Roughing It Review

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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From the moment I began to read the Twain novel, Roughing It I was encaptured by it. I found that the book was very interesting and kept me wondering what the next hurrdle or adventure was going to be. I felt that the realism of the book showed how life could be traveling to and living in Nevada. Twain spoke of the hardships encountered traveling to Nevada, but sometimes glossed over it and distracted your attention by remembering a certain event, that usually had little relevance to what was at hand, but did however lend an entertaining moment. Even though I often wonder about how Twain started speaking of these tangents I thoroughly enjoyed them. It made the book seem less factual and more fictional. I also felt that by including these stories it made the book more personal and made you feel like you were right there with Twain through his journies.

These stories also allow you to see different cultures throughout the book. Whether they be young, old, anglos, Christians, or Mormons. Although he does not put a lot of focus on these different cultures (some more than others) he does give you a little glimpse of some of their views and also other people¡¯s views of them in this time.

I noticed that Twain also included other people¡¯s accounts for stories. One example of this would be, ¡°Bemis¡¯ Version of It,¡± (Twain :59). By adding this portion to the book it showed the reader that many times stories do become exaggerated. Twain also added a story about how he was told an ancedote over and over again. This portion of the book allowed the reader to understand that although the distance may be far, but stories travel, even if they aren¡¯t true. By telling these stories Twain shows that one thing that shapes our history is word of mouth. That even embelishments have a way of changing what is thought throughout a region.

I also felt that Twain contributed to what many may think as the wild, wild west. Although vigilantes and criminals was not a main focus of this book Twain does refer to them. Twain includes a chapter or so about the vigilante, Slade. Twain tells of the fearless Slade and the murders and rutcous that occurs. By writing of Slade, Twain does incorporate an importance of crime and safety, but also does glorify it a bit. Twain glorifies it by explaining the situations like an old west film of our time.