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What are two elements of Mark Twain's style from the a excerpt below? "My beautiful new...

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john18 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted September 7, 2013 at 7:21 PM via web

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What are two elements of Mark Twain's style from the a excerpt below?

"My beautiful new watch had run eighteen months without losing or gaining, and without breaking any part of its machinery or stopping. I had come to believe it infallible in its judgment about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable. but at last, one night, I let it run down. I grieved about it as if it were a recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity. but by and by I cheered up, set the watch by guess, and commanded my bodings and superstitions to depart. The next day I stepped into the chief jeweler's to set it by the exact time, and the head of the establishment took it out of my hand and proceeded to set it for me. Then he said, 'She is four minutes slow regulator wants pushing up.' I tried to stop him, tried to make him understand the watch kept perfect time. but no; all this human cabbage could see was that the watch was four minutes slow, and the regulator must be pushed up a little; and so, while I danced around him in anguish, and implored him to let the watch alone, he calmly and cruelly did the shameful deed. my watch began to gain. it gained faster and faster day by day. within the week it sickened to a raging fever, and its pulse went up to a hundred and fifty in the shade."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 8, 2013 at 6:58 AM (Answer #1)

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This excerpt from Mark Twain's Sketches, New and Old, Part I demonstrates the author's understated style that leads readers to arrive at the social commentary of his narrative on their own.

  • A seemingly artless narrator

Although enthralled with his new watch, the narrator has let it run down:

I had come to believe it infallible in its judgment about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable.

However, much to his disappointment, the watch has run down. In order to obtain the exact time the next day, he steps into the jewery store to set it, but a clerk grabs the watch from his hands, and afterwards, he

... grieved about it as if it were a recognized messenger and forerunner of calamity.

This understated style of Twain's leads readers to understand the author's subtle criticism of human nature.

  • Satire

Twain pokes fun of the "repairer" who misjudges the watch and his compulsions to fix something whether or not it is necessary lead to its misfunctioning of the watch. Such exaggerations, as

It gained faster and faster day by day. within the week it sickened to a raging fever...

lend the satire its humor as other "repairers" lead to the watch's many ills that are described further in the sketch.

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