Jeanine O'Loughlin

Fantasy, Science Fiction & Historical Fiction Author, Blogger, and Geek

Category: Holidays

Great American Authors – Mark Twain

July is the month we celebrate the United States’ Independence Day. So, this month I will be posting about some of America’s greatest authors.

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Mark Twain 11/30/1835 – 4/21/1910

Born in Florida Missouri as Samuel Langhorne Clemens the author better known as Mark Twain grew up in the small town of Hannibal Missouri. The town would later provide the setting for his most famous novels; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Starting as an apprentice with a printer Twain went onto become a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading West with his elder brother for mining prospects.

After failing at his mining endeavors Mark Twain started working as a journalist and publishing short stories in the paper. Twain’s wit and satire was praised by critics and brought him international attention. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in 1886 and inspired by Twain’s own childhood experiences. The sequel to the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published in 1884 would later be considered by some the first ‘Great American Novel’ with it’s heavy satire on what Twain felt were antiquated attitudes, particularly racism.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been a controversial book due to its language since it’s publication, though the particular areas of complaint have greatly shifted. A common book on many school reading lists some have attempted to ban the book or remove it from school curriculum due to its use of racial slurs and racial stereotypes even despite arguments of its anti-racist message.

Mark Twain also published the famous story of The Prince and The Pauper which now can be seen throughout American stories, but did not win Twain much critical fame. Many believe that Twain’s lack of experience in England, where the story was set, and the story’s social commentary when the two boys switch places. His beliefs and life experiences were strong influences on his work and are great areas of exploration within the narratives of the stories.

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Dads of Literature – Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Atticus Finch

“‘First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 1960)

Today we celebrate Father’s Day, a day to say thank you and appreciate the man who raised you to be who you are or who you will be. A parent is a great influence on their children and I feel Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird really embraces that idea. If you haven’t read the book yet… stop reading this right now and go pick it up. During the Civil Rights Movement a book about a caucasian lawyer defending an african-american man who has been accused of raping a young caucasian woman in Alabama during The Great Depression.

Even with the entire town and the time’s social stigmas against him Atticus strives to represent Tom Robinson to the best of his ability and prove his innocence which he believes in. I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t read the book, but throughout the trial and all of the events surrounding it Atticus strives to teach his children to represent what’s right and good even if the whole world is against you. To always consider what it’s like to be someone else before you can truly understand them. It’s an idealism that I try to live up to in my own life.

Happy Father’s Day!

Earth Day – Poetry Edition

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Happy Earth Day!

As we take some time out of our busy days in internet-land to appreciate the beautiful world around us I pulled a wonderful poem about Mother Nature herself by the legendary wordsmith Emily Dickinson.

Nature is What We See
By Emily Dickinson

Nature is what we see,
The Hill, the Afternoon-
Squirrel, Eclipse, the Bumble-bee,
Nay – Nature is Heaven.

Nature is what we hear,
The Bobolink, the Sea-
Thunder, the Cricket-
Nay – Nature is Harmony.

Nature is what we know
But have no Art to say
So impotent our Wisdom is
To Her Simplicity.

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