Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - High (X) - The Ken Burns Collection (X) - Reconstruction (X) - U.S. History (X)

The Master of the Pause | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain was a genius of the stage. He had a long drawl and used silence to his advantage. The pauses were the preludes to a cascade of humor.

Lessons from the Civil War | Ken Burns: The Civil War

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Four million slaves were emancipated from slavery, yet it would take another century for African Americans to win their freedom.

The Mississippi River | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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The Mississippi River was Twain's Harvard and Yale. It was a sacred place for him. Twain said that every character he came up with he met on the Mississippi.

American Speech | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain made American speech something to be admired. At the time, the European was supposed to be the ideal. But Twain used American vernacular and turned it into literature.

Mark Twain Goes Abroad | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain traveled abroad with the idea that America was the center of the universe, and not Europe.

Dark, Depressive Streak | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Mark Twain's irrepressible humor is always colored by the knowledge that horrible things can happen in life. The dark element gave depth to his work.

The Anguish Underneath the Man | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Arthur Miller discusses the character of Mark Twain. Under the boasting of Mark Twain was a great suffering. He was a symbol of an American dilemma: a great success, with anguish underneath.

Aren't We Funny Animals? | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Hal Holbrook discusses how Twain's writing makes him feel, and the empathy of Twain's writing. It is the humor that Twain finds in mankind that makes his work so enjoyable.

Hartford House | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain had a divided personality. Twain wanted to be rustic and a rebel, but he also wanted to be wealthy and successful. His house in Hartford, Connecticut was incredibly luxurious.

Triumph Through Tragedy | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain was a passionate man who was able to rise above the personal tragedies he faced in life.

Inclusion | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Arthur Miller discusses the ways Mark Twain included himself in his commentaries and critique of human behavior, and in doing so, achieved greatness in his work.

"The Innocents Abroad" | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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In July of 1869, Twain's The Innocents Abroad appeared at last. It was a subscription book sold door-to-door, and it made Mark Twain the most successful writer in the world. Instead of going for a cultivated audience, Twain went for the masses. "Great books are wine," said Twain. "My books are water...but everybody drinks water."

The Problem of Race | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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Twain knew if America was going to be a great nation, the problem of race had to be talked about and brought to light. Mark Twain saw what America was about and he was not afraid to hold up a mirror.

Hannibal, Missouri | Ken Burns: Mark Twain

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The idea of place formed Mark Twain, and through Mark Twain we see Hannibal, Missouri as something of an Eden, a place of eternal summer.