The Progression of Mark Twain’s Satire in the Gilded Age and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Wong, Shari
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, Mark Twain grew up in a world and time defined by a tension between the present and the past, the industrialized city and the idyllic country, the east and the west. The nation was undergoing a spirit of change; a new society was in the making. The Civil War and the railways, forces which were foremost in the development and expansion of America's nationhood, were the very forces which destroyed the life and lore of the Mississippi river towns and frontier life that Twain knew as a child. The rural past was the price sacrificed to forge the industrial present and future. Here is an enormous, an incalculable force (railroads and industrialization)…let loose suddenly upon mankind; exercising all sorts of influences, social, moral, and political; …giving us a history full of changing fortunes and rich in dramatic episodes… yet not many of those… who fondly believe they control it, ever stop to think of it as… the most tremendous and far-reaching engine of social change which has ever either blessed or cursed mankind.
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