201. Samuel Clemens (or Mark Twain) (Listen and Read)
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201. Samuel Clemens (or Mark Twain)
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Mark Twain was the author of some of the greatest works of American English literature,
such as Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
He used Mark Twain as his "pen name".
Samuel Clemens was born in the American state of Missouri in 1835.
As a child he enjoyed many outdoor activities, such as swimming and fishing.
When Samuel was eleven years old, his father died,
and he began working to help support his family.
As a young man, Samuel Clemens began to write stories for newspapers.
However, he took a job working as a navigator on the steamboats that travelled up and down the Mississippi River.
Clemens greatly enjoyed this period of his life,
during which time he gained much knowledge about life on the river.
He also learned much about human behavior by observing the many people on the boats
and along the river.
It was as a result of this time that Clemens began using his pen name, Mark Twain.
This name is taken from a term that was used by the men who worked on the river.
It is used to describe water that is just deep enough to be navigated safely.
The earliest of Mark Twain's really famous novels was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
This novel describes a boy who engages in much mischief, but who has a kind heart.
The story contains several scenes that are quite funny.
In one of these, Tom's working at the boring task of painting a fence.
He persuades several other boys to help him,
by pretending that painting the fence is a fun and enjoyable activity.
Another famous novel by Mark Twain was Life on the Mississippi.
This book describes many interesting characters similar to those that Twain actually observed while working on a steamboat.
This story gives the reader a vivid image of the people who lived and worked along the Mississippi River.
Probably the best novel by Mark Twain was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
This novel tells the story of a boy who runs away from his violent father.
The boy, whose name is Huckleberry Finn, is joined in his escape by a man named Jim.
Jim is a slave who has decided to run away from his owners.
Huck and Jim travel north along the Mississippi, hoping to reach the areas where slavery is not allowed.
In this story, the reader can experience the moral sense of Huckleberry,
who must make several important decisions during the escape.
Mark Twain died in 1910, after writing many more novels
and many stories of his travels around the world.
Twain's works are still widely read today.
His books are appreciated for their humor,
for their interesting descriptions of life in nineteenth century America,
and for showing both the good and evil that people can do.
Many critics consider Twain to have been the greatest American writer.
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