Unit 9 Background
Unit 9 Mark twain —— Mirror of America
1. What is a biography?
A biography is, by definition, an account of someone's life that has been written by someone else. Or it is a written history of someone's life.
Autobiography is an account of a person's life written by that person
2. Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, America’s most famous
humorist and the author of popular and outstanding autobiographical works, travel books and novels
3. Some of works of Mark Twain
1865 story The celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (became nationally famous)
1873 The Gilded Age 《镀金时代》
1876 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 《汤姆. 索亚历险记》
1884 The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin 《哈克贝利. 费恩历险记》
1889 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court 《亚瑟王朝上的康涅狄格美国人》
1893 The 1,000,000 Bank-note and other stories 《百万英镑》
1900 The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg 《败坏了哈德莱堡的人》
1916 The Mysterious Stranger 《神秘来客》
1924 Autobiography 《自传》
4. About the title of the text.
A mirror reflects or reveals the truth of something or somebody.
Mirror here means a person who gives a true representation or description of the country.
All literary giants in human history are also great historians, thinkers and philosophers in a sense. The literary giants’ works often reveal more truth than many political easy put together, and their names usually live in people’s memory long after the name of all the
kings and queens that ruled the country are forgotten.
Mark Twain was one of these giants, and his life and works is mirror of the America of his time.
5. A brief outline of Tom
Tom lives with his younger brother Sid and Aunt Polly in St. Petersburg, a remote town on the banks of the Mississippi river.
While his brother Sid is a “model” boy, Tom is quite the opposite of his brother. At school
he disobeys his teacher and always busies himself with outside matters at the lessons. Tom’s bosom friend is Huck Finn, a boy deserted by his drunkard of a father and looked upon as an outcast 流浪者in the town.
But Tom has read many books and wants to make his life just as bright as it is depicted in the stories. He devises games in which the boys play the role of brave outlaws and warlike Red Indians who are the terror of the rich and the oppressors.
One night the boys involuntarily witness the murder of Dr. Robinson. An innocent man is charged with the crime. But on the day of the trial Tom fearlessly exposes the real criminal the Indian Joe who escapes through an open window of the courtroom.
Another night, the boys went out to dig for hidden treasures near a deserted house three miles from town. There they almost fall into the hands of the murderer who accidentally finds a box filled with gold coins.
Unit 9 Background
Shortly after the incident Tom goes to a picnic with a party of schoolmates. Exploring a cave, he gets lost with Becky Thatcher, the daughter of the Judge. Tom behaves like a brave boy, calms Becky’s fears and finds the way out of the cave.
In a few days’ time Tom and Huck return to the cave. They find the dead body of the
murderer, who could not have found the way out of the cave and also the hidden treasures. 6. A brief outline of Huck
Tom and Huck find the money. They each get six thousand dollars, which they deposit with Judge Thatcher. The Widow Douglas takes Huck for her son and tries to “civilize” him.
In the meantime, Huck’s father tries to get the money and succeeds in kidnapping the boy and imprisons him in a lonely cabin. To free himself from both the boring widow and the brutal father, Huck runs away to a deserted island in the middle of the Mississippi river.
In doing so, he makes it appear that he has been murdered by some robbers. On the island he meets Jim, Miss Watson’s runaway slave, and the two become close friends.
They started down the river, come across all sorts of people and have lots of fun and adventures. Toward the end of the novel Jim is caught and imprisoned at a farm, and Huck and Tom make a spectacular but unsuccessful attempt to rescue him.
At last it turns out that Huck’s father has died and Miss Watson has also died, but not before setting Jim free in her will.
Unit 9 Background