The American Journey Modern Times © 2009

Chapter 6: An Urban Society

Web Activity Lesson Plans

"The Literature of Realism"

In this chapter students learned about the Urban Society. They also learned about elements of society, such as the extreme wealth of the rich masking the poverty of those living in settlement houses and tenements. The literature of realism helped to vividly describe the lives of all people. One of these realistic authors was Mark Twain, who wrote about his travels and set his stories in the context of places he had been.

Lesson Description
Students will learn about the life of Mark Twain. After reading the articles and answering questions associated with the articles, they will use the knowledge they gained about Mark Twain to connect his experiences to his writings.

Instructional Objectives

  1. The student will be able to explain aspects of the life of Mark Twain.
  2. The student will be able to use the information they learn to connect the experiences Mark Twain had during his life to their influence on his writings.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. Clemens used to be a riverboat pilot. "Mark twain" is a term used by sailors that they yell when the depth of the water is being measured. It means that the river is safe to travel.
  2. Clemens married and had four children. One died as an infant and two more died when they were young adults. One survived and had one child, but that child had no children of her own. There are no direct relatives of Clemens alive today.
  3. He did participate in the Civil War. He formed a Confederate militia.
  4. He was born in Florida , Missouri on November 30, 1835. He died in Redding , Connecticut on April 21, 1910.
  5. Answers may vary but could state that the many places Twain visited allowed him to write realistic descriptions of those places and the people there. For example, the time he spent on the Mississippi River as a riverboat pilot could have influenced the writings of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer .
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