A Rough Man
Rough, vigorous, hot-tempered, and rich is what Mark Twain grew up to be. Born in 1835 in Missouri, Florida he always did what he needed to in order for him to reach his goal. Even though he dropped out of school at the age of twelve, when his father died, he accomplished numerous things. Mark began writing when he took the job of a journalist. The tale ‘The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County was his first success. After a trip by boat to Palestine, he wrote The Innocents Abroad.
As his writing career blossomed, he also became successful as a lecturer. In 1870 got married, and a few years later he and his wife settled in Hartford, Connecticut. Huckleberry Finn is Twain’s masterpiece, for its use of brilliant character and descriptions, showing the humor of man’s cruelty to man. He also wrote The Gilded Age, 1873, Old Times on the Mississippi, 1875, The Prince and the Pauper, 1882, Life on the Mississippi, 1883, Pudd’n-head Wilson, 1894, and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, 1896. His later works, such as The Mysterious Stranger, unpublished until 1916, are not as amusing and more discouraging. He is known as one of America’s finest and most characteristic writers.
1872 is the year when Roughing It was written. This book was just a personal narrative and not a history to show off, nor a thoughtful commentary. It’s a record of several years of exciting migration, and its intention is to help the reader rather than to hurt him with truth or fill him with science. In this book, there is a lot of information about episodes that happened in the Wild West. There are stories in this book that have never been told and have only been seen through the writer’s own eyes. There is a great deal of information in this book and the writer himself says this book can not be helped, but Twain was never exactly worried about giving his books an artistic framework.
The information that he wrote came out of him naturally. He felt this urge to write and felt excitement when he wrote his books. He felt that he was giving everyone a piece of what made him. He liked to live a fast life, that way he could have something to write about. He once said, The more I caulk up the sources, and the tighter I get, the more I leak wisdom. Mark didn’t expect justification from his readers but tolerance. Trying his luck at anything and everything was one of his bizarre habits.
He writes hilariously about his many encounters with vigilantes. He knew very well that carrying a Smith & Wesson was necessary when traveling in the Wild West. Guns back in the old times were not very accurate so you had a better chance of catching a cold than actually catching something to eat with a rifle. Many people saw Mark as a playboy, the pioneer in letters, and the leader of the herd. William Dean Howell, Mark Twain’s friend, called him the Lincoln of our literature.
This guy knew what he was talking about, not only were Twain and Lincoln both belongings of the border democracy but throughout their lives, they continued to look to the Wild West for the supplying of their imaginations. His work comes from the same roots that made Lincoln’s life the basic American myth. The man who came from nowhere and overcame an unpromising background to come out as one of the nation’s greatest heroes. Twain departed for Carson City with his unionist brother, Orion, who had recently been chosen Secretary of the Territory of Nevada.
He moved because he was convinced that his life as a confederate soldier offered a far greater threat to both him and the confederacy than it did to Lincoln’s armies. In the spring of 1867, he arrived in New York and had a growing character of a preacher and an author. At that time he was an unpaid private secretary but soon became a prospector, a financier, almost a millionaire, a worker in the mill, and finally a reporter. With the exception of reporting he had no sort of success in any of these. Mark Twain in this book is basically imaginary, a harmless beginner, uncertain and clumsy, generous and extremely trustful. Accidents are his destiny and he is regularly being victimized in his own unique way.
One example is the campfire that he sets into a forest fire. Another example is when he and his two companions were lost in a storm and were at the edge of dying only to awaken fifteen feet away from shelter in the morning. All he really wants to be is a successful man but all the circumstances force him to play the life of a clown. Laughing at himself is one of his trademarks for he did have a good sense of humor. In this book, Twain gives his imagination free rein, even though it is sometimes filled with incidents rather than feeling, it is always a visual imagination and never gloomy. He had the imagination of a novelist, not a reporter. Even though the book missing structure, it has been created.
Twain’s imagination usually led him to what was correct. He never showed his obvious desire to write a humorous book. He also never let it affect his sympathy or anger toward injustice. The conversational language of Roughing It was dazzling and usually clean. Twain’s language creates the characters and situations.
Twain had ample respect for those who had succeeded even though the law was trying to hold them down. Desperados were the ones he hated. He did not have positive feelings for the Noble Red Man/Indians. He also feared the lynch law and had admiration for bankers, merchants, and honest miners. He said that they all represented the civilized point of view. Where he lived there was not much enforcement of the law so that allowed him to say and act as he wanted. One could commit murder and easily get away with it.
Even if one did get caught, the jury was composed of fools and rascals – that’s the way he put it. He also believed that every man has a right to think or believe what he wants and they also have the right to judge in whatever way they wanted. If he had to choose between a fixed society under the law or a chaotic environment where everyone was free to do as they wish, he would choose the civilized world. He felt sympathy and total compassion towards the Chinese who were discriminated against so cruelly in the Far West. The Chinese were so peaceful, quiet, and free from drunkenness while their enemies were lazy, brutal, and ignorant.
The lack of enforcement of the law caused extreme pain for those who were peaceful and innocent. He was convinced that the law did not help the people like they were supposed to, instead they hurt the people more. Twain mentions his visit to Hawaii as a reporter and his earlier lectures in the last eighteen chapters of Roughing It. Even though it is a different setting than the Far West it does not mean it should not be in this book. There are very good stories in this section of the book, too.
There is something missing in these chapters, though, the comforting of humans. He didn’t have much sensitivity. He didn’t try to find comfort in the women of the islands, either. He had too much respect to try anything with the famous hula dancers. In Roughing It the work that he puts forth from his creative imagination can not calm down the truth of what he sees. He put a lot into this book and paid off for the best. Mark Twain died in Redding, Connecticut in 1910 but throughout his life, he accomplished a lot. He will never be forgotten. His life lives on through his works and he is now known as one of the nation’s greatest heroes as well as one of the best.