Famous Sayings of Mark Twain: Quotes on Life
Repeat these Mark Twain quotes on life and your friends will think you’re an expert on the famous sayings of Mark Twain.
Mark Twain Quotes on Life
Use these famous sayings of Mark Twain to assist you on your quest to become a philosopher.
Quote: There are no accidents, all things have a deep and calculated purpose; sometimes the methods employed by Providence seem strange and incongruous, but we have only to be patient and wait for the result: then we recognize that no others would have answered the purpose, and we are rebuked and humbled. (The Refuge of the Derelicts).
Analysis: Although Twain often made fun of religion and metaphysical philosophies, he certainly understood the role of Providence as a teaching tool of the Almighty.
Quote: To spell correctly is a talent, not an acquirement. There is some dignity about an acquirement, because it is a product of your own labor. It is wages earned, whereas to be able to do a thing merely by the grace of God and not by your own effort transfers the distinction to our heavenly home–where possibly it is a matter of pride and satisfaction but it leaves you naked and bankrupt. (Twain’s Autobiography).
Analysis: You mean all those spelling words my third grade teacher made me copy, with vowels highlighted, was a waste of time? I guess I already knew that.
More Mark Twain Quotes on Life
Use these famous sayings of Mark Twain to assist you on your quest to become a counselor.
Quote: The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court).
Comment: This seems like a good time to review the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and truly analyze whether or not the “commonwealth’s” politics uphold these ideals. If not, doing nothing would be traitorous.
Quote: When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved. (The Prince and the Pauper).
Comment: Those who never read have no advantage over those who can’t. Twain not only understands the importance of books, he wrote some.
Quote: The calamity that comes is never the one we had prepared ourselves for.
Comment: Twain exposes the illusion of security. He experienced many calamities toward the end of his life, a leading cause of his writing turning from fun to bitter.
Quote: Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).
Comment: My financial advisor once told me to be afraid when everyone else is feeling greedy and greedy when everyone else is afraid. I’d like to say I got rich off that advice, but I didn’t follow it.
Quote: Whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.
Comment: Twain turned bitter toward the end of his life on account of his many tragedies. This did not, however, alter his ability to extract humor and irony from almost any situation.
ELA Common Core Standards
Teaching Twain’s quotes with the following lesson ideas can accomplish the following ELA Common Core Standards.
- RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Mark Twain Lesson Ideas
Get students excited about reading Mark Twain by using some of his famous quotes.
- Instruct students to create a bumper sticker with their favorite Mark Twain quote. Use these or other famous quotes by Mark Twain. Making the bumper sticker simply requires using printer quality labels and a word processor. Let students decorate them, put them on binders, or decorate the room (be careful, however, they can be hard to remove).
- If one quote isn’t enough, try several quotes on a t-shirt. White t-shirts work best, but colors work in some instances. Use Sharpees, Paint, Iron-ons, or blood (OK, maybe not blood) and write down some of Twain’s famous quotes. Have the class wear the shirts as you read “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” or another Mark Twain story.
Looking for an edge when teaching Mark Twain. Try these.
- Huckleberry Finn Study Guide
- Famous Quotations of Mark Twain
- Mark Twain Quotes on Life
- Novels by Mark Twain