Tuesday, June 7

The Mark Twain Effect

Every so often I am reminded how hilarious it is when the character and appearance of an author is apparent through their writing.  Just this afternoon, I remarked to my mum how hilarious it was that the character and appearance of dear, old Hafiz, 14th century mystic poet, is so vivid and obvious in his poems.  What I said to her was along the lines of "I can just see him - he's a well-rounded, jolly, apple-cheeked old man, doing a little spirited jig as he drinks and talks in a deep, booming laugh".  And I only think so because his poems could only have been written by such a man.

Mark Twain is the same, and he is the person I wish to linger on.  If you have read his books, as you must have once, (because secondary teachers seem to be quite fond of his dashing little creations, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn), you will know that his writing is clear, no-fuss, witty, a touch on the dry side, fresh and adventurous.  If you have read his quotes, as you must have once, (because I love decorating my blog with them), you will know that his sayings are of utmost wit and jocularity, with a touch of dry sarcasm and cynicism. 

Overall, if I had never seen a picture of him in my life, I would think that he looked like this:

Which is very cheering, when he actually looks like this:

You would have picked up on the fact that they are both pictures of Mark Twain.  Yes.  Isn't it just hilarious how perfectly his writing portrays him.  He looks just how I would think him to look - dry, with a brooding deep intellect, which is served on a china saucer, rather than a silver platter like some writers, in boyish adventure tales and witty anecdotes.  I think him the most 'Mark-Twain-looking' man possible.  And it all comes through his writing. 

Do you find this the case?  Undoubtedly you would.  I don't think that readers can help it.  We're so used to picturing characters in our minds, and a book in its entirety is just one, big character description for the person who wrote it.  Isn't it just hilarious?

By the way, here are some Mark Twain quotes for you:


He really knows how to put a simple concept in so many words to make it starkly honest and hilarious. 

1 comment:

  1. Haha I love it! I have never read his stuff (not since year 2 anyway) so can't remember, but he looks like such an interesting man! I'll have to check it out :) The same goes for Dickens. He looks so quirky, just like his books! And thank you for your comment, I absolutely agree with what you said. Unhappy people can't spread happiness.


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