Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Robert Lee Lynch, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Martha E. Cook, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James R. Cope, Ed.D.


Fire imagery appears throughout Twain’s literature, becoming stronger as he matures. Twain’s novel reveals the trauma and guilt felt. Life on the Mississippi shows how the author turned a traumatic memory into various literary devices. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court uses a traumatic memory to develop complex imagery and symbolism. Both books demonstrate the complex writing skills of Mark Twain as he develops dire into a dual creation that represents both positive and negative events, sometimes simultaneously. Fire becomes and interesting element that provides laughter even as causes tears, that cleanses and creates even as it destroys, and that symbolizes both positive and negative humans, actions, and institutions. Like real fire, Twain’s fire imagery undergoes constant metamorphosis.



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