Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mark Twain!

Though, I have a feeling you wouldn't have cared too much if I forgot it.

And actually, I did forget it.

Today's Google Doodle helped inform me that indeed Mark Twain is now 176 years old. Though I'm sure he doesn't look a day past 40 (if you find the appropriate portrait that is).

The Google Doodle is an image of his most famous literary creations, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It was just last year that I decided to reread The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and I once again fell in love with that magical novel. It is considered the Great American Novel by many for a reason.

I like Twain because he was witty and sarcastic. He also didn't seem to have this snobby view of what literature should be. He just wrote engaging stories with compelling and quirky characters. His stories did have some powerful messages; the type I'd argue has just as much value to hear today. I know, some of his books have been banned and partly that is due to some of the racial slurs, but it was a product of the time. Twain's books, especially Huck Finn, did a great job of speaking out against many of the social crimes of his time. I feel those same messages can give some much needed perspective today.

You're a great writer when you can not only offer up work that can be intelligently debated and discussed in academic circles but also provide a really engaging story that is just fun to read for a few evenings. Twain was able to do that. He did it well.

Plus the guy liked to stir things up and always had something witty to say. I can definitely respect that, because I try to do that here on a pretty regular basis.

So, Happy Birthday Mark Twain, and much respect to a man who is still remembered and loved after 176 years.

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