essay 2 - Maturation on the Mississippi Mark Twains...

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Maturation on the Mississippi Mark Twain’s autobiography Life on the Mississippi contains many universal themes, one of the most important being maturation. Throughout the novel, the reader sees Twain transform from a small-town boy with worldly aspirations to a grizzled veteran pilot of the Mississippi River. We can see changes in Twain’s personality, his philosophy towards life, and his feelings towards nature through three specific passages in the novel. Growing up, Twain had always wanted to be a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi. He viewed this occupation with reverence and romanticism due to the high salary and the sense of exploration and discovery. So Twain runs away from home and becomes a pilot. He describes his first steamboat excursion when he says, “I became a new being, and the subject of my own admiration. I was a traveler! A word never had tasted so good in my mouth before.” (Twain 25) However, as time passes and he begins to learn the ropes, as seen in Chapter Nine, Twain’s view starts to mature. In this chapter, Twain realizes that there is a lot more to piloting than he previously thought. Twain learns to read the face of the water like it is a book. “The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book – a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as if it uttered them with a voice.” (47) In a sense, Twain matures from the role of a passenger to
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essay 2 - Maturation on the Mississippi Mark Twains...

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