Exploration in Hannibal, Missouri. A small town in

Exploration of Humanities UXT – Task 1Kyle BehrensWestern Governors University?Exploration of Humanities UXT – Task 1Work: The Five Boons of Life, Mark Twain (1902)Period: RealismInitial ThoughtsThe Five Boons of Life is one of the short stories included in Mark Twain’s The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories. While one The Five Boons of Life is one of the author’s shorter fables, it is also one of the most interesting. This short story lacks the humor that is common in his other works.  As the fairy introduces the five gifts, I immediately caught myself trying to decide on which gift I would chose. As well as noting the ominous gift of death. The author is highlighting the value of wise decisions and the overall meaning of life. The man hopelessly tries to make the difficult decision of which gift is valuable, trying to apply his knowledge from his previous erroneous choice. Aspect of InterestThe most interesting portion of the story was when the man realizes that all of the gifts were temporary, except for death. “They are not gifts, but merely lendings. Pleasure, Love, Fame, Riches: they are but temporary disguises for lasting realities—Pain, Grief, Shame, Poverty” (Twain, 1902). The man never expected death to be the precious gift. Historical Context The Five Boons of Life was initially published in 1902, during an era of industrialization and economic growth. Mark Twain is credited with developing the name, the “Gilded Age,” for this period with his novel The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. During this era, the United States experiences one of its largest periods of economic development. Wealth disparity was prevalent during the “Gilded Age”. The author may have used his perspective of wealth disparity and income inequality to derive the ideas presented in this short story. The man in the story appears avaricious. He wants the immediate gratification of the gift. When he is not satisfied with the outcome gift, he moves onto the next one. The Progressive era follow the “Gilded Age” which brought wide-spread political reform. The popularity of nation-wide magazine grew significantly and provided a new platform for political messages.Insights into the WorkMark Twain is the pen name for Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was one of the more unique authors of the 19th and 20th century. Twain spent the majority of his childhood in Hannibal, Missouri. A small town in northeastern corner of the state alongside the Mississippi river. Hannibal influenced the setting for his novel Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.During the time The Five Boons of Life was being written, Livy, Twain’s wife became ill and later died in 1904. Twain lost his father when he was only 11. He also lost two of his children to illness (Biography, 2017).  Unfortunately, he was familiar with dealing with the death of loved ones. This could have served as an inspiration for some of the motifs presented in this short story.Themes and stylistic characteristicsMark Twain was one of the initial authors to introduce Realism into literary works. (Realism, 2017) One of the underlying themes throughout The Five Boons of Life is “Age of Doubt”. The man is continuously optimistic with the idea of a successful life with his new gift. However, he is also anxious. Cautiously selecting the next gift from the fairy, knowing that the last gift did not give him the satisfaction that he wanted.Relevance to today’s audiencesThe Five Boons of Life is a timeless fable. Mark Twain’s intent with The Five Boons of Life will continue to remain relevant to future readers. It provides a unique perspective on the value of gifts most people would cherish even in today’s world. Honestly, this fable may be more relevant today than it was when written. Today’s society wishes for instant results. They want something to be completed without any effort applied. The fairy was able to offer the gifts without the man having to earn them. The fairy also promptly offered a replacement when the gift no longer provided the satisfaction the man was looking for.Deeper knowledge gained through analysisEach time the fairy would return the man thought he had determined the precious gift. The man was consistently let down with the results of the gift. The man never thought came to the conclusion that death may be the most valuable gift. The fairy even reveals that she could have chosen the correct gift for the man, “but trusted me, asking me to choose for it. You did not ask me to choose.” (Twain, 1902). This fable reveals two lessons. The answer to a problem may not always be the one you were expecting and ask for help if you are uncertain.ReferencesBiography. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://marktwainhouse.org/about/mark-twain/biography/Realism. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.online-literature.com/periods/realism.phpTwain, (1902). The Five Boons of Life. New York City, New York: Harper’s Weekly