From the Autobiography of Mark Twain

Twain, Mark. “From the Autobiography of Mark Twain.” The Language of Literature. Ed Arthur N. Applebee, Andrea B. Bermudez, Sheridan Blau, Rebekah Caplan, et al. A Houghton Mifflin Company: Evanston, Illinois, 2002. 659-666. Print.

 In this short part of the autobiography of Mark Twain, he describes a moment in his childhood when he played a trick on his whole town. He over exaggerates how much fun he had when a mesmerizer came to town, and in order to gain fame, he played hypnotized, acting as if the mesmerizer was controlling him and his pain, by letting him puncture his body with pins. Many years later, he regrets the lie he carried and tries to tell the truth, except nobody believes him. Basically, Twain is claiming, “the glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance.” Even though he is illustrating that lies are very hard to carry, he manages to address a serious topic using humor, by exaggerating irony in his text. This is similar to the story “The Boy who cried Wolf,” where the boy fakes the coming of the wolf multiple times, that when the wolf really comes no one believed him.  By describing this ironic moment in his life, Twain is reflecting the ironies of life and how it has a way to reward and punish the people who deserve each.


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