Mark Twain, 1835-1910



Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in Florida, Missouri, of a Virginian family. He was brought up in Missouri. After his father's death in 1847, Twain worked as a licensed Mississippi river-boat pilot (1857-61), adopting his name from the call ("Mark twain!", meaning by the mark of two fathoms, a linear unit of measurement for water depth) used when sounding river shallows. But this isn't the full story: he had also satirized an older writer, Isaiah Sellers, who called himself Mark Twain. In 1864 he left for California, and worked in San Francisco as a reporter. During a period when he was out of work, he lived in a primitive cabin on Jackass Hill and tried his luck as a gold-miner. In the 1890s Twain lost most of his earnings in financial speculations and in the downhill of his own publishing firm. The death of both his wife in 1904 in Florence and his favorite daughter Susy darkened the author's later years and he died on April 21, 1910.

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An imaginative and mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt Polly and his half-brother, Sid, in the Mississippi River town of St. Petersburg, Missouri. After playing hooky from school on Friday and dirtying his clothes in a fight, Tom is made to whitewash the fence as punishment on Saturday. At first, Tom is disappointed by having to forfeit his day off. However, he soon cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the privilege of doing his work. He trades these treasures for tickets given out in Sunday school for memorizing Bible verses and uses the tickets to claim a Bible as a prize. He loses much of his glory, however, when, in response to a question to show off his knowledge, he incorrectly answers that the first two disciples were David and Goliath.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" opens by familiarizing us with the events of the novel that preceded it, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer". Both novels are set in the town of St. Petersburg, Missouri, which lies on the banks of the Mississippi River. At the end of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, a poor boy with a drunken bum for a father, and his friend Tom Sawyer, a middle-class boy with an imagination too active for his own good, found a robber’s stash of gold. As a result of his adventure, Huck gained quite a bit of money, which the bank held for him in trust. Huck was adopted by the Widow Douglas, a kind but stifling woman who lives with her sister, the self-righteous Miss Watson.



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