Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Clemens. Although most identified with the American South—the setting for his most famous novel, the masterpiece Huckleberry Finn—Twain lived his final years in New England.

Photograph courtesy Library of Congress
  • On February 18, 1885, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, was published in the United States. Though a sequel to his book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) wrote it as a more serious look at slavery and life in the American South before the Civil War. The book follows Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, as they float down the Mississippi River on a wooden raft. Their destination is Ohio, a state where slavery is outlawed.
    The novel is narrated by the young Huck Finn, who uses his own voice—including slang—to describe the land and its people. Huck questions and pokes fun at many attitudes of Southern society. He takes particular interest of the racism of the time, seen through people's attitude toward Jim. 
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Civil War Noun

    (1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

    Mark Twain Noun

    (1835-1910, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens) American writer.

    novel Noun

    fictional narrative or story.

    publish Verb

    to provide a written piece of work, such as a book or newspaper, for sale or distribution.

    racism Noun

    governmental or social systems based on the belief that one race or ethnic group is superior to others.

    raft Noun

    flat, floating platform.

    slavery Noun

    process and condition of owning another human being or being owned by another human being.

    society Noun

    large community, linked through similarities or relationships.

    South Noun

    loosely defined geographic region largely composed of states that supported or were sympathetic to the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the U.S. Civil War.