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Monday, February 14, 2011

Mark Twain - from "Two Views of the River"

Realism is an understatement for Mark Twain's "Two Views of the River." The story does an excellent job of using Realism guidelines to describe a harsh reality. It is a story of a river and the correlations it has to his life as the captain of his steamboat sailing down the Mississippi River, which had always been a dream of his (Twain, 504-505). However, after he reaches his dream and has captained his boat for a while, he feels like there is something missing from his life, like there is no more love between the river and himself. This unfortunate feeling eventually leads to the depiction of real life as the sadness and depression it truly holds. This passage describes the basic topics of nature, in that the main character relates the events in his life to the parts of the river, human nature, in that Twain's life is reported in such real simplicity, and the American Hero, in which he fulfills his dream of owning his own leisure ship (Twain, 504-505). Realism is portrayed throughout this story because Twain realizes the character's extended dream of having his own boat. The man has clearly taken much interest in the Mississippi River, almost to the amount of love, and his lifelong dream was to captain a boat down its mighty currents. But, after having achieved this goal, what else can the man do with his beautiful but cruelly useless boat? The river became mere water flowing through the land; the boat simply became a mode of transportation; his dream became only a beautiful thought that once was (Twain, 504-505). This just goes to show that not everything is how it sounds when it ends. It is good to want something and great to be able to get it, but, sometimes, as proven in this passage from "Two Views of the River," that great thing dies and turns out to be just another memory. Basically, Twain describes a cruel situation in which the character gets what he has always wanted, but, as it turns out, it is not that great. Twain makes a comparison to a doctor and his wife that go through this same situation. Initially, the doctor loves his wife like mad because she is so beautiful. But, after doing his job all day long, the doctor sees many other equally beautiful women, so he sees his wife's beauty as the same as the other women's beauty (Twain, 504-505). This sort of thing happens so much all throughout life, so Twain decided to write this story to show how important thought is in life. Twain wants readers to think about the outcomes before proceeding blindly into a passion. Twain constantly describes the beauty and amazement in the river itself and his spectacular draw to it, and he describes the various parts of the river and its surroundings, relating them to various parts of his life (Twain, 504-505). This nature is typically used to describe Realism, even though nature itself is not the main focus of the story. Again, religion and government are not outstanding topics in this section. Finally, although the story ends in a flop, the character lives out the American Dream by acheiving his goal of owning a boat and sailing it down the mighty Mississippi River. This, while it sounds like a failure, is his Heor form because he came to his own rescue. Unfortunately, however, once again, the protagonist loses his own struggle.


Works Cited

Twain, Mark. From "Two Views of the River." Glencoe Literature. Ed. Jeffrey Wilhelm. American Literature ed. Colombus: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 504-505. Print.

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