Mark Twain was an inspiring author. 1835 – 1910
When he is portrayed in movies, his character tends to be a bit grumpy, and a victim of the times with racist and sexist thoughts.
However, in his writings, he tended to take the “devil may care” attitude that likely alienated his religious neighbors.
In Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, both the homeless, and family less Huckleberry Finn, and the escaped salve, Jim, are treated as equals, or nearly by Tom Sawyer. In many ways, Tom treats them nicer than he treats people of equal social status.
These breakthrough novels allowed readers to think of thee poor, the abused, and those enslaved individuals (whether by legal chains, or jobs they couldn’t escape that wouldn’t pay a living wage).
In many ways, these novels are as valid today, as they were when they were published in 1876 and 1884. Not much has changed with the way society treats those it considers the downtrodden, and not worthy of the opportunities afforded to those born in better situations.
Some of the language has changed. And we might not use some of the same slang. Though, we could certainly put many people we know in each character’s shoes.
This social theme also carried through The Prince and the Pauper.
And A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court was a fun example of an early time travel novel.
All of these writings, and more, have encouraged me to included the social issues of the time in my novels. They matter. They are what should bind us together, and yet, often tear us apart.
My writing may never live up to Mark Twain’s specifications. I’m not quite so vocal. I hope I can reach those who want to learn about social ills, and how to repair them. How to be friends, and lend a helping hand to those society despises without need. No need to fear those born poor. Offer a hand, a job, a home, a bit of hope, so they can be on equal footing. No need to spit on them from the cradle to the grave.