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.
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.