Mark Twain was born two months premature as Halley’s comet passed. His real name was Samuel Clemens. As a child he listened to the slaves tell stories and was inspired by the Mississippi River. At a young age, he lost his father and two of his siblings. He learned to joke about his sorrows because if he didn’t laugh, he’d be crying. Eventually, Twain left town to be a riverboat pilot. Twain loved being on the river but being a pilot was very difficult. He convinced his brother to become a riverboat pilot as well but he got transferred. One day, while they were trying to meet, his brother got into an accident and died; Twain blamed himself and became severely depressed. The civil war soon came and separated his family. He joined a militia but they eventually split up because they didn’t actually want to fight. Twain fled to Nevada to be with his brother, who was just given the state for his help during the war. In Nevada he tried to get a job mining gold but it was a complete failure. Instead, he began to work for a newspaper. Eventually he wrote and published an article about how poorly the Chinese were treated so he got fired. After losing this job, he had nothing. He was going to kill himself but then realized he still had very little and very little is much better than having nothing at all.
Twain married a woman named Olivia and they had four children. The first child was premature and died soon after birth. Olivia’s father also died around this time and she began to lose her faith. When Twain lost his daughter he was also in a lot of debt. He and Livy eventually recovered and Twain gained a lot of fame from it. Livy grew ill and the attention from the press helped him through this hard time. As Livy grew sicker, the doctor told Twain it would be best if he stayed away from her, so he wrote to her every day. One day, as Twain was playing the piano for her, she slowly drifted away. At this time, one of Twain’s daughters came home to live with him. She was epileptic and had a seizure in the bathtub on Christmas Eve and drowned. Twain was devastated but still grew to be very popular with the press. As he grew sick, many people would send him home remedies in hope to save his life. Unfortunately, Twain died on April 21, 1910 as Halley’s comet passed overhead.
Mark Twain was a legacy. He wrote and spoke freely and didn’t care what other people thought. He wouldn’t sugar coat anything. As Twain once said, he wasn’t an American, he was the American. America is all about being able to speak freely and do things at your own will. Mark Twain did and said pretty much whatever he wanted. The “American dream” is all about coming from nowhere and getting somewhere. Twain did just that. He was born in a family whose businesses kept failing and eventually became one of the most famous authors in history. Throughout his life he had good times and bad and his writing shows it. When Olivia was alive she prevented him from publishing anything pessimistic. However, once she died, his work began to reflect his depression. Like all fantastic authors, he took his mood and put it on paper.
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