In the biography Mark Twain: The Divided Mind of America’s Best-Loved Writer by David W. Levy it was made clear that Mark Twain was very involved with all the society changes in his time period. Many of his novels have a theme circulating around the different changes and problems in society including slavery and racism. Mark Twain has been through the years preceding the Civil War, the Gilded Age and industrialization, this book explores his attitude and actions during the time period.
This book is very good with explaining and going into detail about what happened in Mark Twain’s life in the 18th and 19th century. Mark Twain was born November 30, 1835 in Missouri. His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He grew up through many changes in history including the gilded age and industrialization. Levy stated “In many ways Twain was a full and eager participant in the dynamic age into which he had matured, an age of machinery and cities, of steam and electricity, of big business, big money, and big schemes” (7).
Mark Twain wrote a book called The Gilded Age in the book he “ created a character named Squire Hawkins, who was lured from Tennessee to a forlorn town in Missouri and who spent his days of dreaming of the riches his family would someday know because of the large tract of land he had acquired back in Tennessee” (16). Mark Twain has written many books that include the themes of racism and slavery. As a kid he was used to be around slaves and play with them. He had no idea that there was something wrong with slavery.
Twains books were really telling the story of his childhood. Huckleberry Finn was one of them, it was a story about a boy who had helped a African American get away from the south. When Twain was younger he learned how to sail by traveling up the Mississippi River. That is how Huck Finn helped Tom Sawyer escape slavery. Levy suggests that Mark Twain was a “remarkable writer. ” His evidence supports his view, he stated “He wrote these works with one eye fixed firmly on their marketability and in that respect proved him an uncanny observer of American popular taste.
But the books he wrote during those fifteen years were so highly regarded by millions of people who bought and read them that he became securely and permanently embedded in the affections of the American people. ” (131) Twain wrote a book called Innocents Abroad and “in the first year it was published it sold 75,000 copies. Then, probably because of a nationwide depression that began in 1873, sales plummeted, reaching only around 7,800 copies in 1873, and 5,100 copies in 1874” (133).
Ernest Hemingway stated “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn”(149). Twain still today is still famous for not only the novels he wrote but also many famous quotes that he has said. Overall, this biography went into details about Mark Twain’s life, from growing up in Hannibal and learning how to sail up and down the Mississippi River to writing novels and becoming one of the greatest writers of the time.
Mark Twain was so famous because he was able to use what everyone wanted to read about in the time. He used themes about slavery and racism also, The Gilded Age. In the Gilded Age many people would dream about being rich and having all the money they could. But, there were many unfortunate people that could not have it that way. This book is a very reliable source because the author does not just talk about Mark Twain but, he also uses some of his quotes and he uses other people’s quotes. This is a well-organized book that was easy to read.