Sorrow and Resilience



Mark Twain is a man went through things and different experiences in his life. The hardship in his life gave him a big gift for his success. The gift is resilience. Twain was born in a poor family so he had to work at the age of going to school. When Twain was elven, his father died. As a result, his first challenge in his life started: Twain has to live independently. Twain was not beat up by the fact that he has to feed himself: he successively worked as a printer, a newspaper deliverer, a typesetter in his brother’s magazine company. He tried to contribute with a dream of being a writer but it didn’t go well. However, God give him another strike in his life: Twain’s brother died in an explosion. The sorrow beat Twain up and stopped him to write any more. He gave up writing immediately and became a ship captain on Mississippi. However, the Civil War broke down his career of being a captain shortly after. This was another strike to his dream of being a captain. Twain decided to fight back against destiny, so he travelled to the west and tried to earn money by doing gold mining. His gold mining travel did not go well. Also he witnessed other people’s suffering of life. This experience beat him down into a depression. He believed that life did not treat him equally and he was meant to lose for a long while. Maybe he realized that only having a heart with resilience and fighting back against life is the only way for him to come out of sarrow and depression. Twain started to spend time writing again. This time, everything comes to him who waits: one of Twain’s contributions made him famous and empowered his dream of writing. When there was nothing but sorrow in his life, Mark Twain kept fighting back and did not give up. He finally got famous and had his own family. It is the ups and downs in his life beat him down, but they also casted him strong resilience. It is the resilience and the unbeatable heart to make his sorrow, unfairness in life to fight back the obstacles in his life and make himself a successful realism writer.Life is filled with yin and yang: there is always a little bit of yin in the yang and there is always some yang in the yin. We can always find something useful from the hardships and sorrow.

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The Captain and his Ship

Mark Twain was an in-depth writer who wrote from experience, many of which he shar


The steamboat was one of the foremost methods of transportation in the nineteenth-century.  Twain wanted to be a steamboat captain since he was a little boy.

ed with the rest of his passengers on steamboats in the mid-1800’s.  In order to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a steamboat captain, Mark Twain, then known as Sam Clements, became an apprentice on a steamboat that would travel up and down the Mississippi River.  The long hours floating along the current of the river gave him life, and he enjoyed the strenuous work.  Vincent E. Valentine, MD, even went on to describe the river as a place of learning for Twain, calling it his “Harvard and Yale.”  Twain gained his voice as a satirical writer aboard the many ships he rode on the Mississippi, mainly by observing the outstanding characteristics of some of the passengers.  He would go on to base some of the characters in his famous novels after the charismatic population of the steamboats.  This voice would never get in the way of his work, though.  Twain wanted to make enough money working on the ship to support himself, and perhaps start his own life.  He was willing to encounter grave circumstances to pilot his own ship and sail up and down the river with unlimited and unchartered freedom.  Not even a ravaging storm could get in the way of his dreams.  These aspirations gave him the ability to share his personality and wit with the coming and going passengers on the steamboats, which was one of the catalysts for his success.  The journey would ultimately be long and incredibly grueling.

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Guns: A Staple of Society

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The Overt Destruction of Reconstruction


A family of slaves living and working on a farm

As a young child growing up, Mark Twain had many experiences that shaped his life, views, and political beliefs, many of which made their way into various pieces of literature. One of the most prominent and vivid experiences he had comes from witnessing a family of slaves chained together, about to be split apart and sold to different owners. They appeared weak, sad, depressed, and all around distraught that they were no longer going to be with each other. Twain was so deeply struck by this that his views on race and slavery were permanently altered. Twain, coming from the Northeast, already had the idea in his head that slavery was a negative aspect of America, however, this experience forced him to look into the eye of America’s darkest detriment and truly understand what plagued the world beyond sickness, warfare, and economic depression. Later in his life, when he was writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he found that he could warp this memory into a lasting idea that would circulate around the world for an indefinite amount of time and truly speak to people of any age. So, in the process of creating Jim, he decided to make the reason that Jim runs away from Miss Watson was because she was going to sell him to another owner. She was going to split him apart from his job, the only thing that he could possibly cling on to in his life, being a slave, and force him to try and listen to someone else he cannot possibly trust.


A family being torn apart and sold into slavery

When families are split apart, there is heartbreak, crying, screaming, and depression. Since Jim has so little to hold precious, he gives everything he has a greater and more substantive meaning, such as he does with the “magic hairball” in the beginning of the book. People are desperate creatures who scramble to find sentiment and meaning in objectively ordinary occurrences, and Twain effectively shows that when someone loses that meaning and hope they so desperately searched for, they have nothing left.


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Mark Twain Biography

Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain. On his way down the Mississippi he decided that he wanted to be a pilot rather than writing on his trip. He spent two years as a cub pilot and received his pilot license in 1859 at the age of 23. He had his own boat for two years until the civil war cut him off. He picked up the term Mark Twain which is two fathoms deep. The term can be a good thing or a bad thing at the same time. When he returned to writing he started to use the name Mark Twain. Clemens was an apprentice for two years for a fee of five hundred. Sam relished the steamboat life with new passengers and different scenery as he went along. His pilot career was short lived because of the civil war which shut down with all traffic halted. Clemens ended up joining the militia which only lasted two weeks.



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Twain’s outlook on African-Americans

Only Twain’s Opinion

In Ken Burn’s video about Mark Twain, Burns describes how Twain thought of Huck and Jim and how he created these characters. Specifically, he talks about African Americans in relation to Jim. Twain’s opinion of African-Americans was that they are just like white people and they deserve the respect that whites get. He even says that he meets an African-American man one day, and had great respect for him. This was very unusual for 18th century writers to emphasize, which exemplifies Twain’s morality and creative writing. Later on in the 1870s, Twain becomes best friends with a runaway slave, named John T. Louis.

Mark Twain and John Lewis

This picture illuminates the friendship Twain carries on with this runaway slave, John T. Lewis

When his family goes on vacation to Elmira, NY, Twain spends time with this runaway slave. They are inseparable. In addition, Twain’s wife was an abolitionist. Therefore, Twain is a different type of 18th century southerner, but he claims and wants to believe that he is not a southerner at all. John T. Louis, Twain’s black friend, stopped a runaway carriage. This shows his true colors and the person he is on the inside, not the person he is perceived to be by the color of his skin. He was a freeborn slave who lives in the south. In conclusion, Twain realizes how hard it would be to be separated from his family. As a result, he sympathizes for these black families who are separated, such as Marry Ann Cord’s family.


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Daniel Quarles, a Metaphor for Jim


John Quarles Farm in Florida, Missouri

Mark Twain´s old friend Daniel Quarles had a lasting impression on Mark Twain, the writer and Samuel Clemens, the human rights activist. Daniel Quarles was a middle age slave belonging to Mark Twain´s uncle, John Quarles. Young Mark Twain, at that time known as Clemens, got to know and admire Daniel Quarles during his voyages to his uncle John Quarle´s farm in Missouri. Daniel Quarles was an amazing story teller who fascinated all family members, especially Clemens. His stories were mostly about his travels with Uncle John Quarles as a slave. On these voyages Daniel Quarles and his wife Hanna, who was also a slave of Uncle Quarles, experienced many things, such as the endless walking to Missouri, which they told Clemens and his cousins. Mark Twain still in his adulthood admired the stories, he heard from Daniel Quarles and Hanna. The characteristics Mark Twain admired in Daniel Quarles were his “sympathies (which) were wide and warm and whose heart was honest and simple and knew no guile”(Autobiography 6). Daniel Quarles was a good friend and advisor, who he claims shaped his “strong like for the (Negro) race”. Throughout the book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” we, the reader, figure out theses democratic sympathies which are unusual for that time and region. Daniel Quarles affected Mark Twain in so many ways that Daniel Quarles became the inspiration for the character Jim in Mark Twain´s book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Uncle Dan´l in The Gilded Age. In “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, Jim is an African American slave who was owned by Mrs. Watson. He runs away to Ohio after he hears that Mrs. Watson is planning on sealing him in Ohio. Later on, he meets Huck who also ran away from Mrs. Watson. They both pair up to experience and survive many adventures. All in all, Daniel Quarles was an important and influential character in Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens lives.

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Ken Burns Twain Bio



Mark Twain, or Samuel Clements, grew up just like any other boy in his time.  He had to work for everything he had in the fight or flight mentality of the time.  These hardships and pain allowed him to gain his humor that made him famous to this day.  His exploration into the human soul is what made him unique.  Twain knew one thing for sure, and that was that every human has a sense of adventure in them. He used this fundamental piece of human character as he wrote riveting tales such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  As his pen flowed across the page in an exposé of literacy expertise, so too did his life flow in highs and lows.  Twain had to work hard to support his family’s lavish lifestyle.  He would disappear for months at a time on the lecture circuit where he would make people laugh, but he was thinking about his family the entire time.  Twain had a knack for knowing what people wanted to hear. This allowed him to be very successful in brightening the lives of thousands of people and made him one of the most influential writers in American literature history.



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Huck Finn Father Son Plot 1/25/17




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