Twain’s Develops His Satire as a Printers Apprentice

Mark Twain is known for Satire in his novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but it turns out that satire was also very prominent in Twain’s newspaper articles. Mark Twain was a printer’s apprentice for the Hannibal Journal, which he did not get payed for. Mark Twain’s brother, Owen, owned the newspaper but strangely he did not pay Twain. It can be assumed that he doesn’t quit his job because he enjoys writing. That assumption is right. Mark Twain tried to get people’s attention by including things such as a shocking story with the headline of “Terrible Accident!” and below wrote, “500 MEN KILLED AND MISSING!!”, which as you may expect got the attention of most people. Twain included the false information about lost and deceased men in a steamboat accident to make fun of newspapers that distort truth for headlines and sales. Creating satire in writing is Twain’s enjoyment. Satire was not only prominent in Huckleberry Finn, as Twain satirized the idea of civilization, but Twain was also known for satire in his newspaper articles at the Hannibal Journal.


Image from Ken Burns Documentary.

Mark Twain is known for his satirical pieces of writing. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Twain makes a joke out of English teachers, as they are always trying to find a plot and deeper meaning to stories. He writes, “Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot” (pg. 130). Twain also uses satire to get the attention of his readers in his newspaper articles previously mentioned, the steamboat accident that didn’t actually happen and 500 people who were not killed. Twain included this in the newspaper to generate interest. Similar to Twain’s tactics in the Hannibal Journal, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Twain also uses satire and reverse psychology to grab his reader’s attention.


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1 Response to Twain’s Develops His Satire as a Printers Apprentice

  1. Braden Kane says:

    There was perfect use of examples backing up satire in Twain’s writing used in this. Did using satire in Twain’s writings make him a better writer? To polish up your post, try to shorten down some of the examples used.

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