3.4.4 Test (TST): Wrap-Up: The American Narrative
English 11 Sem 1
Points Possible: 45
Name: Peter Xia
1. Short-response prompt (15 points)
Read the following excerpt from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.
Two or three of the boys had long been persons of consideration among us because they had been to St.
Louis once and had a vague general knowledge of its wonders, but the day of their glory was over now.
They lapsed into a humble silence, and learned to disappear when the ruthless "cub"-engineer
approached. This fellow had money, too, and hair-oil. Also an ignorant silver watch and a showy brass
watch-chain. He wore a leather belt and used no suspenders. If ever a youth was cordially admired and
hated by his comrades, this one was.
How does Twain's use of sarcasm help serve his purpose? Be sure to use specific details from the text to
support your answer.
Twain’s use of sarcasm helps to serve his purpose by illustrating that he views the subject as stuck-up
without stating it outright. This is most clearly seen through his description of the subject’s accessories,
“ignorant silver watch and a showy brass watch chain.” The connotative meanings of these words are
negative, which suggests that he sees the subject as snobby and excessive. This excerpt also exhibits an
air of jealousy towards the subject, which goes on to support Twain’s statement that “If ever a youth
was cordially admired and hated by his comrades, this one was.”