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Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain
Mark Twain was the author of some of the greatest works of American English literature, such as Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain’s real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He used Mark Twain as his “pen name“.
Samuel Clemens was born in the American state of Missouri in 1835. As a child he enjoyed many outdoor activities, such as swimming and fishing. When Samuel was eleven years old, his father died, and he began working to help support his family.
As a young man, Samuel Clemens began to write stories for newspapers. However, he took a job working as a navigator on the steamboats that travelled up and down the Mississippi River. Clemens greatly enjoyed this period of his life, during which time he gained much knowledge about life on the river. He also learned much about human behaviour by observing the many people on the boats and along the river. It was as a result of this time that Clemens began using his pen name, Mark Twain. This name is taken from a term that was used by the men who worked on the river. It is used to describe water that is just deep enough to be navigated safely.
The earliest of Mark Twain’s really famous novels was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This novel describes a boy who engages in much mischief, but who has a kind heart. The story contains several scenes that are quite funny. In one of these, Tom is working at the boring task of painting a fence. He persuades several other boys to help him, by pretending that painting the fence is a fun and enjoyable activity.
Another famous novel by Mark Twain was Life on the Mississippi. This book describes many interesting characters similar to those that Twain actually observed while working on a steamboat. This story gives the reader a vivid image of the people who lived and worked along the Mississippi River.
Probably the best novel by Mark Twain was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel tells the story of a boy who runs away from his violent father. The boy, whose name is Huckleberry Finn, is joined in his escape by a man named Jim. Jim is a slave who has decided to run away from his owners. Huck and Jim travel north along the Mississippi, hoping to reach the areas where slavery is not allowed. In this story, the reader can experience the moral sense of Huckleberry, who must make several important decisions during the escape.
Mark Twain died in 1910, after writing many more novels and many stories of his travels around the world. Twain’s works are still widely read today. His books are appreciated for their humor, for their interesting descriptions of life in nineteenth century America, and for showing both the good and evil that people can do. Many critics consider Twain to have been the greatest American writer.
a name used by a writer instead of their real name
an officer on a ship or aircraft who plans which way it should go when it is travelling from one place to another
to sail along a river or other area of water
The river is too dangerous to navigate.
to be doing or to become involved in an activity
Only 10% of American adults engage in regular exercise.
The two parties engaged upon an escalating political struggle.
Mr Armstrong was engaged in prayer.
engage in doing something
Despite her illness, she remains actively engaged in shaping policy.
bad behaviour, especially by children, that causes trouble or damage, but no serious harm
Now run along, and don’t get into mischief .
They’ve got enough toys to keep them out of mischief for a while.
If you can’t see Nick, you can be sure he’s up to some mischief (=behaving badly and causing trouble or damage) .
where did you hide my book, you mischief?
getting into mischief | She suspected the children were up to some mischief and she found them in the garden digging up the flowers. | We allowed the children to watch a movie on television, to keep them out of mischief.
that produces sharp clear pictures in the mind; lifelike: a vivid description/dream | “I think he’s married to two women.” “Nonsense! You’ve got a vivid imagination!”
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