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American Literature: Mark Twain and Realism During the literary time period of Realism

Mark Twain and the school of American Realism

From the above, one realizes that the whole novel concentrates on Huck’s smartness which Twain used to point out the evils of society. Moral improvisation will be considered in more detail in . Twain’s comment on Huck that he was “a boy with a sound heart but with corrupt conscience” provides us with a conclusion to this section, and leads us to other vices that Twain satirized, notably swindling, drunkenness and materialism. But before that let us have a glance at humour which Twain used to denounce the above mentioned vices.

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Realism

Realism, Romanticism, and Politics in Mark Twain

Furthermore, mark Twain denounced violence and murders resulting from drunkenness. The case of the King in , who, after selling Jim for forty dollars, got drunk and fought with the Duke, is a good example. But the most tragic example is in Chapter XXI, in which a town drunkard named Boggs, who harassed Colonel Sherburn with insults was shot dead by the latter. Huck Finn who witnessed the scene described it as follows:

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Mark Twain transferred Uncle Dan’l from his early childhood into under the name of Jim whom he gave the opportunity to show his qualities, namely kindness, loyalty, patience, pity Jim’s worth is proved in , when he was proud of providing Huck with a comfortable “home” in a cave on Jackson’s Island. Also, Jim had sentiments as white men did. About this Huck said:

Mark Twain Biography | List of Works, Study Guides & Essays


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In 1920 biographer Van Wyck Brooks remarked that"to those who are interested in American life and letters there has beenno question of greater significance, during the last few years, than thepessimism of Mark Twain .

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The above definition exactly applies to , for it attacked the vices of the 19th Century American society, with the intention of correcting them. Many of those vices had been witnessed by the author, who was sometimes victim of them. His life and experience provided him with much material, which is estimated at four fifths of all his writings. This proves that Mark Twain dealt with a situation that really existed and which he knew very well. He had lived in many areas, in many conditions, bad and good, had chanced his luck in printing, steamboat piloting, the army, mining, journalism, novel and essay writing, All this rich background and experience allowed him to scorn and ridicule his contemporaries’ misdeeds.

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Also, Mark Twain chose his characters according to what he wanted to denounce, and all contributed to the success of his work. His satire was so severe toward society that the latter considered it to be outrageous, rough, coarse, immoral and inelegant. It was banned from libraries for years. This proves how deeply had reached its targets, namely corrupt society and institutions.

This Research Paper Mark Twain's Impact on American Literature ..

The main theme of is “man’s inhumanity toward man”. Mark Twain depicted it under various forms, notably slavery and violence. These were the first targets of his satire, and the main cause of his pessimism and disappointment. Other minor targets were the frequent vices that had become part of frontier culture and life. These were swindling, drunkenness and materialism. Mark Twain confronted his here with all those evils one by one, and made him overcome them. Some of them were supported by social and religious institutions, and Huck’s victory over them confirmed Twain’s intention to change society.

a new era of American literature emerged in the form of realism.

In short, was aimed at pointing out the ugliness, falseness, dishonesty and hypocrisy of society. As his contemporary writers did, Mark Twain too used the image of the shore being an awful place, and the river a safer and freer one.