“Running for Governor” is a unique artistic work, a special genre between satire and short story. While a novel should be about character and plot, “Running for Governor” doesn’t focus on character or plot, but describes a bunch of cleverly arranged news stories and interspersed commentary. In that sense, it’s like a funny story, or a satirical essay. However, it is different from the general satirical sketch, because although it does not focus on depicting the character, it cannot be said that it does not show the character at all. It runs through the process of the emotional change and awakening of a character “I”.
Aesthetically, humor and satire belong to comedy. When something that is intrinsically ugly takes the form of something that is good and just; or, on the other hand, when something essentially good is expressed in some harmless form which is not in harmony with its essence, it tends to have a comedic effect — the former may be satirical and ridiculous, the latter humorous and ridiculous. “Running for Governor” is based on this contradictory principle of content and form, and adopts hyperbole to create a comic effect.
As a master of critical realism, the artistic feature of Mark Twain’s writing is based on his profound insight into the various social conditions and human affairs of capitalism. The sharp point of criticism directly points to the hypocrisy and ugly soul of capitalism. The irony in language is the most outstanding feature of “Running for Governor”. As for the use of language, Mark Twain is not impatient, but slowly, through vivid and delicate brushwork to show the subtle changes and contrasts in the text incisively and vividly.