Certainly Twain has an inimitable style. His accomplished use of dialect is always salient; however there are other techniques that he uses that somehow differ from other writers. For instance, his social commentary is much more subtle than the satire of other writers. Afterall, there have been many a reader of...
Certainly Twain has an inimitable style. His accomplished use of dialect is always salient; however there are other techniques that he uses that somehow differ from other writers. For instance, his social commentary is much more subtle than the satire of other writers. Afterall, there have been many a reader of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," or "The Prince and the Pauper" who have enjoyed these narratives told by seemingly artless narrators without realizing Twain's cynicism toward society. A simple line from "Conneticut Yankee" such as
The old abbot's joy to see me was pathetic. Even to tears; but he did the shedding himself
points to this cynicism. As one critic has remarked,
The rich comedy of his narratives are often undercut by a darkness and a depth of seriousness which give his works an ambivalence, an ambivalence which reflects Twain's own divided nature.
In the descriptions of the escapades of the Duke and the King in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," for example, the reader also perceives the criticism and disappointment in the predatory nature of man who would exploit people when they are most vulnerable, such as after the death of a loved one. With his artless narrator--another trademark--Twain describes how the two scoundrels take advantage of the Wilks' family whose father dies. The king quickly sells the slaves. When they are separated Huck notices the grief of the family at losing their servants:
I thought them poor girls and them n--s would break their hearts for grief; they cried around each other, and took on so it most made me down sick to see it. The girls said they hadn't ever dreamed of seeing the family separated or sold away from the town....I couldn't a stood it all...if I hadn't knowed the sale warn't no account and the n--s would be back home in a week or wto.
Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper," a charming tale of switched identities, is also a social commentary as the prince, reduced to being treated as a menial person, comes to realize some of the injustices of his kingdom.
As long as the king lived he was fond of telling the story of his adventures, all through,....He said that the frequent rehearsing of the precious lesson kept him strong in his pupose to make its teachings yield benefits to his people...and thus keep its sorrowful spectacles fresh in his memory and the springs of pity replenished in his heart.
With simple, seemingly artless narrators and a understated style, Twain leads readers to arrive at the social commentary of his narratives on their own. This subtlety and, at times, ambivalence is characteristic of Mark Twain's style.