He was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie. John Paul Cited by:
See Article History Alternative Titles: Youth Samuel Clemens, the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens, was born two months prematurely and was in relatively poor health for the first 10 years of his life.
His mother tried various allopathic and hydropathic remedies on him during those early years, and his recollections of those instances along with other memories of his growing up would eventually find their way into Tom Sawyer and other writings.
Because he was sickly, Clemens was often coddled, particularly by his mother, and he developed early the tendency to test her indulgence through mischief, offering only his good nature as bond for the domestic crimes he was apt to commit.
When Jane Clemens was in her 80s, Clemens asked her about his poor health in those early years: John Clemens, by all reports, was a serious man who seldom demonstrated affection. No doubt his temperament was affected by his worries over his financial situation, made all the more distressing by a series of business failures.
It was the diminishing fortunes of the Clemens family that led them in to move 30 miles 50 km east from FloridaMissourito the Mississippi River port town of Hannibalwhere there were greater opportunities.
|Shooting An Elephant by George Orwell||In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people — the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter.|
In the meantime, the debts accumulated. Still, John Clemens believed the Tennessee land he had purchased in the late s some 70, acres [28, hectares] might one day make them wealthy, and this prospect cultivated in the children a dreamy hope.
Late in his life, Twain reflected on this promise that became a curse: It put our energies to sleep and made visionaries of us—dreamers and indolent. The man who has not experienced it cannot imagine the curse of it. Judging from his own speculative ventures in silver miningbusiness, and publishing, it was a curse that Sam Clemens never quite outgrew.
Perhaps it was the romantic visionary in him that caused Clemens to recall his youth in Hannibal with such fondness. The gamblers, stevedores, and pilots, the boisterous raftsmen and elegant travelers, all bound for somewhere surely glamorous and exciting, would have impressed a young boy and stimulated his already active imagination.
And the lives he might imagine for these living people could easily be embroidered by the romantic exploits he read in the works of James Fenimore CooperSir Walter Scottand others. Those same adventures could be reenacted with his companions as well, and Clemens and his friends did play at being pirates, Robin Hoodand other fabled adventurers.
Among those companions was Tom Blankenship, an affable but impoverished boy whom Twain later identified as the model for the character Huckleberry Finn. There were local diversions as well—fishing, picnicking, and swimming. It is not surprising that the pleasant events of youth, filtered through the softening lens of memory, might outweigh disturbing realities.
However, in many ways the childhood of Samuel Clemens was a rough one. Death from disease during this time was common. His sister Margaret died of a fever when Clemens was not yet four years old; three years later his brother Benjamin died.
When he was eight, a measles epidemic potentially lethal in those days was so frightening to him that he deliberately exposed himself to infection by climbing into bed with his friend Will Bowen in order to relieve the anxiety. A cholera epidemic a few years later killed at least 24 people, a substantial number for a small town.
Even before that year, however, continuing debts had forced them to auction off property, to sell their only slave, Jennie, to take in boarders, even to sell their furniture.
Apart from family worries, the social environment was hardly idyllic. Missouri was a slave state, and, though the young Clemens had been reassured that chattel slavery was an institution approved by God, he nevertheless carried with him memories of cruelty and sadness that he would reflect upon in his maturity.
Then there was the violence of Hannibal itself.
In January Clemens watched a man die in the street after he had been shot by a local merchant; this incident provided the basis for the Boggs shooting in Huckleberry Finn. Two years later he witnessed the drowning of one of his friends, and only a few days later, when he and some friends were fishing on Sny Island, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, they discovered the drowned and mutilated body of a fugitive slave.
He lived sparingly in the Ament household but was allowed to continue his schooling and, from time to time, indulge in boyish amusements.
Nevertheless, by the time Clemens was 13, his boyhood had effectively come to an end. Apprenticeships In the oldest Clemens boy, Orion, returned from St. Louis, Missouri, and began to publish a weekly newspaper. A year later he bought the Hannibal Journal, and Sam and his younger brother Henry worked for him.
Having acquired a trade by age 17, Clemens left Hannibal in with some degree of self-sufficiency. For almost two decades he would be an itinerant labourer, trying many occupations. He worked briefly as a typesetter in St. Louis in before traveling to New York City to work at a large printing shop.
From there he went to Philadelphia and on to Washington, D. During his time in the East, which lasted until earlyhe read widely and took in the sights of these cities.May 13, · Roger Rosenblatt Credit Chester Higgins Jr./ The New York Times. The world of orderly decency, harmless ceremonies and modest expectations, i.e., family life, is not the writer’s.
Disputed . When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
Not found in Twain's works, this was attributed to him in Reader's Digest (September ): no prior attribution known.; I take my only exercise .
Mark Twain, considered America’s greatest writer, was far more than a humorist. After the Civil War, he served as America’s conscience on ethnic and racial issues. Mark Twain and the Onset of the Imperialist Period. By R.
Titta. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens, ) came to anti-imperialism by way of a prior understanding of race. Jennie Clemens, ( - ) Samuel Clemens's niece: MARK TWAIN'S QUARREL WITH UNDERTAKERS: It All Begins with Jennie "Tragedy always leaves a psychic scar upon a site, and there is nothing so heart-rending as the death of a beloved child.".
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