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Mark Twain

            No man stands out more in the history of America literature than Mark Twain. It was Twain who finally freed authors from imitating the European tradition, leaving them to create a new national literature, which reflected and realized a still emerging country. Mark Twain isn't just a writer; he's a symbol of America. .
             Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known as Mark Twain, the distinguished novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, and literary critic who ranks among the great figures of American literature. He was born in 1835 in Florida, Missouri and died in 1910 in Redding, Connecticut. Best remembered for his creation of the world of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Mark Twain made use of these characters throughout his career.
             During his childhood he lived in Hannibal, Missouri, a Mississippi river port that was to become a large influence on his future writing. It was Twain's nature to write about where he lived, and his nature to criticize it if he felt it necessary. As far his structure, Kaplan says, "In plotting a book his structural sense was weak; intoxicated by a hunch, he seldom saw far ahead, and too many of his stories peter out from the author's fatigue or surfeit. His wayward techniques came close to free association. This method served him best after he had conjured up characters from long ago, who on coming to life wrote the narrative for him, passing from incident to incident with a grace their creator could never achieve in manipulating an artificial plot" (Kaplan 16) .
             Focusing on this image, however, can take us farther from an understanding of who Twain really was. He was a complicated man who has been called everything from a humorist, to a reformer, to a prophet. He has always faced strong criticism, from his original critics who accused him of being irreverent and vulgar to modern challenges that his books are racist and stereotypical. .
             However, Mark Twain overcomes any generalizations about him.

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