Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Roughing It is a partly fictional account of Mark Twain’s travel to the Nevada Territory and to California, his varied life there, colorful personalities he encountered, and his visit to the Hawaiian Islands (then called the Sandwich Islands). Interspersed throughout are factual and semifactual journalistic reports as well as tall tales. The book covers Twain’s stagecoach trip with his brother Orion Clemens, the newly appointed secretary of the Nevada Territory, from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Carson City, Nevada (July to August, 1861); Twain’s unsuccessful efforts to stake a timber claim and to prospect for silver (until August, 1862); his reporting and freelance writing for the Territorial Enterprise of Virginia City, Nevada (until May, 1864); his reporting for the San Francisco Morning Call (1864 to 1865); his trip to Hawaii (March to August, 1866); his work in San Francisco (until December, 1866); and—much more briefly—his return to the East Coast through the isthmus of Panama (December, 1866, to January, 1867).
Between the time of his return to the United States and the publication of Roughing It, Twain enjoyed a varied life. Details of his trip in 1867 to Europe and the Holy Land were converted into his best seller The Innocents Abroad, published in 1869. Soon after Twain married Olivia Langdon of Elmira, New York, his publisher persuaded him to follow up on the success of The Innocents...
(The entire section is 1563 words.)
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