Analysis Of Mark Twain And Jack London's San Francisco Earthquake

Improved Essays
Mark Twain and Jack London’s San Francisco Earthquakes

Earthquakes are devastating tremors that cause serious damage. Mark Twain and Jack London describe two earthquakes they witnessed in San Francisco. In Mark Twain’s essay, he uses a satirical and humorous approach when describing human reaction towards the sudden earthquake, through a first point of view, and carefully chosen descriptive words. Jack London, on the other hand, focuses mainly on the effects the earthquake had on the city. He uses a defeated tone, personification, and no human interaction to clarify his argument. Both writers captivate the audience through their tones, descriptive words, and points of view.

Mark Twain’s sole purpose of his essay was to explain how all
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His essay’s primary focus is not the earthquake and aftermath created, but focuses on humans hilarious method when dealing with sudden disaster. “The minister, with uplifted hands, was just closing the services. He glanced up, hesitated and said: “However, we will omit the benediction!”- and the next instant there was a vacancy in the atmosphere where he had stood”. The minister is only one example out of innumerable demonstration of humans acting “insensible from the fright”. In addition, Twain uses first person point of view to introduce the essay. “While I was in San Francisco, I enjoyed my first earthquake.” The use of first person demonstrates Twain 's interaction and first view of the aftermath of the earthquake as enjoyable, making his reaction towards the earthquake unnatural because the majority of people 's reaction is shocked and devastating. The use of first person also intensifies the feeling of being right in front of the earthquake through Mark Twain 's eyes. Equally important is Twain’s use of descriptive …show more content…
He uses personification to emphasize the impact the earthquake had on the living city. “Half the heart of the city was gone”, shows how similar the city is to a human, as seen that both have hearts and the city having a heart can also imply it having emotions. Personification is also used in paragraph 2, “ San Francisco’s burning was a luid tower visible a hundred miles away… this tower swayed in the sky, reddening the sun, darkening the day, and filing the land with smoke”, and that shows the city as being alive and suffocating from all the smoke caused from the “lurid tower”. It also personifies the smoke luring around in the sky forming a tower. London excludes all human interactions, except in the last paragraph explain that the destruction and suffering of the city was more important and how insignificant humans are towards natural disasters. Excluding humans also projects London 's purpose that in reality humans are harming the city instead of the earthquake. Humans built the city and if that city never existed, pain and destruction would not exist either. Another key element of London’s essay is the attentive words used to develop his tone. He describes the aftermath of the earthquake as “cunning”, “smashed”, and “dommed”, leaving London with a defeated tone, never able to win a battle with nature. He admits that there is no beating natural catastrophes and in the end nature will be

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