AP Language Mark Twain Pre-reading

Before you read the two Twain pieces, read over these questions and use them to guide your annotation (and probably your discussion tomorrow!):

1. The first question with satire is ALWAYS what is the object or objects of the satire. So, what is Twain poking fun at in each piece?

2. Since you have two pieces to read, the next most obvious thing to do is compare and contrast them. Specifically:
           A. How would you rate the causticness of each satire? Are they
                Juvenalian? Both Horatian?
          B. How does Twain achieve his satire in each piece?  Does he use
               the same techniques? Different techniques?
          C. Who do you think is the intended audience of each piece? How
                are the audiences similar/different? How does Twain’s tone
                and/or technique change based on his audience?
          D. How do the speakers of each piece contrast? How is this contrast
               connected to the genre of each piece?

3. Next, since we just finished “A Modest Proposal,” compare/contrast the Twain pieces to this piece. Which of the two Twain pieces seems most “Swiftian”? least “Swiftian”? In what ways or why is this so?

4. The introduction to “The War Prayer” notes that Twain was not able to get the piece published during his lifetime.  Why do you think it was deemed unsuitable for magazine readers of the day? What effect does the piece have on modern readers? How do you account for the difference between its effect in 1905 and today?

5. The ending of “The War Prayer” is somewhat ambiguous. Analyze the ending.


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