78 pages 2 hours read

Mark Twain

Life on the Mississippi

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1883

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Life on the Mississippi

  • Genre: Nonfiction; travel literature; memoir
  • Originally Published: 1883
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1030L; Grades 9-12; College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: 60 chapters; approximately 384 pages; approximately 15 hours, 29 minutes on audio
  • Central Concern: Life on the Mississippi is a memoir of Twain’s days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War and a travel narrative when he revisits the river many years later. It provides a glimpse into the American South’s vibrant, often rough society, along with observations about the changes brought by industrialization and societal progress.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Race and cultural representations include bigoted language and racist slurs; depiction of violence and accidents related to steamboat piloting; enslavement

Mark Twain, Author

  • Bio: Born 1835; died 1910; Samuel Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain; born and raised in Missouri; known for his wit and social criticism; one of the most celebrated humorists in American literature; worked as a typesetter, riverboat pilot, and miner before focusing on writing; his works often drew upon his diverse life experiences
  • Other Works: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876); Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884); A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • America’s Growth and Prosperity
  • Knowledge and Education
  • Maturity