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Advice to Youth

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9 minutes

Summary

Mark Twain wrote this essay when asked to share something with America’s youth. Though he begins in a serious tone, his advice quickly takes a turn for the satirical: “Always obey your parents, when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run, because if you don’t, they will make you.” In a similar tone, he goes on to address the matters of respecting one’s elders, rising early, lying, handling firearms, and reading books. This funny essay is a great example of Twain’s infamous satirical wit and an easy entry point for anyone interested in the writer’s nonfiction.  

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