Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name of MARK TWAIN, grew up in the Mississippi River frontier town of Hannibal, Missouri and this influenced him a lot in his way of thinking and his literary production.
ERNEST HEMINGHWAY´S famous statement that all of American Literature comes from one great book, Twain´s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, indicates this author´s towering place in the tradition.
As we move to the middle of the 19th-century American writers begin to forget about Romanticism because their historical background suggested them different things. Industrialization played an important role in this change and we can say that by 1865 we have the beginning of the Realist movement. There was a need for a literature that reflected their own lives at that time. Their real lives because there was a great social shift. That´s why we have writers that showed us real characters who often spoke in a way that reflected their own region, class, gender and age.
The book was writeen shortly afterwards the Civil War, in which slavery was one of the key issues. Twain´s father had slaves throughout his childhood but Mark himself didn´t believe that slavery was right. In the book, Twain mocks slavery and makes a strong statement about the way people treated slaves. He critisizes for example how hypocritical a "good Christian woman" can be when it comes to owning slaves as property ( Miss Watson), etc.
In the prezis you have below you can learn some characteristics of AMERICAN REALISM and the writer MARK TWAIN. Read them and take the main ideas to discuss in class.
In class we will be reading several extracts so that you can see some style aspects, and some of the ideas you have learnt in these days. Here you have an animation with the summary of the book.
SLAVERY is a key issue in American History. Let´s watch this video to understand why? and understand what led to the Civil War. After watching it make a summary with the most important ideas. Try to get information about: life in the South, reasons to have slaves, runaway slaves and destinations ( names of poeple that contributed to abolitionism), the underground railroad.