What Is A Good Thesis Statement For A Research Paper On Mark Twain

The Mark Twain Thesis

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Mark Twain

To look at that person on the honor role, who's the best athlete,
has the newest car, and gets all the ladies. Or the person in art class who
continually produces the best art work and ruins the grade curve for the rest
of us. Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good
example. Throughout his life Mark Twain continued to produce masterpiece
writing leaving no good example un-battered. A man who gets his dream job,
and is despised by the whole town of just dreamers. A person who's
convictions are stronger than his flesh. And a seemingly harmless man, who
tells the story as it should be told and comes under the utter annoyance of the
narrator. Imperfect characterization played an , obvious, major role in his
writings proving that few things annoyed him more than a good example.
The pose that Twain takes to his characters that seem to be
striving for excellence is quite unique. In an excerpt from Life On The
Mississippi Twain tells us of a man with a dream. As imperfection has it this
man's dream did not come true. But his friend's similar dream , however,
did. The narrator tells us through a blanket of jealousy how this man was
perpetually annoying, and how, 'there was nothing generous about this fellow
and his greatness.'; Like many of Twain's writings this excerpt shows us a
man with convictions as he looks at a seemingly good example and puts it
under a different light.
Convictions that shine through in what could quite possibly be a
realistic situation (in Twain's accounts of them) shimmer with imperfection.
In a part of Roughing It Twain brings us to a camp of three men. Under the
inclination that they are all about to die, these men start to ponder what they
could have done with the rest of their lives. They all end up making promises
to themselves that they fully believe they will not have to keep. Promises of,
'reform'; and 'examples to the rising generation.'; In what would seem to be a
surreal end to a story of repenters continues on. These men find themselves in
a comical situation and end up surviving. So what happens to the promises
they never gave a thought to having to keep but for the few moments it takes
a man to freeze to death in the dead cold of winter?

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The narrator ,before
telling us that everyone ends up going back on their promises, explains to us,
'The joy in our hearts at our deliverance was poisoned; well-nigh dissipated
indeed.'; Twain surely saw this story as a quite pleasing bad example.
So out of the normal, are good examples, that they tend to attract
more attention and over analization. Indeed when the narrator walks into a
bar and spots the man he wishes to speak to. Before a word of conversation is
muttered the narrator already knows that the thoughts about to be spoken
were not what he was wanting to hear but he, 'let him go on his way, and
never interrupted him once.'; In a monotone voice this character by the name
of Simon Wheeler told a story about a man who loved to place bets. A man
that could usually win but would bet you either way. Twain, instead of
creating in our minds this glorious and wise all knowing story teller, gives us
a lazy miner who gets the details correct often enough for it to be a truthful
story, but not enough to cause a scene.
To make such a general statement about the evils of a good
example one must hate all aspects and any form of a good example. As
society works human error is accepted as everyday life. The few perfection's
in life are first looked at carefully to the point of admiration, then frowned
upon, then again carefully scrutinized. To glorify anything to the point of a
good example is intolerable. And the characterization of a person whom is
without flaw can be found many places, but never in one of Twain's writings.



Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in Huck Finn and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement for Huckleberry Finn. These thesis statements offer a short summary of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Huck Finn by Mark Twain, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1 : The Character of Jim and the Anti-Slavery Theme in Huck Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is absolutely relating a message to readers about the ills of slavery but this is a complex matter. On the one hand, the only truly good and reliable character (and the only one who is free of the hypocritical nature other white characters are plagued by) is Jim who, according to the institution of slavery, is subhuman, thus one has to wonder about the presence of satire in “Huck Finn”. Furthermore, Mark Twain wrote Huck Finn after slavery was made illegal and the choice to set this story in a time when slaves were still held is significant. What truly makes this thesis statement about race and slavery in Huck Finn complex is that there are still several traces of some degree of racism in the novel, including the use of the “n” word (although in Twain's time it was not quite the contentious word it is now with the loaded meaning) and his tendency to paint Jim in some ways that fit the stereotype of a slave (superstitious, consenting, etc.) Despite these issues, for this essay on Huck Finn, argue that the character of Jim as the only righteous and honest character in a sea of white characters who are all greatly flawed proves that Twain wanted to show that despite the “civilized” nature of white society, it is not perfect and slavery, which denies human rights, is a hypocritical institution. For this essay, performing a character analysis of Jim will be vital.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2 : Dark Themes in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn after receiving a great deal of critical and public success from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer but there are several marked differences between Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as texts. When making a comparison between Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer one almost immediately notices the darker themes and motifs in Huck Finn. Certainly, one could argue in an essay that this was in part due to the tragic path of Mark Twain's life (which just kept getting worse after Tom Sawyer was published) and whether you want to take a biographical approach to this essay or not, you can easily make the argument that there are many dark themes this text addresses. Pap is abusive and drunk, Huck is alone in the world and is stifled by others rather than cared for, families engaged in rivalry actually kill one another, conmen and other criminals abound and generally speaking, the world Huck Finn lives in is a scary place. While there were some darker themes in Tom Sawyer as well, look to the several examples of the dark world Huck lives and in this argumentative essay on Huck Finn, examine the dark themes of slavery, abuse, and dishonesty and decide what Twain was trying to relate in the novel, keeping in mind it is from the viewpoint of a young boy.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3 : Good Intentions and Huck Finn

Throughout the novel by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there are countless characters who are filled with the best intentions but are generally not doing the best thing for Huck Finn. Judge Thatcher wants to improve the moral condition of Pap (which, of course, backfires and only allows him to torment Huck further) Miss Watson wants to give Huck a “sivilized” upbringing but only suppresses his nature and makes him miserable, and the Phelps family wants to “do the right thing” and return Jim to his owners. The problem with all of these characters is that they are limited by their own view of what is best for others and tend to completely overlook the harm to do others, most notably Huck and Jim. For this argumentative essay on Huck Finn and the role of good intentions, consider how the desire to do the right thing actually points to the hypocrisy of some characters or how good intentions only serve to work against Huck and Jim.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 : Huckleberry Finn and the Notion of Being “Sivilized”

Throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn there is a strong attempt on the part of those who are important in white society to get Huck to conform to certain standards or to attain traits of a civilized person. Miss Watson and Widow Douglass try to give Huck the clean upbringing that a character such as Tom has but this creates a problem because Huck Finn lacks the fundamental basis for having much of a reason for any of these marks of civilization. His father is cruel and malicious and because of his situation, he generally does not need to be told what to do but instead comes to his own decisions based on his firsthand experiences. The most important aspect of this thesis statement about what it means to be “sivilized” in Huck Finn is that the white characters who seek to “improve” him are not always the best people. In other words, Huck is given nothing but contradictory ideas about what kind of boy he should be. For this thesis statement and essay on Huck Finn, perform a character analysis of Huck in which you look at his reaction to influences trying civilize him versus influences that teach him about life from first-hand experience.

For additional help, be sure to read the following articles. They should help you develop new thesis statements and expand upon those listed here: Class and Satire in “The American” by Henry James and “Huck Finn” by Mark Twain and
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