What does Mark Twain satirize in this excerpt from “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note”?

Mark Twain’s “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note” is a humorous and ironic work that comments on the preoccupation with wealth and status in his era. The protagonist, Henry Adams, is a poor but honest man who is given a £1,000,000 bank-note as collateral for a loan. Despite his lack of money, Adams is able to move up in society and become the talk of the town due to the value of the bank-note, which Twain uses to criticize the shallowness of the upper classes. Twain also uses the story to comment on the American Dream, suggesting that true success cannot be achieved through wealth alone. Additionally, the story highlights the power dynamics of society, showing that money is the ultimate determinant of power and those without wealth are at a disadvantage. The themes of “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note” remain relevant today, as economic inequality continues to be a major issue in many countries.


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