Analysis of "My Uncle's Farm" by Mark Twain

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Click Here For Research Papers Online! Class: Freshman english Subject: English Title: Analysis of "My Uncle's Farm" by Mark Twain In this essay, Mark Twain describes life on the farm that belonged to his uncle, John A. Quarles. Twain spent three or four months on the farm a year during his childhood, and he has many fond memories of it. Twain first gives technical details of the farm: it was five hundred acres or so and in Missouri near the town of Florida. It had fifteen or twenty slaves on it. He then tells of the kitchen, and in particular, the food, describing all sorts of southern foods he had while there. He says that the food there was prepared very well, and that northerners could never make southern food the right way; nor could Europeans. Europeans were always ridiculing so-called "American" customs and ideas, calling their food unwholesome, even thought they knew nothing about them. According to Twain, it is better to eat fine foods that may be unwholesome and enjoy oneself rather than to eat healthy and deprive oneself all one's life. He often tasted the "forbidden fruit" when he and his cousins would swim in the brook and wading pools on the farm that were forbidden to them by his uncle. Twain then talks about his experiences with the slaves on the farm, and how they impacted on him and his whole attitude towards slavery and Blacks. He talks sentimentally about an old black woman named Aunt Hannah, who, according to young Twain and his cousins, was over 1000 years old and had talked with Moses. She was religious and superstitious, and prayed a lot and was afraid of witches. Twain speaks fondly of all the slaves on the farm; saying that he used to play with the black children, and they were treated as almost equals. One particular slave who stood out was "Uncle Dan'l," a middle-aged slave who was the smartest in the slave quarters, and had the finest character. Twain used him in creating the Jim character in Huck Finn. He remembers Uncle Dan'l as one of the nicest people he ever knew. Twain then goes on to talk about his feelings towards slavery. He sees nothing wrong with it; as in his time not many people, even the slaves (for fear of the severest of punishments) ever spoke of aversions to slavery. In his community, it was something morally and ethically O.K. He never saw any slave mistreated in Hannibal (the town in Missouri in which he lived,) and especially not on the farm. One incident he recalls is that there was a young slave boy named Sandy who would always sing out loud, to no end. When young Mark asked his mother about it, she said that it was good that he sang, because it means that he has forgotten all the bad things that has happened to him; that he will never see his mother or his family. She told him not to stop him from singing, so he will not remember. This stuck in Twain's head throughout his life. Twain then goes on to describe some of the Tom Sawyer-like mischief he used to get into. He used to take snakes and garters and plant them in his Aunt Patsy's work basket. His Aunt Patsy as well as his mother were afraid of snakes, as well as bats, an animal which Twain is quite fond of. To Twain, the bat is no less friendly than any bird, and he enjoyed playing with them and speaks highly of them. There was a cave full of them outside of town, and young Mark frequented it. Many stories surrounded the cave: more than one victim had gotten lost in there for weeks at a time, and there was a legend that a famous St. Louis surgeon put the corpse of his daughter in there preserved in alcohol. Twain begins part two of the essay describing the swings that he and the other children used to swing on-and not infrequently off of, breaking many a limb. Twain never had an accident falling off, but the other children had many. He then tells of the interesting and friendly medicinal system in the south: each family paid $25 a year to cover all doctor visits and medicines, which was almost always caster oil. The grandmother usually took care of sick children; calling the doctor only when it was serious. One doctor Twain knew of was a black with no medical training, who was the only person who knew the cure to a rare deadly child disease. He and he alone knew the ingredients to the cure, and was called upon to cure the disease. Mrs. Utterback was the local "dentist," who cured toothaches by screaming "believe" while touching the tooth, and miraculously the ache as gone. Dr. Meredith was the local physician who Twain recalls fondly, who saved his life many times. Twain then relates a very serious story, how when he was a child, until he was seven, he was a sic

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