Twain Essay - UciyAvadlInfo

Twain Essay

By
rows
eNotes
search

Homework Help



>

Mark Twain


in Mark Twain’s essay “How to Tell a Story,” what does Twain say is the difference between telling a humorous story and telling a comic story?
 no

  • print Print
  • document PDF
  • list Cite

Expert Answers

sciftw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

The very first difference between a humorous story and a comic story that Twain mentions is the difficulty difference between the two stories. Twain says that of all the types of stories that are out there, the humorous story is the only difficult kind of story to tell.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous.

Next, Twain mentions that humorous stories are American, while comic stories are English, and witty…

The very first difference between a humorous story and a comic story that Twain mentions is the difficulty difference between the two stories. Twain says that of all the types of stories that are out there, the humorous story is the only difficult kind of story to tell.

There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous.

Next, Twain mentions that humorous stories are American, while comic stories are English, and witty stories are French. Immediately following that statement, Twain tells his readers that humorous stories depend on how they are told, but comic and witty stories depend on the subject matter of the story. The next difference is a possible difference in length. Twain mandates that comic stories are short; however, humorous stories can be of many different lengths. A humorous story can even be long.

The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it pleases, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point.

Probably my favorite difference is the “work of art” difference. Twain says that humorous stories are works of art. This is a huge compliment to the Americans since the humorous story is American. Next, he insults the British and French types of funny stories by saying that they are not art and “anybody can do it.”

Additionally, comic stories announce to the audience that the story will be funny, but a humorous story will be told “gravely,” and the humor is hidden and emerges as the story progresses.

Further Reading:
https://www.enotes.com/topics/mark-twain?en_action=conten…

  • list Cite
  • link Link

schulzie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

Twain lists eight differences between telling a humorous story and telling a comic one.

1. A humorous story is American and a comic story is British.

2. A humorous story depends on what effect it has on the listener; the comic story depends on details and the fact — the actual subject matter.

3. A humorous story is told in great length,stinging incongruities and absurditites together and “bubbling gently along”; a comic story is told quickly and gets to the point with a “burst”.

4. A humorous story may wander around as much as it pleases, sometimes telling things that have nothing to do with the story and sometimes ending nowhere in particular.  Twain calls it the “slurring of the point” ; the comic story must end with a point to make.

5. Only an artist can tell a humorous story; anyone can tell a comic story.

6. The humorous story is told seriously and often hides the fact that something humorous is in the story; a comic story tells the listener upfront that it is a funny story.  

7.  A pause is an important feature of telling a humorous story; a comic story is  just told without creating any atmosphere.

8. A humorous story will have the teller make little side remarks, as if thinking aloud; the comic story is just told as a story.

  • list Cite
  • link Link

Unlock All Answers Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more, and enjoy eNotes ad-free.

Start Free Trial to Unlock

Already a member? Log in here.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial

Ask a Question

Related Questions

  • In Mark Twain’s essay “How to Tell a Story,” what does Twain say is the difference between…
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • According to Mark Twain, what are the four basics to “the American art” of telling the…
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • What is Mark Twain telling us about human nature in the story of “A Dogs Tale”?
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers
  • What is Mark Twain’s defining characteristic as a comic author?
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers
  • In the story “Luck” by Mark Twain, what elements are amusing? How does the development of humor…
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer

More Mark Twain Questions »

Popular Questions

  • What elements are unique to Mark Twain’s style? How could you identify a passage as Mark Twain if…
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers
  • How does Mark Twain use humor in his writing?
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer
  • What is the theme of Mark Twain’s “The Californian’s Tale”?
  • eNotes educator2 educator answers
  • What are some conflicts in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Chapters 1-15)??
  • eNotes educator3 educator answers
  • Discuss how Twain created suspense in the story, “The Californian’s Tale?”
  • eNotes educator1 educator answer

More Mark Twain Questions »

Additional Links

  • Mark Twain Biography
  • Mark Twain Analysis
  • Mark Twain Quiz
  • Mark Twain Lesson Plans

What Is Man? (Twain essay)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to navigation
Jump to search

For other uses, see What is man? (disambiguation) .

What Is Man?” is a short story by American writer Mark Twain , published in 1906. It is a dialogue between a Young Man and an Old Man regarding the nature of man. The title refers to Psalm 8:4, which begins “what is man, that you are mindful of him…”.

It involves ideas of determinism and free will , as well as of psychological egoism . The Old Man asserts that the human being is merely a machine, and nothing more, driven by the singular purpose to satisfy his own desires and achieve peace of mind. The Young Man objects, and asks him to go into particulars and furnish his reasons for his position.

The work appears to be a genuine and earnest debate of his opinions about human nature, rather than satirical. Twain held views similar to that of the Old Man prior to writing “What is Man?”. However, he seems to have varied in his opinions of human freedom. [1]

It was published anonymously in 1906 and received such little attention Twain claimed to have regretted its publication. After his death in 1910, the New-York Tribune published a feature on it. Criticism at that time focused on its dark and antireligious nature. [2]

Isaac Asimov apparently had in mind this story when he wrote ” … That Thou Art Mindful of Him “, [3] since Asimov’s title is from the same Bible verse, and two of Asimov’s robots debate the same subject.[ citation needed ]

References[ edit ]

  1. ^ Twain, Mark (author), Paul Baender (editor). What Is Man? and Other Philosophical Writings , 1973, UCP, ISBN   978-0-520-01621-7 , Introduction, p. 4 ff
  2. ^ J. R. LeMaster, James Darrell Wilson, Christie Graves Hamric. (authors) The Mark Twain Encyclopedia 1993, Taylor & Francis, ISBN   082407212X , 9780824072124, p. 784
  3. ^ in Asimov, Isaac. The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, Doubleday, 1976

External links[ edit ]

  • What Is Man? at Project Gutenberg
  • What Is Man? public domain audiobook at LibriVox
  • v
  • t
  • e
Mark Twain
Bibliography
Novels
  • The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • The Prince and the Pauper
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • The American Claimant
  • Tom Sawyer Abroad
  • Pudd’nhead Wilson
  • Tom Sawyer, Detective
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
  • A Double Barrelled Detective Story
  • A Horse’s Tale
  • The Mysterious Stranger
  • Hellfire Hotchkiss
Short stories
  • ” The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County “
  • ” Cannibalism in the Cars “
  • ” General Washington’s Negro Body-Servant “
  • ” My Late Senatorial Secretaryship “
  • ” Some Learned Fables for Good Old Boys and Girls “
  • ” A Literary Nightmare “
  • ” A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage “
  • ” The Invalid’s Story “
  • ” The Great Revolution in Pitcairn “
  • ” 1601 “
  • ” The Stolen White Elephant “
  • ” Luck “
  • ” The Million Pound Bank Note “
  • ” A Double Barrelled Detective Story “
  • ” Those Extraordinary Twins “
  • ” The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg “
  • ” A Dog’s Tale “
  • ” Extracts from Adam’s Diary “
  • ” The War Prayer “
  • ” Eve’s Diary “
  • ” Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven “
  • ” My Platonic Sweetheart “
  • ” The Private Life of Adam and Eve “
  • ” Advice to Little Girls “
  • ” The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine “
Short story
collections
  • Mark Twain’s (Burlesque) Autobiography and First Romance
  • Sketches New and Old
  • A True Story and the Recent Carnival of Crime
  • Punch, Brothers, Punch! and Other Sketches
  • Mark Twain’s Library of Humor
  • Merry Tales
  • The £1,000,000 Bank Note and Other New Stories
  • The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories
  • The Curious Republic of Gondour and Other Whimsical Sketches
  • The Washoe Giant in San Francisco
Plays
  • Is He Dead?
  • Colonel Sellers
  • Colonel Sellers as a Scientist
Essays
  • ” The Awful German Language “
  • ” Advice to Youth “
  • ” English As She Is Taught “
  • How to Tell a Story and Other Essays
  • ” Concerning the Jews “
  • ” A Salutation Speech From the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth “
  • ” To the Person Sitting in Darkness “
  • ” To My Missionary Critics “
  • ” Edmund Burke on Croker and Tammany “
  • ” What Is Man? “
  • ” Queen Victoria’s Jubilee “
  • ” The United States of Lyncherdom “
  • ” Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses “
  • Letters from the Earth
Non-fiction
  • Territorial Enterprise letters
  • Letters from Hawaii
  • The Innocents Abroad
  • Roughing It
  • Old Times on the Mississippi
  • A Tramp Abroad
  • Life on the Mississippi
  • Following the Equator
  • Is Shakespeare Dead?
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain
  • Mark Twain’s Notebook
  • King Leopold’s Soliloquy
  • The Private History of a Campaign That Failed
  • Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire
  • The Bible According to Mark Twain
  • Christian Science
Speeches
  • ” Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism “
  • ” Votes for Women “
Places and events
  • Conception
  • Birthplace Historic Site
    • State Park
  • Boyhood Home and Museum
  • Mark Twain Cave
  • Mark Twain in Nevada
    • Territorial Enterprise
    • Sagebrush School
  • Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut
  • Stormfield
  • Publisher, Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs
  • Twain–Ament indemnities controversy
In popular culture
  • Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
  • Mark Twain Tonight!
  • The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944 film)
  • The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985 film)
  • Mark Twain: The Musical
Family
  • Olivia Langdon Clemens (wife)
  • Susy Clemens (daughter)
  • Clara Clemens (daughter)
  • Jean Clemens (daughter)
  • John M. Clemens (father)
  • Orion Clemens (brother)
Related
  • Jap Herron

Stub icon This article about an essay or essay collection is a stub . You can help Wikipedia by expanding it .

  • v
  • t
  • e

Retrieved from ” https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=What_Is_Man%3F_(Twain_essay)&oldid=838036161 ”
Categories :

  • 1906 essays
  • Essays by Mark Twain
  • Essay stubs
Hidden categories:

  • All articles with unsourced statements
  • Articles with unsourced statements from March 2014
  • Articles with Project Gutenberg links
  • Articles with LibriVox links
  • All stub articles

Navigation menu

Personal tools

  • Not logged in
  • Talk
  • Contributions
  • Create account
  • Log in

Namespaces

  • Article
  • Talk

Variants

    Views

    • Read
    • Edit
    • View history

    More


      Navigation

      • Main page
      • Contents
      • Featured content
      • Current events
      • Random article
      • Donate to Wikipedia
      • Wikipedia store

      Interaction

      • Help
      • About Wikipedia
      • Community portal
      • Recent changes
      • Contact page

      Tools

      • What links here
      • Related changes
      • Upload file
      • Special pages
      • Permanent link
      • Page information
      • Wikidata item
      • Cite this page

      Print/export

      • Create a book
      • Download as PDF
      • Printable version

      Languages

      • فارسی
      • Français
      Edit links

      • This page was last edited on 24 April 2018, at 14:59 (UTC).
      • Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License ;
        additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy . Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. , a non-profit organization.
      • Privacy policy
      • About Wikipedia
      • Disclaimers
      • Contact Wikipedia
      • Developers
      • Cookie statement
      • Mobile view
      • Wikimedia Foundation
      • Powered by MediaWiki