“Advice to Youth” (Mark Twain) Quiz
Satire is a style of writing that presents reality in a way that magnifies weaknesses.
Further, it presents these imperfections as normal. There are many different kinds of
satirical devices. A parody, for instance, copies and ridicules the manner or techniques
that someone/a group of people uses. Twain uses parody in “Advice to Youth”, because
he presents tainted advice in a didactic tone. His advice is tainted because it is essentially
correct, but has a little flaw that gives it a naughty tone. For example, Twain asks youth
to obey their parents, but then says that that they should only do this for convenience’
sake, to keep their parents happy.
Didactic means designed or intended to teach. Twain’s speech was, according to him,
“didactic, instructive or something in the nature of good advice”. Twain used satire
when he categorized his speech as “good advice”.
Beseechingly means imploring and begging urgently. Twain’s use of this word lends a
pseudo-serious tone to his writing. He is jokingly imploring his young audience to
listen to his bad advice.
A superstition is an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear. In his advice about
parents, Twain says that parents believe in the superstition that “they know better than
you do”. This is, in most cases, false, as parents have more experience than their
To offend is to cause resentment, difficulty, discomfort, or injury. Twain uses satire
when he suggests throwing a brick at people who cause offense, a rather severe
punishment for a minor insult.
A lark is a songbird, a harmless prank or playful adventure. Mark Twain playfully
urges youth to get up early, with the larks, because larks can be trained to wake up
Temperate means marked by moderation. Twain does not ask youth not to lie at all,
but instead tells them to lie in moderation until they are better at lying.