Satire And Irony In Mark Twain's A Presidential Candidate

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The “greatest American humorist of his age”, Mark Twain once said, “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” From Missouri to Nevada, apprentice to father of American literature, short stories to novels—Twain became the well-known author he is today because of the impact his life adventures and trial had on him (5). Author of the excerpt from A Presidential Candidate, Twain often used humor and wit to illustrate his stories and make his point known. Through his use of satire, irony, and rhetorical questions, Twain exposes the perceived truths of the Presidential campaigns and candidacies. In his excerpt, Twain uses satire to illustrate how anyone can run for President regardless of experience (14). He believes, “What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history, so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before.” Therefore, if a candidate has no…show more content…
He believes “The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.” By taking what he can get, Twain explores not just the political aspects and ironic situations of Presidential campaigns, but he also explores the intellectual art. After telling about his aunt’s burial under a grape vine, Twain asks, “Does that unfit me for the Presidency?” While the question is rhetorical, it forces the reader to decide if Twain is eligible for the Presidential office based on his history and odd burial practices. He also becomes defensive by questioning, “Why should I be selected as the first victim of an absurd prejudice?” Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Twain places the reader in a situation that requires much pondering of meaning and deep, intelligent insight into the commonalities performed by leading political
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