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Questions tagged [mark-twain]

For questions about the US author Mark Twain (real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens; 1835 – 1910) or about any of his works, which include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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Does Mark Twain mean that it's not safe to leave your wife and a Frenchman alone?

Is it safe to leave your wife and a Frenchman alone? It would seem it isn't according to Mark Twain, or is there another way of interpreting this?: A Frenchman's home is where another man's wife is. ...
Ptah-hotep's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
366 views

According to Twain, what literary offenses did Fenimore Cooper not commit?

In Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences, Mark Twain avers: Cooper's art has some defects. In one page in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences ...
verbose's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
436 views

A question about sewing a collar in Tom Sawyer

In the opening chapter of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, we find Aunt Polly trying to dupe Tom into revealing that he skipped school to go for a swim. To preempt a potential line of questioning, Tom ...
Vasting's user avatar
  • 223
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

What was the earlier expose of racism that Twain wrote that was censored?

This article claims Ironically, Huck Finn was conceived only after an earlier explicit exposé by Twain of slavery was censored. Does anyone have more information about this earlier expose? The name, ...
user254694's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

How does soap undermine the church in "A Connecticut Yankee"?

In Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, in the chapter "Morgan Le Fay", the main character explains that he makes the knights have signs for "Persimmon's Soap" ...
Mahesh Bansod's user avatar
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0 answers
121 views

Did O. Henry allude to Tom Sawyer in "The Gift of the Magi"?

Sidney Porter (O. Henry) was a contemporary of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). They died the same year; Porter attended Clemens' funeral a few months before his own death. Was Porter referring to Twain's ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
5k views

Did Mark Twain say the two most important days of our life are the day we're born and the day we find out why?

This quote has been variously attributed to Mark Twain (for example, here and here and here and here, with varying amounts of surrounding discussion). The two most important days in your life are the ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
208 views

Antagonist in Jim Baker's Blue Jay Yarn

Who or what is the antagonist in Baker's Blue Jay Yarn (What Stumped the Blue jays)?
Arnelius's user avatar
  • 183
2 votes
2 answers
125 views

Why do we say “write any quote and sign by Mark Twain’s name and no one would object”?

Once I was writing a “Preface” for my friend’s college assignment book, I wanted to make it attractive so I thought of some quote related to prefaces of books. I consulted on an online forum and ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why couldn't Mr Dobbins become a doctor in "Tom Sawyer"?

In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, it's mentioned that the schoolteacher had an anatomy book in his desk due to wanting to be a doctor at one point. The master, Mr. Dobbins, had reached ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Was Mark Twain a racist?

The question had come to my mind after reading Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; I knew he more often had put Indians as his story villains, but I wasn't paying attention to it till I read that ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
116 views

Why was the title of Mark Twain's jumping frog short story changed so much?

I just learned from another question about a short story by Mark Twain entitled "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", which, when I looked it up online to find a copy-pastable ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
71 views

Is the phrase "lurking suspicion" in this context humour?

I am reading the short story "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain. I was wondering if the author's usage of the phrase "lurking suspicion" in the first ...
Veereshgouda Naragund's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
163 views

Never the Twain shall meet – conflicting accounts of sewing practices

In Chapter Thirteen of The Prince and the Pauper we have the following observation about sewing practices: He did as men have always done, and probably always will do, to the end of time – held the ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 3,419
9 votes
1 answer
437 views

What does Mark Twain mean by "keep hotel"?

The protagonist in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court uses this phrase: But that should be nothing to his discredit; the man that can do THIS kind of miracle knows enough to keep hotel. ...
pavon's user avatar
  • 201
3 votes
1 answer
109 views

What did Twain mean by the "Creedmoor aim"?

In a letter to his friend William Dean Howells recounting the heroic exploits of John T. Lewis, Mark Twain wrote the following in 1877: Lewis, the prodigious … saw the frantic horse plunging down ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
51 views

Did Sandburg acknowledge Twain's influence?

In 1886, Mark Twain wrote an essay entitled "The New Dynasty" Its theme, and much of its language, are quite similar to Carl Sandburg's poem "I Am the People, the Mob" of half a century later. It is ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
462 views

How is it 1100 miles from Hannibal to southern Arkansas in Huck Finn?

In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it says: Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally wrote to her that Tom and SID had come all right and safe, she says to herself: "Look at ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
562 views

Why does Tom Sawyer forget what "ransom" means?

In Chapter XXXIII of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom explains "ransom" to Huck. But in Chapter II of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom has no idea what ransoming is. Is this just Twain ...
Witness Protection ID 44583292's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
5k views

What does Pudd'nhead Wilson's joke about half a dog mean?

In Pudd'nhead Wilson, by Mark Twain, the character David Wilson makes a remark that results in the townspeople writing him off as a "pudd'nhead". He had just made the acquaintance of a group of ...
l2151628's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
96 views

Is "The American Claimant" a veiled take on "The Indian Question"?

Mark Twain's 1892 novel The American Claimant was written very soon after the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890), which was basically revenge for the 1876 Battle of Greasy Grass ("Little Big Horn"). This ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Understanding a reference to Tom Sawyer in the context of avoiding work

I am Brazilian, I frequent the Mathematica Stack Exchange, and I've never heard of Tom Sawyer. So it was confusing when I read a meta post that described people as "Tom Sawyers". "There are a few ...
LCarvalho's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
344 views

What does "vamos the ranch" mean in this Mark Twain short story?

What does this sentence from "Double Barrelled Detective Story" by Mark Twain mean? "If I was running this shop I'd make him say something, some time or other, or vamos the ranch."...
Batuhan Tas's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What does "halter" mean here?

The following sentence occurs in Mark Twain's sketch Private History of a Campaign that Failed: The drenching we were getting was misery enough, but a deeper misery still was the reflection that ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
176 views

What do "Sedgemoor trade-mark" and "white-sleeve badge" mean?

Can somebody please explain this expression from a Mark Twain story, A Double Barrelled Detective Story: 'Sedgemoor trade-mark, white sleeve badge'? Here is the context: Among other things he said ...
Batuhan Tas's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Was Twain the first author to write of Zombies?

Although the word is not used, Twain's zany novel of title-frenzy and mad-scientist capitalistic schemes The American Claimant (sequel to The Gilded Age) describes the intent by the megalomaniac ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
239 views

Did Twain mean the coin should be enlarged or not?

In Twain's quote about government's ostensibly trusting in God and asserting that on their currency, I have seen it reproduced both this way: But I think it would better read, "Within certain ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
735 views

Was Théoden's revival inspired by Mark Twain?

I was reading Mark Twain's Joan of Arc and Joan converses with the Dauphin of France. The talk between Joan and the King was long and earnest [...] and has been set down in [...] testimony at the ...
Lianne Caranthir's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is this the longest sentence by Twain?

I noticed this sentence in chapter 4 of The Gilded Age with numerous commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes prolonging a sentence of prodigious length: Sometimes the boat fought the mid-stream ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
32 votes
1 answer
4k views

What does Mark Twain mean by "cheers and a tiger"?

I know about the big stripey cat, but what is "a tiger" in this context: ...finishing up with cheers and a tiger for "Hadleyburg purity and our eighteen immortal representatives of it.&...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
666 views

Was Mark Twain actually almost a millionaire twice over, before he became famous?

The prequel to Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad was Roughing It: Roughing It illustrates many of Twain's early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate ...
user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
854 views

Did later literary analysis agree with Mark Twain's criticism of J.F. Cooper?

This excellent answer by @CHEESE linked to a Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses". SPOILER ALERT: That essay is extremely critical of Cooper's work. Did later literary analysis largely ...
DVK's user avatar
  • 4,635
26 votes
1 answer
2k views

What specific criticisms did Mark Twain make against Jane Austen's books?

It's pretty well known that Mark Twain was rather vitriolic against Jane Austen, saying things like: I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar