Life on the Mississippi

by Mark Twain

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Which two steamboat jobs did Twain admire in Life on the Mississippi?

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In his memoir, Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain explains that he spent his childhood admiring everyone that worked on a steamboat, but most of all, he admired the steamboat pilots. Whenever a steamboat would arrive in his small town, the children would get excited; for them, the steamboat represented adventure and a possibility to travel and explore the world. When he was 21 he began working as cub-pilot until he received his license and title as a pilot and steamboat captain. When he was an apprentice, Twain often admired the river’s beauty and wrote about it in his notebook; however, when he became a pilot he realized that all the beautiful things that he admired about the river might be dangerous to his crew and the boat. Thus, a steamboat pilot would be the first job that not only Twain, but many others admired and respected as well.

I don’t believe I came across a quote or a part in the memoir in which Twain specifically mentions that he admired any other job than a steamboat captain. However, it’s obvious that he loved and enjoyed writing and storytelling immensely; the notebook he carried with him in which he wrote letters to his loved ones and various other notes and stories recounting his experiences only further solidifies this point.

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