Homework Help

in Mark Twain's essay "How to Tell a Story," what does Twain say is the difference...

user profile pic

mgoun | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted June 26, 2012 at 8:55 PM via web

dislike 1 like

in Mark Twain's essay "How to Tell a Story," what does Twain say is the difference between telling a humorous story and telling a comic story?

 

no

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:41 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Twain lists eight differences between telling a humorous story and telling a comic one.

1. A humorous story is American and a comic story is British.

2. A humorous story depends on what effect it has on the listener; the comic story depends on details and the fact -- the actual subject matter.

3. A humorous story is told in great length,stinging incongruities and absurditites together and "bubbling gently along"; a comic story is told quickly and gets to the point with a "burst".

4. A humorous story may wander around as much as it pleases, sometimes telling things that have nothing to do with the story and sometimes ending nowhere in particular.  Twain calls it the "slurring of the point" ; the comic story must end with a point to make.

5. Only an artist can tell a humorous story; anyone can tell a comic story.

6. The humorous story is told seriously and often hides the fact that something humorous is in the story; a comic story tells the listener upfront that it is a funny story.  

7.  A pause is an important feature of telling a humorous story; a comic story is  just told without creating any atmosphere.

8. A humorous story will have the teller make little side remarks, as if thinking aloud; the comic story is just told as a story.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes