Teacher's Guide for Cobblestone: Mark Twain
THE VIEW FROM THE CROW'S NEST (page 4)
1. What was Twain's real name?
BORN ON THE TAIL OF A COMET (page 6)
2. What careers did he pursue in his lifetime?
3. What does this article mean when it states that he was known throughout his lifetime for his "flamboyant and unique personality"?
4. How did he help Ulysses S. Grant and Helen Keller? What does this tell you about him?
5. How was Twain a chronicler of America?
1. Where and when was Samuel Clemens born?
LIGHT UP THE SKY FOR MARK TWAIN! (page 10)
2. What childhood experiences found their way into his book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?
3. How did Clemens describe people's attitudes toward slavery when he was a child?
4. Clemens's early life was not always easy. What tragedies struck his family?
5. Clemens quit school to become a printer's apprentice at the Hannibal Courier. Describe his job.
6. What did he do when he went to work for his brother Orion? Were they successful?
7. What encouraged him to leave Hannibal in 1853?
8. Briefly outline his travels between 1853 and 1857. What did he do in 1857?
9. How did the Civil War affect his life?
1. What two events in Twain's life coincided with the appearance of Halley's comet?
MARK TWAIN TIME LINE (page 11)
2. What was Edmund Halley able to predict that astonished the world?
3. The comet last appeared in 1986. Find out when it will next appear.
1. When did Samuel Clemens adopt the name Mark Twain?
THE GREAT RIVER (page 12)
2. What are the dates of Twain's major publications?
3. Why did he move to Europe in 1891?
4. When did he die?
1. How long is the Mississippi River? What did the Native Americans call it, and what did the name mean?
STORYTELLING JOURNALIST (page 15)
2. Who was the first white man to see the Mississippi? When was this, and what country did he represent?
3. What French explorer claimed the river and all the land it drained for France? What did he name the region, and for whom did he name it?
4. What U.S. president purchased the Louisiana Territory? In what year did he purchase it?
5. What characteristics of the Mississippi River made life in the Mississippi Valley uncertain and often dangerous for early settlers?
6. When was the Mississippi River Commission established, and what was its purpose?
7. Describe commerce on the Mississippi between 1812 and the Civil War.
8. When did the steamboat years on the Mississippi begin? What was the name of the first steamboat?
9. How did the Civil War affect traffic on the Mississippi?
10. What brought an end to the steamboat era on the river?
11. Describe transportation on the river today.
1. What was Samuel Clemens's first job? How old was he when he got it?
STEAMBOATING IN AMERICA (page 20)
2. How old was he when he went to work for his brother Orion? Describe one newspaper article where Clemens's imagination and desire to spice up the news caused problems.
3. When did he and his brother move to Nevada? What paper did he go to work for? Describe two articles he wrote for the newspaper that were hoaxes.
4. Who was the first writer to use the pen name Mark Twain? How did Clemens hurt his feelings? What does the term "Mark Twain" mean?
5. For what paper did Clemens work in San Francisco? What problems did he have on this paper?
1. Who was the first man to launch a successful steamboat? Who had created the basic design for the engine?
PERPLEXING LESSONS (page 23)
2. What was the name of this boat, and when was its first voyage? Describe the boat and its first trip.
3. How did Nicholas Roosevelt demonstrate his confidence in the safety of steam power?
4. Describe the improvements in design Henry Shreve made.
5. Imagine that you were a passenger on one of the luxurious steamboats. Write a letter to friends describing the boat and the services provided.
6. What products did steamboats transport for farmers along the Mississippi?
7. Why was there great concern about the steamboat's safety? How was Twain's younger brother, Henry, killed?
8. What was the boyhood dream that Twain eventually fulfilled?
1. How might the shape of the river seem different on a starlit night, a pitch-dark night, and a night shrouded in mist?
THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT EIGHT (page 28)
2. Just as Twain was getting to feel good about knowing the shape of the river, what did Mr. Bixby tell him he had to learn? What was Twain's reaction to this?
3. Do you think that Twain was using his talent for exaggeration in this selection, or is this an accurate description of what had to be learned?
1. How were Twain's lectures announced? To what parts of the world did his lecture tours take him?
THE HOUSE IN HARTFORD (page 31)
2. Where and when did Twain start his lecture career? Where did he travel on this first tour?
3. What was the name of the tour that provided the basis for his book The Innocents Abroad and provided material for the lecture circuit?
4. With what famous lecture circuit did he become involved?
5. Imagine that you are the entertainment writer for your school paper. Write a brief article describing the opening-night lecture when Twain came to town.
6. Why was Twain forced to make a final world tour beginning on July 15, 1895?
1. Imagine that you had an opportunity to visit the Twain family at their home in Hartford, Connecticut. Write a letter home describing the house and typical family scenes, such as bedtime stories and a day in the schoolroom.
THE HUMORIST AND THE GENERAL (page 36)
2. Why did Twain sell the mansion? Where did he and his family live after that? Where did he finally settle?
1. What was the name of Twain's publishing house? When did he start this new business?
DAVID GRANT TALKS ABOUT MARK TWAIN (page 39)
2. Describe the highs and lows of Ulysses S. Grant's personal and professional life.
3. Why did Grant want to write his memoirs? How did Twain help?
4. Describe the hardships Grant underwent while writing the book.
5. The book was published five months after Grant's death. Thanks to Twain's help, how much did his widow receive by the end of the century?
1. Imagine that you are conducting this interview with David Grant. Use the boldface questions, and take notes on the answers given. When you have finished, write a brief report on the experience.
2. Which of Twain's works did Grant recommend for young readers?
Do some research on the lyceum movement and write a report on it for your class.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Be sure to check "From the Archives" on page 46 for related title suggestions. You also may want to check the following issues:
The Chautauqua Story (July 1984),
The Mississippi River: Father of Waters (March 1990).