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Mark Twain’s Childhood. Julianne DeAngelo English 3 period 7. Mark Twain at age 15. Early Years. Mark Twain ( Samuel Clemens) was born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835.

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Mark twain s childhood

Mark Twain’s Childhood

Julianne DeAngelo

English 3 period 7

Mark Twain at age 15

Early years
Early Years

  • Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) was born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835.

  • The Clemens Family first moved to Hannibal in 1839, but they didn’t move to what we now know as Twain’s boyhood home until 1844.

  • The address of the house is 206 Hill Street.

(Merriman, C. D. “Mark Twain – Biography”)

Why hannibal
Why Hannibal?

  • Mark Twain’s father, Marshall Clemens, saw an advertisement in a local paper about property for sale in the larger, growing village of Hannibal.

  • Buying the property seemed like the perfect opportunity for Marshall to become more successful and solve some of the family’s numerous financial difficulties.

  • Even though it was the initial reason for moving there, the family’s financial situation didn’t get much better.

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

What was hannibal like
What was Hannibal like?

  • When the Clemens family first moved to Hannibal, it was “A town on the rise” (Powers 20) along the Mississippi River with about 1,000 citizens.

  • “The river meant everything to the town. It carried away tobacco, hemp, pork, and whiskey, and brought back cash” (Powers).

  • Steamboats were a major attraction in Hannibal that everyone loved to see. They also greatly influenced the town’s economy.

  • Hannibal was small, and when the Clemens first moved there, permanent houses were still replacing log cabins.

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

Twain s life in hannibal
Twain’s Life in Hannibal

  • The young Mark Twain loved to swim in the Mississippi River and picnic along its banks. He also went with his friends to the Eden of Glasscock’s Island to explore, dig for turtle eggs, and relax in the sun.

  • Twain nearly drowned many times during his adventures, but eventually he became one of the best swimmers in his group of friends.

(Lauber, John. “Tom Sawyer Days”)

Twain s life in hannibal continued
Twain’s Life in Hannibal Continued

  • As well as going on adventures with his friends to explore, Mark Twain had to go to school.

  • His sister Pamela was a star student, but Twain was far from her high standards. On his first day of school, he was “switched” for breaking a rule.

  • Hannibal was also a very religious town, so Twain had to Sunday school, sermons, family worships, and camp meetings.

(Lauber, John. “Tom Sawyer Days”)

Twain s family life
Twain’s Family Life

  • Twain’s father was an awful business man who was always trying something new (with little success) to make ends meet.

  • This caused a stressful environment at times, and his father would take out his anger by disciplining the children.

  • Twain’s father died when Sam was almost twelve.

  • His mother, Jane, loved her children very much and was devastated by the loss of three of her seven children early on.

  • Overall, Twain’s family life wasn’t the happiest, but his adventures in Hannibal added more fun to his childhood.

(Lauber, John. “Tom Sawyer Days”)

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

(Merriman, C. D. “Mark Twain – Biography”)

Central experiences
Central Experiences

  • The death of Twain’s father was hard for him in many ways.

  • Twain had to leave school and go work at a newspaper company, “The Hannibal Courier”, to make money.

  • This is when he began writing his first stories and became interested in writing.

  • The death of his siblings, and his brother in particular, gave Twain more reason to hate religion for most of his life; he didn’t like that religion seemed to be designed to create fear and guilt in children.

(Merriman, C. D. “Mark Twain – Biography”)

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

How did twain s childhood in hannibal influence his writing
How did Twain’s childhood in Hannibal influence his writing?

  • Many people believe that much of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are taken from Twain’s own childhood in Hannibal.

  • It is true that many of the experiences in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were based on Twain’s experiences:

  • Tom Sawyer’s troubles in school and hatred of going to church

  • Going on adventures along the Mississippi

  • The racist environment that surrounds Huck Finn

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

(Lauber, John. “Tom Sawyer Days”)

Writing influence continued
Writing Influence Continued writing?

  • Will Bowen (friend of Sam Clemens) inspired the character Joe Harper in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

  • Twain also witnessed the shooting of Sam Smarr, the first murder in Hannibal, which probably inspired the murder that Tom Sawyer witnessed in the book.

  • Overall, Mark Twain’s childhood was adventurous and fun at times, but also had terror and sadness because of death. Many of his experiences are reflected in particularly Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, giving readers a window into what the childhood of Twain was like.

(Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life)

Hannibal s effect on mark twain as a child and later in life
Hannibal’s Effect on Mark Twain as a Child and Later in Life

  • The sadness and terror that surrounded Twain during his childhood (from racism and loss) as well as the fun, adventure, and experiences with his friends all effected his career and life later on.

  • His move to Hartford was due in part to his experiences in the South and Hannibal.

  • Twain unfortunately inherited his father’s finance issues and was bad with handling his money, which may have stemmed from his childhood.

(Merriman, C. D. “Mark Twain – Biography”)

Works cited
Works Cited Life

  • Lauber, John. "Tom Sawyer Days." The Making of Mark Twain. New York: American Heritage, 1985. 17-33. Print.

  • Merriman, C. D. "Mark Twain-Biography." The Literature Network. 2006. Web. 30 Mar. 2012. <>.

  • Powers, Ron. Mark Twain: A Life. New York: Free Press, 2005. Print.

  • (Mark Twain age 15)

  • (house picture)

  • (Hannibal map)

  • (Tom Sawyer cover)

  • (Huck Finn cover)