"The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, was a major American writer from Missouri (Hartke). According to Gribben, Samuel Clemens employed his pen name Mark Twain in Nevada and California. Thanks to his good sense of humor, vivid details, and the characters he would come up with in his novels or stories he grabbed so many peoples attention. Which led to his two classics in American Literature known as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Personal Background

Samuel Clemens also known as Mark Twain was born in a little town of Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835. According to Quirk, he was the sixth child of seven children and his parents were Jane Moffit and John Marshall. When Twain was four years old, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri. Twain's father was a professional lawyer but not successful. However he was very intelligent and much disciplined. "Although the family was not wealthy, Twain apparently had a happy and secure childhood(cliffnotes)" and made sure to enjoy every moment of it. Twain's father died when Twain was eleven years old according to Hartke, and for the next ten years, Twain was an apprentice printer both in Hannibal and in New York City. On a riverboat
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to New Orleans, he met a famous riverboat pilot who promised to teach him for five hundred dollars. After completing his training, he piloted riverboats along the Mississippi for four years. During this time, he became familiar with the towns along the Mighty River and became close with the characters who would later come out in many of his future novels. Some of the novels that are mostly recognized by the characters he came close to are Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. He was mainly known as a major American writer from Missouri. He married Olivia Langdon on February 2, 1870, and had three children named Olivia Susan, Clara, and Jean Lampton, but sadly her wife passed away on the year 1904. Six years later on April 21, 1910 Mark Twain dies from numerous age related conditions, including angina, rheumatism, arthritis, and chronic bronchitis. Now Mark Twain's family rests in Elmira N.Y., which is known as Olivia's hometown(Brooks).

Personality Traits

"Optimist: Person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness."-Mark Twain


Mark Twain was known all around as a positive and an optimistic man, according to Railton. Even though Twain had plenty of obstacles in his life, he would still picture it as an adventure. Never would he give up in looking for a solution. Believe it or not, many of his quotes let us know a little about the way he thought, and saw life. "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter." - Mark Twain. In this quote he shows us how our mind creates a reality, that lets us control what we want to or don't want see or do. The things that Twain would have to go through to succeed in life never brought him down, instead he got to meet new people and new places. Which shows us how optimistic he was, instead of giving up, for him every day was a new challenge that he will overcome. The fact that Twain would always be looking out for his family, also showed us his caring side. Incredibly, he was never known to be rude, or pessimist, instead he would inspire others to be just as optimistic about life as he was. Mark Twains style, when writing his novels, is realism. when writing a novel, the first goal of Mark Twain is to make his characters realistic and believable. Sometimes he talks about his character's past so the readers can get to know them better. He shows us how slavery is evil, and that the colored people are equal to everyone else. That is what many people loved about him.


" Challenges make life interesting, however, overcoming them is what makes them meaningful."-Mark Twain.This quote from Twain shows us how even though he did go through some obstacles, he saw them as an adventure in life to see where it will lead him. According to Gribben when Twain was three years old his sister Margaret passed away. During those years Twain’s family was going through a harsh financial moment, because even though his dad was a lawyer he wasn’t successful. So they decided to move to Hannibal, Missouri where slavery was legal, and they had to get used to it. There his father passed away of a sickness called pneumonia (Qin). For a whole year he was looking for a job, and he ended up being a printer’s apprentice. Since he was a little boy he wished to become a pilot, only because of the money that they received (Quirk). Soon marianamarktwain.jpgafter he did accomplish to get hired, and all he did was travel around. So he convinced his brother to work with him, not knowing that the boat that his brother got on was going to explode. After that Twain felt that he can never forgive himself for what happened to his brother. Meaning Twain decided to accuse himself responsible, for his brother’s death, since he convinced him to get the job (Railton).Soon after he got married and had three daughters and one son but the son died in his first months. Sadly, he ended up having to sell his house to move somewhere where they would be able to cure his wife, and two of his daughters. Since they were going through a harsh sickness, Twain couldn’t just leave his job to attend them, so he still continued working which meant he had to leave them alone (Teobar). Twain ended up losing his two daughters, his wife, and a close friend. Until on April 21, 1910 in Redding, Connecticut Mark Twain died of a heart attack (Teobar).

Historical Significance

One hundred years after his death on April 21, 1910, “Mark Twain remains as central as ever not only in American literature but in American life,” (Cox). Mark Twain is known to be one of America’s greatest humorists and writers. He is best known for his childhood life life novels. Most of his novels were about life in the Mississippi River in the mid-19th Century. Surprisingly, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have never stopped being a required book to be read in schools. Mark Twain didn’t just write novels, he also wrote newspaper and magazine articles. The American literature is known to be seen in the book Huckleberry Finn. His books have been translated into 72 languages because of its way of inspiring others (Churchwell). Not only was he known for his American literature, but also for his realism, memorable characters, bluntness, and hatred of hypocrisy and oppression (Hannibal). Despite all the struggles that Twain went through he always had a smile on his face. Which made many people notice how optimistic he was, and inspired others to be the same, with his quotes. Twain went through a lot of economic issues, even after he began with his career, and his distraction was coming up with new quotes and short stories. To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”-Mark Twain. One way of him showing his humor was in his quotes. Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve don’t it thousands of times.”-Mark Twain Even though he was going through all those troubles he would just continue fighting to make things better. That’s why he would come up with those quotes because he would go through some of that pain. The only difference is that he thought about the people that surround him, not just about himself. Twain would write about whatever random theme that he knew affected people That helped him get even more recognized by others, because he was also known as the humble one. Soon after that he began to receive awards from universities He made his surroundings feel like they meant something in this world, no matter the class society His personality is what also helped others make them feel equal to him and not ashamed. Unlike others Twain had a way of telling stories that made you feel like you were present in that moment. Twain did many great deeds that helped him reach to the top with his writings, but most importantly he did it with love.


"Gribben, Alan. "Mark Twain,1835-1910." Documenting the American South. Unc, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Oct. 2014."

"Hartke, Jillian. "Samuel Longhorne Clemens." um system. Web. 17 Sept. 2014."

"Qin, Amy. "The Curious, and Continuing, Appeal of Mark Twain in China." Nytimes. Sinosphere, 6 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014."

"Quirk V. Thomas. "Mark Twain." history. A+E Network. Web. 2 Oct. 2014."

"Railton, Stephen. "Mark Twain in His Times." Virginia. Web. 05 Nov. 2014."

"Teober, Andrea. "Samuel Longhorne Clemens." Mark Twain Biography. Web. 18 Nov. 2014."