In addition to all the other facts he must know, including the physical markers of the river, he also must know how high the river is at any given point. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. Hoaxes and exaggerations palmed off by pilots and other natives along the way upon supposed ignorant strangers; stories of gamblers and obsolete robbers; glimpses of character and manners; descriptions of scenery and places; statistics of trade; Indian legends; extracts from the comments of foreign travelers, -- all these occur, interspersed with two or three stories of either humorous or tragic import, or of both together. He was a celebrity if there ever was one. So often my reading seems to unintentionally reflect upon itself.
One cannot take their eyes off the river for even a second in fear they might miss a very crucial, life determining sign the river shows without possibly facing horrid consequences. This section contains 416 words approx. Growing up near the river created Twain's dream as a child to become a steamboat pilot. Louis at the outbreak of the Civil War and it was fully two decades that he was again able to travel along the same route, going backwards this time from St. What is more, Twain does an excellent job in illustrating the extensive knowledge necessary to effectively pilot a steamboat—memorizing hundreds of landmarks, learning how to gauge speed and depth, and dealing with difficult coworkers. Maybe it was because I read his fiction first, maybe it was because I idolized him, but good god this was a hard book to get through for me. Ah, but the language and wit! Admittedly there were a few too many tall tales for my taste or they went on too long, yarns not being my favorite reading, but I concede their necessity in creating the larger truth here.
He then moves from the physical to the historical, writing about DeSoto, who in 1542 was the first settler to see the river. Summary The writing style of Mark Twain real name Samuel L. This is an awkward book to review, since it consists of so many, varied sections. The doctor's and the post-master's sons became 'mud clerks;' the wholesale liquor dealer's son became a barkeeper on a boat; four sons of the chief merchant, and two sons of the county judge, became pilots. Paul - my hometown - and Minneapolis, Minnesota were like in the late 19th century was an unexpected treat at the end. .
As much as I love Mark Twain, and as much as he can write. I have found a haven in Life on the Mississippi, I will look forward to your comments on this adventure and will post my own when I finish. The first few chapters tell a highly opinionated version of the history of the rivers discovery by the Europeans anyway , then it quickly changes into a personal reminiscence of Twain's years as a cub-pilot, then full fledged pilot. The connections between the town and the writer are especially close as the author was to draw on his childhood experiences again and again in his most enduring works, in both fiction and in some of the best passages of his mostly factual autobiography, Emerson, 2 He was just sixteen when he first. It starts off with history, then meanders through biography, anecdotal stories of his youth and travels on the Mississippi, descriptions of steamboats and the countryside, the Civil War, New Orleans, cemeteries, Mardi Gras, and all in between. Analysis Two themes that are present throughout the entire book are travel and progress.
My head was gone in a moment; I did not know which end I stood on; I gasped and could not get my breath; I spun the wheel down with such rapidity that it wove itself together like a spider's web; the boat answered and turned square away from the reef, but the reef followed her! Having spent a fair amount of time in Missouri, i'm glad i read it. A significant event in his life was the coincidence of him piloting the last steamboat out of New Orleans going to St. Life actually presents a chapter from Huck Finn, which was his next major published work after the aforementioned. An example of this extreme humor that at the same time puts a satirical twist to it is this passage in the first chapter The River and its History concerning the first sighting of the Mississippi River by a white man named De Soto and the intervening years before any serious expeditions were sent to further explore it. Nevertheless, it nowhere equals the power of the first hundred pages. Then he gets his own license and starts to pilot on his own, experiencing many adventures and meeting many interesting people.
I still keep in mind a certain wonderful sunset which I witnessed when steamboating was new to me. He also tells some stories that are most likely tall tales. Bixby Twain begins his apprenticeship under the pilot, Mr. The obscurest details are made illuminating, and this story shines with humor and charm. And when he shifts away from humor, the results can be pretty grim. These comparisons in mind-set allow the reader and Twain to wonder if there is any value to actually learning a trade.
However, it's interpsersed with a handful of tall tales and fun witticisms that are Not a big fan. When Huck escapes, he comes across a runaway slave, named Jim. It gives a fascinating look at life in the mid-late 19th Century via Twain's memories and musings. It pains me to say that as a Mark Twain fan, but that was one part of the book that held little appeal for me. Like the river it describes, this book is long and meandering, possesses a great deal of nostalgic charm and is capable of sudden bursts of violence. Born during a visit by Halley's Comet, he died on its return.
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. The pseudonym was taken by Samuel Langhorne Clemens from his youth when he served on the sheep. Though no one thinks he can accomplish the task, especially as he must practically maneuver the boat over part of an island, Bixby succeeds. Louis to New Orleans; he was a witness to all those changes and developments in this social arena. In the first part, he is a cub pilot under his mentor, Horace Bixby, who teaches him how to navigate the treacherous river. There are numerous situations in the story of his displaying his technological skills with spectacular results. Twain eventually realizes that he and the pilot know one another, and that the pilot is trying to figure out why Twain has decided to go incognito when he is so well known.