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I need help writing a research paper about Mark Twain's satirical writings?I need help...

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gkstkdwl123 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM via web

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I need help writing a research paper about Mark Twain's satirical writings?

I need help with comparison/contrast of satirical motifs, who he targets with his satire, and how it reflects the cultural influence of the time on his writing...

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM (Answer #1)

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Twain used satire as one element in almost everything he wrote, so there is lots of material for you to draw from for your paper.

Works such as "The Prince and the Pauper" or "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" are nearly 100% satirical in approach from beginning to end.  Twain comments on the finery wasted upon royalty while describing the pauper Tom's first sighting of the prince.

Within was a comely boy, tanned and brown with sturdy out-door sports and exercises, whose clothing was all of lovely silks and satins, shining with jewels; at this hip a little jewelled sword and dagger; dainty buskins on his feet, with red heels; and on his head a jaunty crimson cap, with drooping plumes fastened with a great sparkling gem.

Twain bemoans the inconvenience of becoming famous after he causes and then ends the eclipse in King Arthur's England. There is certainly a stab at contemporary celebrities and their efforts to publicize themselves included here, as well as the overall attack against the whole idea of royalty and the romanticism of the past.

I had to go out a dozen times a day and show myself to these reverent and awe-stricken multitudes. It came to be a great burden, as to time and trouble, but of course it was at the same time compensatingly agreeable to be so celebrated and such a center of homage...There was one thing I couldn't understand; nobody had asked for an autograph...nobody in the country could read or write but a few dozen priests.

When Huck Finn has some time to look around the inside of the Grangerford mansion, he allows Twain to vent his opinion of the Victorian style of home decoration that was widely popular during his lifetime.

There was a big fireplace...There was a clock on the middle of the mantel-piece, with a picture of a town painted on the bottom half of the glass front, and a round place in the middle of it for the sun, and you could see the pendulum swing behind it...Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each side of the clock, made out of something like chalk, and painted up gaudy. By one of the parrots was a cat made of crockery, and a crockery dog by the other;...There was a couple of big wild-turkey-wing fans spread out behind those things.

Twain satirizes the institution of slavery and the attitudes of the people who perpetuated it in many ways throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

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