Mark Twain Says it All

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mark Twain is a genius. He describes thing so common that you don’t even pay attention to and yet when you read his description you’re like: “Exactly! Been there, done that!”. Not to mention the ingenious metaphors; I love it when he uses a certain metaphor to reflect an emotion the character is experiencing. Genius, genius, genius!

Take this for example, it’s the first paragraph of chapter 9 of “The adventures of Tom Sawyer”, describing Tom going to bed. It reminds me of myself as a kid, sleep was the least of my concerns and I spent much time in bed, awake, staring around in the darkness and listening to the occasional sounds that broke the dead silence of the sleeping home.

AT half-past nine, that night, Tom and Sid were sent to bed, as usual. They said their prayers, and Sid was soon asleep. Tom lay awake and waited, in restless impatience. When it seemed to him that it must be nearly daylight, he heard the clock strike ten! This was despair. He would have tossed and fidgeted, as his nerves demanded, but he was afraid he might wake Sid. So he lay still, and stared up into the dark. Everything was dismally still. By and by, out of the stillness, little, scarcely preceptible noises began to emphasize them- selves. The ticking of the clock began to bring it- self into notice. Old beams began to crack mysteri- ously. The stairs creaked faintly. Evidently spirits were abroad. A measured, muffled snore issued from Aunt Polly’s chamber. And now the tiresome chirping of a cricket that no human ingenuity could locate, began. Next the ghastly ticking of a death- watch in the wall at the bed’s head made Tom shudder — it meant that somebody’s days were numbered. Then the howl of a far-off dog rose on the night air, and was answered by a fainter howl from a remoter distance. Tom was in an agony. At last he was satisfied that time had ceased and eternity begun; he began to doze, in spite of himself; the clock chimed eleven, but he did not hear it. And then there came, mingling with his half-formed dreams, a most mel- ancholy caterwauling. The raising of a neighboring window disturbed him. A cry of “Scat! you devil!” and the crash of an empty bottle against the back of his aunt’s woodshed brought him wide awake, and a single minute later he was dressed and out of the win- dow and creeping along the roof of the “ell” on all fours.

3 responses

  1. I have mixed feelings about Mark Tawin. He contributed a lot to American literature no doubt. But my introduction to him was through his remarks in “Innocent Abroad” where he describes a visit of his to the Mediterranean region. Given his fame in American literature, man Zionists proudly proclaim his words as evidence that the land of Palestine was barren and empty before Israel (of course his accounts are over stated .. but still). … so I have mixed feelings.

    Anyway, this page is worth reading:

  2. Well, I can say that I’m interested in his literary works away away from politics and ideology but it’s hard to seperate this from that ifwe knew he was pro-zionist or anti-Arab or anti-Muslem, but those quotes were clearly taken out of contest

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