Advice to Youth

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"Advice to Youth" is a satirical essay written by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) in 1882. He was asked to write something to the youth of America. He talks about six things, including obeying parents selectively, respecting superiors, early to bed and early to rise, the matter of lying, handling firearms, and reading good books.

This essay is a classic example of Juvenalian satire. This satirical mode can be seen in Clemen's recurrent employment of sarcasm while addressing the youth with his words of wisdom. Specifically targeted towards any kind of authority, Clemens' "Advice to Youth" may be a response to the recent prohibition of alcohol in Kansas in 1881. This action deeply upset many residents. The youth became especially disgruntled with this change, because it was they, who above else, enjoyed indulging in the fine art of alcohol consumption.

A satire?[edit]

Over the years there has been much debate and many broad assertions made on as to what this paramount of Clemens' satirical wit implies. Aforementioned, some critics believe that is simply Clemens' publicly recognizing and placing on a social platform for debate, the youth's reaction towards the prohibition of alcohol. It is quite understandable to the common man that this would cause some serious social upheaval among folks who consume alcohol on a daily basis. That being said, it is still in debate as to whether or not this is really satire.