Published:  12:00 AM, 22 December 2016

Mark Twain: The wizard of American fiction

Mark Twain: The wizard of American fiction

Mark twain is a perpetually scintillating name as far as American literature is concerned. The American Romantic Movement that emerged during the 19th century with strong transcendental underpinnings reached its cliff through the striking and fabulous novels and stories by Stephen Crane, Herman Melville and Mark Twain.

As found in most of the books by Mark Twain, he was deeply fond of the variety and splendor American outdoor life offers. We find his protagonists crossing rivers, running through jungles, moving around marketplaces and countryside questing for the essence of life. Samuel Langhorne Clemens is the author's original name while his pen name Mark Twain is best-known to readers.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is viewed as Mark Twain's masterpiece. Huck Finn, a white American orphan roams across different parts of America. However, the major events of the novel take place on Jackson Island on the Mississippi river.

Huck Finn is found deeply attached to Jim, an absconding slave who ran away from his repressive white masters and Huck Finn made friends with him. Huck Finn is a white American boy while Jim is an Afro-American slave but this dissimilarity of complexion poses no barrier to their friendship. History tells us, slavery was a glaring social stigma in America during 19th century. The philanthropic Americans had to fight a war during 1861 to 1865 to eliminate slavery and to liberate black slaves.

Mark Twain expressed his disapproval to slavery by portraying a selfless friendship between Huck Finn and Jim. He wanted all Americans to treat each other equally with compassion and amity irrespective of the color of their skin. A profound humanitarian theme jingles in the story of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Huck Finn held a cynical attitude towards the so-called civilized American society. The word "civilization" seemed ironical to him because of the discrimination he witnessed among civilized people. On a few occasions, some kindhearted American ladies wanted to adopt Huck Finn but every time he managed to escape.

The indoor household regulations seemed unpleasant to him while the charm of outdoor life attracted him most. Though Huck Finn is found quite sarcastic and carefree in his approach to life, however, he remained very loyal and affectionate to Jim, the black slave.

It shows Huck Finn had a broad heart and had a benevolent vision towards the Afro-American masses. He is surprised to see people antagonizing and assaulting each other for money and wealth. He questions himself why people don't like to live in peace.

What made Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a timeless work of literature is the outstanding quality of the author to convey grim messages about social perils through a fun-packed style of narrating the story.

It is an attribute that very few authors of the world have been able to master and Mark Twain is one of them. Mark Twain showed the murky stains of American society through the words spoken by Huck Finn but these words are not at all parochial. Rather the diction Mark Twain applied in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn sounds very light and amazingly enough, this frivolous narrative style has succeeded to inscribe deep marks on the minds of countless readers.

With this superbly unconventional style, Mark Twain reconstructed the American way of telling stories and while doing so he highlighted the colloquial American confabs that always come with easy-going gestures. So, the lingual modality of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn deserves special attention from readers that have a knack for linguistic analysis of literature.

Mark Twain actually upheld the watchwords of humanity, liberty and egalitarian values through the events he depicted in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He characterized Huck Finn as his spokesman to champion the notions he believed in, the dreams he cherished glancing ahead for an America free of injustice and social disparities. To recall a few lines from Ernest Hemingway, "All modern American literature comes from Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. There was nothing before.

There has been nothing as good since." These compliments bear the evidence that the magically fascinating stories by Mark Twain have stood the test of time and have proven to be ideal works of classical fiction. Mark Twain's another book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a dazzling evidence of this American wizard's juggling dexterity with presenting fictitious things in a marvelously credible style.

Hank Morgan, the focal figure of the book, is fainted during a clash with co-workers in a factory in the American city of Connecticut. When he wakes up he finds himself in a totally unknown place surrounded by strangers. Later on he discovers to his utter surprise that somehow he had traveled back by several hundred years arriving in medieval England under the reign of King Arthur.

The whims and fancies of the English monarch he witnessed at the royal court of King Arthur add wonderfully hilarious and thrilling edges to this story.

The Diaries of Adam and Eve another mind-blowing book by Mark Twain also deserves to be addressed in any evaluation of American literature. Over a period of twelve years, since 1893 till1905, Mark Twain wrote a number of tiny stories in the form of dialogues between Adam and Eve. Mark Twain's eagerness with a theological issue like Adam and Eve has a far-fetched bequest, found in some of his initial books.

 In Innocents Abroad we find him exploring a site known as Adam's grave, calling back the loving memories of his dead ancestors. In these two books, Mark Twain exhibited a good amount of bravery in the middle of a society where dealing with Biblical mythology with a fictional approach was not entertained. However, The Diaries of Adam and Eve is now considered one of the finest creations by Mark Twain and is widely perused by bookworms.

 The first ever romance that took place in the Garden of Eden and its tumultuous proceeding on earth following the expulsion of Adam and Eve have been movingly illustrated by Mark Twain in this book.

Putting words on to the lips of Adam and Eve and making them speak out their joys and agonies like all other humans around was a fictional expertise that perhaps could only be shown by a phenomenal author like Mark Twain. This great author dwells eternally in the minds of readers by virtue of his charismatic creativity.


The writer is a columnist for The Asian Age

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