The Darkness of Humor in Mark Twain’s Biography

mt-at-desk-cropWhile humor marks laughter, there exists a darker pain within it. Exploring into the world of Mark Twain’s darkness, it is understandable that he overcame his demons with laughter and humor. From his favorite brother dying in a fatal steam boat accident, to trying to commit suicide. Mark Twain transforms the dark and depressing things in life into humor. While his father was always dreadful and depressed from his numerous failed businesses, his mother was the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Always bringing humor and a smile to Sam’s (Mark Twain) face. Through the influence of his mother, Sam learned how to find humor in the dark places. Creating an escape for his readers to briefly forget about all of their problems, and laugh. While Sam was good at making others laugh, he struggled with his own demons. For years Sam worked in his brother’s printing press not making any money. However, by hpicture1aving to hand place each individual letter into a slot to print, Sam quickly learned how to use and manipulate words in a scholarly way. Through this, Sam started his writing carrier. While not getting much recognition for his work, he was satisfied that other people enjoyed what he was writing. After working in the printing press for many year, Sam went on to sail the Mississippi in a steam boat. These were some of the happiest memories he had, creating ideas and influences for upcoming stories such as “The Adventures of Huck Finn”. From his success of being a captain, his brother decided to join him. However, soon after his brother joined a crew for a separate ship, the boat had crashed killing him and many other passengers. Sam fell into a deep depression, blaming himself for the death of his loving brother. During his dark moments in life, Sam joined a faction of the Civil War. Throughout his time as a soldier, Sam did not see much action. Spending his days exploring the forest and smoking from his pipe. After two weeks, Sam left the war to venture on over to Nevada to mine. Despite his experiences in the mine shaft, Sam despised it. Later on, he moved to San Francisco, discovering his true passion of writing. Notwithstanding his depression, Sam decided to start publishing books and stories again. If it was not for his favorite brother dying in a Steam Boat accident, Sam would have never become such an aspiring author he is today. While having to deal with hard depressing moments in life, Sam bounced back through the form of writing and humor, creating the novels that we love and share today.

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2 Responses to The Darkness of Humor in Mark Twain’s Biography

  1. maxwiener18 says:

    Great work here Max. Really like how you emphasized how Twain used the dark areas in his life to express his humor; that really brought the post together. Was it only on the steamboat where Twain learned his narrative and insightful voice? One thing that you can make better is definitely look into the other areas of Twain’s life in which he developed his humor. Solid work Max.

  2. Dr. Nadesan Permaul says:

    There is a broader context to humor in Samuel Clemens. Not only was he attacking the positive vision of American constructed by America’s most popular 19th century author, James Fenimore Cooper, but he was also seeking to find a pedagogy that would educate and entertain an audience that resisted self-criticism. His own disappointment in America comes through the sardonic humor of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which one can see written as a kind of apology for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. But was he successful on both accounts? Ironically, D.H. Lawrence in his work “Studies in Classic American Literature” captures both Cooper and Melville, But he leaves out Mark Twain altogether. Quite a contrast with our national adoration of Clemens. There is no doubt his a great writer, but perhaps we should put him in a proper context.

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