truth.”

Shows where Twain got his motivation and inspiration for his writing and how this was perceived.

Source F (Marvel Source)
Morris, Christopher. “The Deconstruction of Self and State in The Prince and the Pauper.” Studies in the Humanities. Dec, 2011, Vol. 38 Issue 1, P87, 25 P. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of English, 2011. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.

Source F
Worldwide Audience

“Powers, a Pulitzer Prize winner for Flags of Our Fathers, argues that the man born Samuel Clemens “democratized the national voice by availing it of vernacular; rough action that sprawled over waterway and open terrain; comedy political consciousness, and skepticism toward the very idea of lofty instruction.”

Showed how international audiences responded to his work.

Source E
Worldwide Audience

“To our English notions, Tom appears to have been a portentous phenomenon, and his eventful career exhibits an unprecedented precocity. His conceptions were as romantic as their execution was audacious. Holding all sedentary occupations in aversion, his cast of thought was as original as his quaint felicity of picturesque expression. We are very sure there are no such boys in this country, and even in the States it may be supposed that the breed has been dying out”

A comparison is made between how the book shows a difference in the reactions and behavior of children in London and the children in America and how Lomdon views Americans as a result of Twain’s work.

Source E
Style

“Mark Twain belongs to a somewhat different school of writers from Miss Yonge, and Tom Sawyer is a characteristic production of his genius. We recognize the germ of it in the stories of the good and bad little boys, which went some way towards making their author’s popularity.”

Show how people respond to his unique style of writing.

Source E
Worldwide Audience

“It is only once in many years that such a charming book as Little Alice in Wonderland is produced, which old and young could read with thorough enjoyment.”

Shows how the audience reacts to the book by making a compariosn between Twain’s book and other well-known, loved books.

Source E
Impact of Book/writing

“If, thirty years ago, Tom Sawyer had been placed in a careful father’s hands to read, the probabilities would have been that he would have hesitated before giving the book to his boy – not that Mr. Clemens’ book is exceptional in character, or differs in the least, save in its cleverness, from a host of similar books on like topics which are universally read by children today. It is the judgment of the book-givers which has undoubtedly undergone a change, while youthful minds, being free from warp, twist, or dogma, have remained ever the same.”

Shows how parents react to the book, how they might be a bit apprehensive to Schafer with their children.

Source E
Style

“Returning then to these purely intellectual monstrosities, mostly the pen-and-ink offspring of authors and authoresses who never had any real flesh and blood creations of their own, there can be no doubt that had Sandford or Merton ever for a single moment dipped inside of Tom Sawyer’s pages, astronomy and physics, with all the musty old farrago of Greek and Latin history, would have been thrown to the dogs.”

A comparison is made between other well-known authors and Mark Twain.

Source E

“Despite tasseled caps, starched collars, and all the proprieties, these children would have laughed uproariously over Tom Sawyer’s “cat and the pain-killer,” and certain new ideas might have had birth in their brains.”

Shows how the writing would cause even the most pristine kids to

Source E
Impact of book/writing

“Tom Sawyer is likely to inculcate the idea that there are certain lofty aspirations which Plutarch never ascribed to his more prosaic heroes. Books for children in former bygone periods were mostly constructed in one monotonous key. A child was supposed to be a vessel which was to be constantly filled up. Facts and morals had to be taken like bitter draughts or acrid pills. In order that they should be absorbed like medicines it was perhaps a kindly thinker who disguised these facts and morals.”

Shows the impact that his writing may have on children (inspires lofty aspirations to be a hero).

Source E
Impact of book/writing

“In the books to be placed into children’s hands for purposes of recreation, we have a preference for those of a milder type than Tom Sawyer. Excitements derived from reading should be administered with a certain degree of circumspection. A sprinkling of salt in mental food is both natural and wholesome; any cravings for the contents of the castors, the cayenne and the mustard, by children, should not be gratified.”

Shows a reaction to the impact (or fear of an impact) that the book has on the children/audience.

Source E
Impact of book/writing

“With less, then, of Injun Joe and “revenge,” and “slitting women’s ears,” and the shadow of the gallows, which throws an unnecessarily sinister tinge over the story, (if the book really is intended for boys and girls) we should have liked Tom Sawyer better.”

Shows a reaction to the impact the book has on children.

Cite this essay

Mark Twain Criticism. (2018, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/mark-twain-criticism-essay

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