The Life Story and Work of Mark Twain People do not always like to read nonfiction books or novels because they are too long and sometimes they will feel like the story will never end. The shorter and more understandable the stories are, the easier to read. Samuel Clemens, or better known as, Mark Twain, was interested in reading and writing since his young childhood and then he grew up to be one of the most well-known writers. Two of his known stories are, “The Laborious Ant” and “The Ghost Story.
” These stories would seem like that they would be nothing alike, but they actually have a few similarities.
Even though, as a young child, Twain moved around the country a lot, he always found a way to listen to stories and novels. Mark Twain was born on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri. When Twain was four, in the year of 1839, his family moved to Hannibal, Missouri. He “spent many boyhood summers playing in the slave quarters‚ listening to tall tales and the slave spirituals that he would enjoy throughout his life”.
When Twain was eleven years old, in the year of 1847, his father passed away. Soon afterwards, he had to finish the fifth grade and leave school to work for a local newspaper as a printer’s apprentice.
Twain’s job was to go through the newspaper’s stories and then sort the type for each. When Twain was eighteen years old, he went east to Philadelphia and New York City, where he found some success at writing articles and worked on several different newspapers. In the year of 1857, Twain returned home to enter on a different career as a pilot on a riverboat, in the Mississippi River. In 1861, the Civil War began, Twain’s pilot career came to a stop, along with all the traffic on the river. He then decided to join the Marion Rangers, which was a volunteer confederate unit, but after two weeks, he quit.
In July of 1861, Twain was heading west to find a new job, when his brother, Orion, had just been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory. Twain traveled from Missouri to Nevada across the open frontier, by stagecoach. When on the journey, he came across, for the first time, Native American tribes. Twain also came across a mixture of unique mishaps, disappointments and characters. Mark Twain had a very big writing career, but here are some of the more important points from it. In the year of 1864, Twain wanted a change, so he started out for San Francisco, where he could carry on writing for local newspapers.
In the year of 1865, Twain’s first “big break” came with the publication of one of his short stories, “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” in papers across the country. Twain’s travel letters, with tongue-in-cheek observations and full of vivid descriptions, met with an audience approval that they were later reworked into his first book, “The Innocents Abroad” in 1869. After not becoming successful as a silver prospector, Twain starting working as a writer for the Territorial Enterprise. This job was in Virginia City, Nevada. This is where for the first time, he used his pen name, Mark Twain.
Twain also wrote a satiric novel with his friend Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) called, “The Gilded Age”. The next year, Twain was hired by the Union of Sacramento to visit and report on Hawaii (which were the Sandwich Islands). Twain’s writings started to become so popular that when he returned from Hawaii, he entered his first lecture tour. This tour started Twain as a successful performer on stage. Twain was then hired by Alts California to carry on his travel writing from the east. In 1867, he then arrived in New York City. Twain then quickly signed up for a tour on a steamship of the Holy Land and Europe.
On this trip, Twain met his future brother-in-law. One of the short stories that Twain had written was a western travelogue called, “Roughing It” (1872). Twain wrote the novel, “A Tramp Aboard” in 1880, further impressions of Europe gathered during the years of 1878-1879 on his tour of the Continent. In 1881, Twain wrote, “The Prince and the Pauper”, which is a historical tale in sixteenth-century England. In the year of 1883, Twain wrote a novel called, “Life on the Mississippi”, and it was based on Twain’s experience as a riverboat pilot.
Mark Twain received several awards and honors for his books and novels, the following are the important ones. The first story from Twain to gain fame was called, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County”. This story made its appearance in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. Twain’s first book to be published was in 1869, and was called, “The Innocents Aboard”. In the year of 1876, Twain who is a mischievous protagonist that has charmed generations of young readers, had a best seller novel, called “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. Twain wrote a sequel to Tom Sawyer called, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.
This novel was published in 1884 in the United States and Great Britain the following year, this did feature the scamp Tom Sawyer. Twain had Sketches New and Old in the year of 1875, and these sketches were miscellaneous writings. He had tried to make a new book, called the Colonel Sellers, which finally formed years later, in 1891, as, “The American Claimant”. Since Twain death, his literary achievement has increased a lot. Many volumes of correspondence have appeared, as well of several collections of speeches, notebook entries, autobiographical writings and even more fiction.
Twain’s books have been translated into lots of European languages. Twain is sometimes thought of as one of the best to express the spirit of the American people. In the year of 1906, Twain began to write his autobiography to Albert B. Paine, who was his literary executor. He recorded scattered memories not in chronological arrangement. Parts from it were then published in periodicals later that year. Twain became something of a public hero when he publicized insistence on paying every creditor. When Twain had hard times at the end of his life, he still managed to keep his family together, even when they departed.
Twain and Olivia Langdon eventually got married in the year of 1870. They settled down in Buffalo, New York. While in Buffalo, Twain and Olivia had their first child, Langdon Clemens. In the year of 1871, Twain and his family moved to Hartford, Connecticut. In the year of 1872, the Clemenses’ first daughter was born, named Susy. This was year their son, Langdon, had died of diphtheria, at the age of two. Clara was born in 1874 and Jean in 1880. In the years of 1874 to 1891, Twain, Olivia, and their three daughters lived in the Hartford home.
Even when Twain enjoyed his financial success during his Harford years, he continually made poor investments on new inventions, which caused him to go bankrupt. In the effort to pay back his debts and to economize, Twain and his family moved to Europe in the year of 1891. When his company of publishing failed in 1894, Twain was forced to go out on a lecture tour worldwide to earn some extra cash. In the year of 1896, Susy Clemens died at the age of 24, because of meningitis while on a visit to the Hartford home. Once she died, the Clemenses never returned back to Hartford.
In the year of 1903, after living in New York City for three years, Olivia became ill and Twain and his wife returned back to Italy, where she died a year later. Once she had passed, Twain lived in New York until the year of 1908, when he moved to “Stormfield”, in Redding, Connecticut, where his last house was. In the year of 1909, Twain’s middle daughter Clara got married. In the same year, Jean, the youngest of the three daughters died from an epileptic seizure. Afterwards, four months later on Aril 21, 1910, Mark Twain died at the age of 74.
Twain wrote many stories and novels in his time, but not everyone knows them. One story, author Mark Twain wrote was “A Laborious Ant. ” This story is about the narrator and a friend/s traveling on a road, not knowing where they are going. “Now and then while we rested, we watched a laborious ant at his work” (Twain 51). This story takes place on the side of an “old road” (Twain). The rising action starts when the narrator notices an ant on the side of the road and starts to observe how the ant works. Then the ant can never find his home, even if he is three feet away from it.
When the ant finds his capture he heads the opposite direction of home. “I admit that he works hard, of course. He is the hardest-working creature in the world- when anybody is looking” (Twain 51). The ant then walks over weeds and pebbles and when he tumbles down, he gets back up with his capture and heads another way. The story reaches its climax when another ant comes along and they both get into a fight. After that, the falling action occurs when one of the ants gets hurt. The other ant takes the capture, with the hurt ant hanging on to the end. The conflict is resolved when the other ant helps the hurt one.
The theme of the story is to fight for something that you love to do. The second story is not one of Twain most popular ones, but has a great ending to the story. One story author Mark Twain wrote is “A Ghost Story. ” This story is about the narrator moving into a spooky, old house, just to find out that night that it is haunted by the ghost of Cardiff Giant. The story takes place in a haunted house. The rising action was when the narrator started to hear the noises outside his bedroom door and when the bed sheet was being tugged off the bed. Then the narrator keeps hearing noises inside and outside his room. Presently I heard a heavy footstep in my room the step of an elephant, it seemed to me it was not like anything human” (Twain 177). At one point, he gets up out of bed, after the noises had stopped, to look around the room to see if any of the noises he heard did anything to his room. He found a footprint in the ashes of the hearth. The story reaches its climax when a ghostly glow appeared in his bedroom and formed itself into a figure. After that, the falling action occurs when the narrator sits down by the fire with the ghostly figure of Cardiff Giant and talks for an hour.
They talk about themselves, but the one thing that they talk about is why the ghost of Cardiff Giant haunts this house and not the museum across the street where the body of Cardiff Giant lays. The ghostly figure told the narrator that until his body is put to rest, he will haunt this house to get attention, since no one is around in the museum at midnight. The conflict is resolved when the ghostly figure founds out by the narrator that the body of Cardiff Giant is in Albany and the one across the street is a decoy. Why you poor blundering old fossil, you have had all your trouble for nothing- you have been haunting a plaster cast of yourself the real Cardiff Giant is in Albany” (Twain 179). The theme of the story is something of the unknown is far more frightening than the known. Once the narrator realized that Cardiff Giant was actually quite charming, he enjoyed Cardiff’s company. Both of these short stories written by Twain have their similarities and their differences that aren’t always easy to find. Here are the similarities between the short stories, “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story”.
Both “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story” feature a person vs. nature conflict. In “A Laborious Ant” the narrator is watching the main ant that is trying to do his job, by finding food, however he keeps stumbling over pebbles, weeds and another ant keeps getting in his way. The ant also keeps taking his food and traveling in the opposite direction of his ant hill as well. In “A Ghost Story” the narrator is trying to sleep at night when he keeps being woken up and scared by the ghosts inside and outside of his bedroom.
In both of the stories, the narrator and the ant are trying to get something done, however someone or something keeps getting in the way of what they want to accomplish, done. Both the stories have an external conflict of person vs. nature. In “A Laborious Ant” the main ant is the person, trying to get something done, when the other ant is the nature, because he is interrupting the main ant’s goal. The external conflict in “A Ghost Story” is person vs. nature because the narrator is the person trying to get some sleep, and when the main ghost is the nature, because he is interrupting the narrator’s sleep.
In “A Laborious Ant” the protagonist is the main ant. In “A Ghost Story” the narrator is the protagonist. The main ant in “A Laborious Ant” is the protagonist because he is doing his job, carrying around the food and is going through problems. The narrator of “A Ghost Story” is the protagonist because when he was trying to sleep all of these noises and lights were going on and off inside and outside his bedroom. These two short stories are similar because the protagonists are trying to get something done, however they keep getting interrupted by things that were getting in the way.
The tone of the story “A Laborious Ant”, the protagonist and antagonist are very determined and the narrator is very interested with the ants. The tone of the story “A Ghost Story”, the protagonist was very scared at times, however at the end, he was interested in the antagonist. The antagonist was trying to be scary, when at the end of the story he was nice and was shocked with what the narrator tells him. Both the tones of the stories, the antagonist of “A Laborious Ant” and the narrator of “A Ghost Story” were interested in each other.
So the antagonist from “A Laborious Ant” was interested in the protagonist. The narrator, being the protagonist, in “A Ghost Story” was interested in the antagonist. The foil in “A Laborious Ant” is at the end, when the 2nd ant stands out more than the main ant. The foil in “A Ghost Story” is at the end when the narrator seems to be smarter than the ghost of Cardiff Giant. The foil in “A Laborious Ant” is at end, when the 2nd ant stands out more than the main ant since the main ant is hurt and weaker than the 2nd ant, so the 2nd ant is a lot stronger.
The foils in “A Ghost Story” is at the end when the narrator seems to be smarter than the ghost of Cardiff Giant because the narrator told the ghost that his dead body across the street at the museum is a decoy and his real dead body is in Albany, NY. Both the foils in the short stories are similar because one of the characters stands out more than the other due to them being mentally and physically stronger. The title of “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story” has significance in the title. The significance of “A Laborious Ant” is the main ant being very laborious with trying to get his job done through all that he had to deal with.
The significance of “A Ghost Story” is when the ghost of Cardiff Giant tells his story to the narrator, and the narrator explains to the audience what is happening inside and outside of his bedroom when he is trying to sleep. Both of these short stories are similar because the titles of the stories explain the basic outlook to the story. In both these short stories, there are similarities and differences, however there are more differences than similarities. The following are the differences between the short stories, “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story”. The stories “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story” differ in internal conflicts.
The internal conflict for “A Laborious Ant”, the main ant is trying very hard to get his job done, however no matter what he does to try and get it done, he keeps getting caught up on nature like pebbles, weeds and another ant. The internal conflict for “A Ghost Story” is the narrator determining whether or not he should stay in bed and try to keep sleeping, or to get out and search around the room for any evidence that someone or something else was in the room with him. The internal conflicts of both stories have the main person or insect having trouble deciding what to do, however end up deciding in the end.
In “A Laborious Ant”, the antagonist is the other ant that comes along. In the short story, “A Ghost Story”, the antagonists are the ghosts bothering the narrator, however mainly just the ghost of Cardiff Giant. The antagonist in “A Laborious Ant” is the other ant that comes along since he was trying to take the main ant’s food that he was carrying. The antagonist in “A Ghost Story” is the ghosts bothering the narrator, but mainly the ghost of Cardiff Giant because they/he keep/s making noises inside and outside of the narrator’s bedroom when he is trying sleep.
These two short stories are different from each other because the other ant in “A Laborious Ant” is trying to actually hurt the main ant so he can take his food. While in “A Ghost Story”, the ghost/s are trying to slowly work their way up to scaring the narrator out of the house, so they could have the house to themselves. Both the antagonists in the stories are trying to get rid of the protagonists. The point of view in “A Laborious Ant” is 3rd person limited. The point of view in “A Ghost Story” is 1st person. A Laborious Ant” has a 3rd person limited point of view because the narrator uses s/he and the audience knows more about the first ant than the 2nd ant. “A Ghost Story” has a 1st person point of view because the narrator uses “I” instead of her/him, them, or us. In both of the short stories the narrators use “we”, referring to both a friend and the narrator, in “A Laborious Ant”. In “A Ghost Story” the narrator uses “we” when he talks about himself and the ghost of Cardiff Giant and for about an hour by the fire. There was no flashback for “A Laborious Ant”.
The flashback in “A Ghost Story” was when the ghost of Cardiff Giant was telling the narrator why he and all of his ghostly friends came over to this house, instead of being at the museum across the street with his dead body. The theme of “A Laborious Ant” is working and getting the job done. The theme of “A Ghost Story” is scary and friendly. The theme of “A Laborious Ant” is working and getting the job done because the main ant is trying to work the best he can so he could get the job done, however, he kept stumbling.
So the main theme of “A Laborious Ant” is if something is loved a lot, let it go because at the end of the story, the main ant gives up his food and the other ant takes it. The theme of “A Ghost Story” is scary and friendly because in the beginning the narrator was scared of the ghosts, however at the end of the story the narrator ends up talking with the ghost of Cardiff Giant. So, the main theme of “A Ghost Story” is not to judge a book by its cover because the narrator was scared of the ghosts, until he met Cardiff Giant and liked him. The setting in the story, “A Laborious Ant” is on the side of an “old road” for about an hour.
The setting on the story, “A Ghost Story” is in a haunted house during the night. These settings are the same because in “A Laborious Ant” it doesn’t say exactly where the “old road” is, and in “A Ghost Story” is says that they are in a haunted house, not specifically where. These settings are different because in “A Laborious Ant” is only says how long they were on the side of the “old road” and that they are there for about an hour, when in “A Ghost Story” it says what time of night it was. So, in “A Laborious Ant” it has the duration of how long the narrator and a friend were on the “old road” and not what time of day it was.
In “A Ghost Story” it says what time of night it was and the narrator was only in the house for one night. Both stories say the duration of how long they were at the setting. The mood of “A Laborious Ant” is angry, and interesting. Despite the fact that mood of “A Ghost Story” is scary, calm and interesting. In “A Laborious Ant” the mood is angry, and interesting because when the ants are fighting over the piece of food, the mood feels angry and before the fight happened, the mood seemed interesting because the 2nd ant was interested in what the main ant had.
The mood of “A Ghost Story” is scary, calm and interesting because in the beginning when the narrator was describing what was happening inside his room, it felt scary. Also the mood is calm and interesting because once the narrator was talking with the ghost of Cardiff Giant, it felt very calm knowing that all the scary stuff was from him. Lastly, it was interesting because when the ghost was telling the narrator why he was haunting this house with his other ghostly friends. Both the moods of the short stories were both angry and interesting.
The irony in “A Laborious Ant” is when the other ant was expected to come over to the main ant and help him with is food, however the other ant ends up fighting with the main ant over his food. The irony in “A Ghost Story” is when the ghosts try to get rid of the narrator, however at the end, the main ghost was nice to the narrator. These two short stories are the complete opposite because in “A Laborious Ant” the 2nd ant seems to be nice, but ends up being mean. In “A Ghost Story” the ghosts seem to be mean, however he ends up being nice.
Overall, the stories have few similarities. Both of the stories have similar terms of title, foils and tone, but the vast differences between “A Laborious Ant” and “A Ghost Story” are a credit to Mark Twain’s writing talent. Twain is one of the most accomplished American writers, however it is important to know that his success did not come easy. He worked hard to earn this status, overcoming a tough upbringing and financial problems. His literary work will always be celebrated for years to come. Works Cited Beaver, Harold. “Twain, Mark. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia of American Literature. Ed. George B. Perkins, Barbara Perkins, and Phillip Leininger. Vol. 1. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. N. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. <http://go. galegroup. com/ps/i. do? id=GALE%7CA16856785&v=2. 1&u=pl2660&it=r&p=LitRG&sw=w>. “Mark Twain. ” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2010. N. pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Oct. 2012. <http://go. galegroup. com/ps/i. do? id=GALE%7CH1000018669&v=2. 1&u=pl2660&it=r&p=LitRG&sw=w>. “Mark
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