Social background of Mark Twain
Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in village Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missoouri. At age four, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a large town on the Mississippi River where the steamboat came. As a young boy, he dreamed of becoming a steamboat pilot, navigating the fancy boats from city up and down the Mississippi River. It was a steady, well-paying and exciting career.
However, his father died in 1847, and 12-year-old Twain left school to work as a typesetter for a newspaper in order to earn money for his family. At the newspaper, he dabbled in writing, sometimes publishing his own articles. Over the next decade, Twain worked as a printer at newspapers in numerous U.S. cities.
Nevertheless, in 1857, he returned to Hanniball and became a steamboat pilot apprentice a dream come true. He earned his licence in 1859, but the outbreak of the civil war in 1861 in 1861 put a halt to river trade, and cut short his career.
In the summer of 1861, Twain boarded a stagecoach headed to nevada to try his luck at silver mining. While in Nevada, he rekindled his desire to write, becoming a journalist for the local newspaper, the “Territorial Enterprise.” There he adopted his pen name, Mark Twain (a steamboat term meaning “second mark” on the depth measuring line, that indicated 12 feet of water a depth safe enough for a steamboat to pass through).
In 1865,Twain was sent as a correspondent to the Exotic Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. His articles on Hawaii I were so popular that when he returned to the United States, he went on a lecture tour, getting paid to tell stories about his experience of the islands.
He next worked as a correspondent in Europe and the Middle East which inspired his book. “The Innocents Abroad” a humorous tale of American tourists in the Old World. While working as an overseas correspondent. Twain became friends with Charles Langdon, his future brother-in-law. When they returned to the United States, Twain met Langdon’s sister, Olivia and they were later married in 1870. Twain and his wife settled in Hartford, Connecticut , where he focused on writing novels.
Unlike American writers before him, Twain Road his stories in an emerging American vernacular using the speech of common folk. His writing style reflected his hardscrabble life on the Frontier, the Mississippi River and the Wild West. His writing addressed corruption that he saw in Post-Civil War Government and business. His novel, “The Gilded Age,” (he coined the term) exposed to the American public the greed of the rapidly industrializing and newly wealthy country.
Twain also used his sardonic humour to criticize American attitudes. His Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a witty and wry novel, exposing American hypocrisy and racism toward African Americans. Twain was an abolitionist and an ardent supporter of civil rights for African Americans and women, even campaigning for women’s suffrage.
Twain was a master American author. He identified and used a uniquely American voice throughout this prolific writing career, from journalist to novelist. He employed humour and wit to expose the corruption, greed and blind ambition that he saw emerging in post Civil War Society.
On April 21, 1910, Mark Twain considered by future American writers as the father of modern American literature died at his home in Connecticut.