Twain's Embrace of Nature
In class we discussed Twain's acceptance of the "simple life" before the start of his journey. He begins the journey by leaving his useless fancy clothing and spent the trip wearing shirts and boots. In the later chapters of Roughing It, Twain seems to embrace this lifestyle even more.
He develops a deep connection to the nature of the west and this serves as a vehicle for his ability to "rough it." In chapters twenty three and twenty four, it is as if Twain is having an epiphany. He becomes so connected to the nature that he claims he is as happy and content as he could be although his living conditions are far from luxurious.
We see this when he describes his sleeping conditions:
"Nothing could disturb the sleep that fettered us, for it had been fairly earned, and if our consciences had any sins on them they had to adjourn court for that night, any way. The wind rose just as we were losing consciousness, and we were lulled to sleep by the beating of the surf upon the shore."
The nature helps him and his companions to sleep soundly. I also find the use of the word "earned" very interesting because it is as if an honest day's work gives one the right to a good sleep. I know I have experienced this phenomena. After hard exhausting work, sleep seems like a reward of sorts.
Later in the chapter he describes the intrinsic power that the nature holds and this furthers his appreciation for his surroundings.
"Three months of camp life on Lake Tahoe would restore an Egyptian mummy to his pristine vigor, and give him an appetite like an alligator."
He seems to truly believe that the lake holds a mystical ability to cure health and even goes on to give an anecdote about an ill man who was brought back to life by the lake. Here, he is becoming one with nature and his connection to the wild outdoors of the west is becoming stronger and stronger.
Going back to my first claim, Twain has more fully accepted the "roughing it" lifestyle by this section of the text. He is able to find joy in nature and hard work and has embraced this life that is much different than the one he had know for all of his life previous to his journey to the west.
He describes this joy in chapter 24 when he says:
"If there is any life that is happier than the life we led on our timber ranch for the next two or three weeks, it must be a sort of life which I have not read of in books or experienced in person."