Mark Twain

9 September 2016

Mark Twain’s use of irony to express a better sense humor is displayed in many of his short stories. Such as “Luck”, in this story a clergyman explains how the “hero” was able to make mistakes and receive commendations and medals because acts of stupidity turned into acts of military intelligence. “He was appointed an officer, a captain of all things” (Twain, “Luck”), the clergyman said for the reason that the stupid “hero” that had barely made it through basic training was appointed a captain. He continued to climb up, over the dead bodies of his superiors” (Twain, “Luck”), the hero continued to make mistakes and was promoted only due to the death of his superiors and his “so called” acts of military intelligence. Twains use of irony and humor in these quotes helps display the hero’s mistakes and so called acts of intelligence in a humorous and ironic way. In many of his other short stories Twain uses humor and irony: “Concerning the difference between man and the jackass: some observers hold that there isn’t any.

But this wrongs the jackass” (“Mark Twain”). A quote from Mark Twain himself showing the humor of himself outside of stories. Twain’s quote seems to relate closely to the story “The Kicking Mule” “the mule raised his heels with such velocity and forces that Boggs rose in the air like a bird and alighted on all fours in a muddy ditch” (Twain, “The Kicking Mule”) This quote and Twains quote relate closely in that in the story a man is stupid enough to bet that the mule would kick him and not kick a fly off the man.

Mark Twain Essay Example

The difference between man and jackass isn’t any, this maybe an insult to the jackass. McKettrick 3 “The Invalid’s Story” by Mark Twain, is one of Twains best displays of the combination of irony and humor. In this story, a man leaves home to retrieve one of his old friend’s dead body so his friends family can bury him. While transporting his friend’s body a mishap occurred, his pine box was mistakenly labeled to a gun company, while the box he thought was his friends’ body was actually the box of guns that had been labeled his friends body. I was carrying off a box of guns which a young fellow had come to the station to ship to a rifle company in Peoria, Illinois, and he had gotten my corpse” (Twain, “The Invalid’s Story”)! The man’s friend had been ironically shipped off to a gun company, while the man was carrying a box of guns. “I began to detect a most evil and searching odor stealing about on the frozen air” (Twain, “The Invalid’s Story”). The man started to smell an odor coming from the box, he thought it was his friends body starting to decompose, but it was really from some old smelly cheese that one of the other passengers had put on the box.

In a court case there is usually a jury and judge both of which are supposed to be unbiased. In the case of “The Judge’s Spirited Woman” by Mark Twain the judge was in a relaxed and spectator mood because the evidence against the defendant was clearly not enough to find him guilty for murdering the woman’s husband. “I had my coat off and my heels up, lolling and sweating, and smoking one of those cabbage cigars” (Twain, “The Judge’s Spirited Woman”).

The judge’s relaxed mood caused humor in the story because, when do you ever see a judge act in that manner. “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything” (Twain, “The Judge’s Spirited Woman”) is what the judge said when the defendant was found not-guilty and the “spirited woman” shot and killed the Defendant. The judge continued to act in humorously relaxed state of mind. McKettrick 4 “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey” by Mark Twain is short story that combines animals with irony, and a whole lot of humor. She always stopped and posed” (Twain, “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey”): speaking about how the boy hunted the turkey all day and how the turkey knew that the boy was an awful shot and the turkey would play with the boy by posing because of it.

Twain used the turkey to create irony by giving the turkey human like smarts and actions, and give the boy turkey like hunting skills. “I followed an obscenely lame turkey over a considerable part of the United States” (Twain, “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey”) the boy said after getting lost and wore out by the turkey.

Twain used the irony of the hunted turkey to getting away from the hunter boy. Twain also combines humor and irony with animals in “A Fable” by Mark Twain with the use of a cat to explain a mirror and the other animals being too stupid to realize what they’re looking at.

There was nothing in that hole but a donkey” (Twain, “A Fable”) the donkey had seen himself in the mirror and had not realized that the thing in whole was a mirror showing his reflection in it. “Anybody but a near-sighted fool could ee that there was nothing in the hole but a elephant” (Twain, “Hunting the Deceitful Turkey”): the same thing that happened to the donkey happened to the elephant. McKettrick 5 “Clemens(Mark Twain) studied the Mississippi River and the operation of a riverboat”(Mark Twain, “biography”). Twain in his early life was fascinated by the Mississippi River, thus causing him to want to be an apprentice of a riverboat captain and learn more about the river and being a riverboat captain.

“The Great Steamboat Race” by Mark Twain shows Twains opinion of steamboats, and the life style of them. Amaranth’s just turned the point behind us, and she’s just a humping herself, too” (Mark Twain “ The Great Steamboat Race”). This quote shows the humor behind Twain’s writings. He is known for the use of southern language and dialect in his writings, I believe that Twain uses these southern characteristics to add a certain level of wit to his short stories. Also the use of irony in this short story turns the story into something quite fun to read. The civil war was thought to have in affect on Twain and this is seen in his short story “Luck”. They turned tail, away they went over the hill and down into the field in wild disorder” (Mark Twain, “Luck”).

The Russian troops fled from the oncoming attack of british, this was due only to the british “hero” mistakenly confusing his lefthand for his right hand and leading the charge the wrong way. “The allied commander looked on, his head spinning with wonder” (Mark Twain, “Luck”), explains that even the allied commander knew that the “hero’s” mistake had led to the victory and he was as shocked as anyone “ his head spinning with wonder” (Mark Twain, “Luck”) shows this. McKettrick 6

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Mark Twain. (2016, Sep 17). Retrieved July 27, 2021, from
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