Hewas born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1835. The Clemens family consisted of two brothers, a sister, and the family-owned slave, Jenny, whose vivid storytelling was a formative influence on the young Sam.As he was growing up, his parents explained their perspective on the nature of things in the established South, about the slave-owning tradition, and about 'rough western justice.'
Reflections ofthis pre-war southern upbringing are found in many of Twain's writings, and although his images are quite idyllic, one cannot ignore the constant historical reminders of some of America's moreunacceptable social realities.
Sam Clemens first discovered his literary talents through an apprenticeship at a local printing shop. He was exposed to countless books and became an avid reader. For him, acareer in journalism was more than natural, but it wasn't until the marriage of his sister that Sam was inspired to real action. Bound by train, he left Hannibal for New York City. Shortly thereafterhe found himself in Philadelphia, working in the publishing and journalism fields.
Eventually he relocated to Cincinatti, with the intention of saving enough money to explore the Amazon by way ofNew Orleans. His method of travel was to be the fateful steamboat, and while contemplating his future, he discovered his deep internal connection with the Mississippi river. Suddenly, he knew he had tolearn how to pilot steamboats, and this urge proved stronger than anything he had known before. Stronger, even than the idea of explorations in South America.
Some years later, after he had left...