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Samuel Clemens better known as Mark Twain speaks best about the American experience through is unique literary voice, and through his classic writing techniques. His humorous writing tone, accomplished by over exaggeration, brought him to be one of the finest American fiction writers of his time. Regional dialect and slang were just a few of his techniques used in capturing the local color of the United States, and they helped win his way into the hearts of thousands.

Twain, from a river town called Hannibal, was no stranger to the ways of the country and river. Quite often his stories were based on his own experiences in this setting. The use of a regional dialect like in “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was more pleasing for the public to read and was also more towards their standards of reading. His knowledge and use of local dialect, and his life experiences in the heart of America helped make his literature be “American” and helped create the American experience.

Twains humor in his stories was used partly because it was his way of writing but also because during those times America was going through great tribulation and was in need of relief from the Civil war. Through humor he eased the pains of America and also made himself a popular literary figure of the time. In the story “Life on the Mississippi” he writes of the life in a small town on the Mississippi where steamboats passed and little boys dreamed. Written about a small average American town, yet there is so much truth revealed within it and how it is the American experience. He traveled through out America experiencing much of the country, the life and the people, and writing things down as he went along. He used these experiences as the basis for his stories and since they were based on truth, spoke of America, and included humor, were a great success and still stand as American classics today.

Mark Twain, spoke about what it was to be an American, he gave stories like “Huckleberry Finn” which captured the idea of what it was and is to be an American boy. Apple pie, baseball, cornfields for miles, all American icons, were included in Twains stories. Twain wrote of what it was to be an American, what it was like for a child in this country, skipping school, down by the river, images familiar to everyone, especially to Americans. He discussed their relationships their hardships dealing with life, and all the time in his unique literary form that we have come to love. What person hasn’t heard of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? Americans grow up hearing the stories, dreaming about them , because they are American.

Mark Twains success in writing came due to the fact that he wrote of the truths and tribulations of a country, using humor and narration, to captivate audiences, and those stories are the quintessential image of what it is to be an American.


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