Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 — April 21, 1910) was an American writer and speaker, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, whose pseudonym was “Mark Twain,” a term used by Mississippi River sailors to indicate the depth of water measured in a waterway.
When he was 12 years old, his father died, he had to stop school and go to the factory as a laborer. He worked as a pilot, miner and journalist on the Mississippi River. Gradually, he began to write some interesting sketches and began his writing career. Twain’s representative works include the novels “The Million Pound Bank Note”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and so on.
Mark Twain is the founder of American critical realism literature. This genre was typical in novels, plays, prose, poetry and other aspects. In terms of content, his works criticized the unreasonable phenomenon or the ugliness of human nature, and expressed the strong sense of justice and concern for the common people. Stylistically, both the experts and the general reader agree that humor and satire are characteristics of his writing. He experienced the transformation from capitalism to imperialism in the early stage of the United States, hence his thoughts and creations were also reflected in the development stage from light humor to bitter satire and then to pessimism. In the early stages, he was good at bitter satire, but in the later stage, his language was more exposed and fierce.
The works of Mark Twain are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.
This book was recommended to me by my friend who accidentally found this book online while she was exploring her college options as a student who needs financial aid. I wasn’t exactly drawn to reading this book at first simply by looking at its title. The United States of American is a nation where equality, justice, and freedom prevail, I thought. But curiosity still prompted me to read the first few pages of this novel and I was truly surprised at how much the rich and wealthy alumnus parents manipulate college acceptance officers to help enroll their children in the Ivy League universities.
I didn’t feel bitter because of the rich kids who, with mediocre academic records and criminal offenses managed to get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. Well, life is unfair, and their parents just naturally are more powerful and connected to tycoons who with a phone call ensures the matriculation of a child into these universities. What I felt to be a decline in democracy, meritocracy, and most importantly, the prominence of the American education system—one which the U.S. proclaims to be of the top in terms of its position in the world—is the fact that scholarly institutions are no longer willing to discover talent and support intellectual efforts from the rough and lower socioeconomic tiers.
Wealthy legacy and children of generous donors occupy spots that they don’t deserve. Perhaps they don’t even think how many nights did students from working and middle class spent studying instead of partying like them. Is the advancement of education really still the major goal and core of private institutions, or in maintaining their status in the academic community and attracting tycoons their one and only aim now?
This book would probably be my favorite book written so far by James Baldwin. It is a novel that deals a lot with racism and injustice. Personally, in some point of our life we all feel like we’ve been treated unfairly for no reason and I can relate a lot to this perspective. Whether it’s because of my nationality, skin color, gender, and or even physical appearance in general. Fonny doesn’t deserve to be put into jail because he was falsely accused of rape, but in a society where white people always prevails at that time, a black man couldn’t voice his opinion out freely.
Now Tish on the other hand really touches me a lot, I was deeply moved by her strong sense of love and determination. She didn’t leave Fonny because he was put into jail and even when she was pregnant with his child, she didn’t choose to do abortion. Speaking of the truth, I can’t see any glorious future between a black criminal and a teen mom. But Tish doesn’t seem to agree with me, her family doesn’t have a lot of money and yet they were willing to hire all kinds of lawyers just to accomplish an almost impossible mission-battling against the entire world.
I definitely would recommend this book to people that are having depression or feel like they don’t belong to this harsh world. No worries, this novella will make you know that there are people like you, you are not alone.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.