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Twain, Mark. "An Encounter with an Interviewer".


The interview is recorded as if it were a play or an actual newspaper interview: "Q" introduces the interviewer's questions, "A" the narrator's answers.

A young man connected with the "Daily Thunderstorm" comes to interview the first person narrator. The narrator asks the interviewer how to spell the word "interview" to find out what it means. The interviewer observes that the narrator does not look as intelligent as he expected him to be. The narrator replies that this point is often made.

The narrator admits that his memory is singularly irregular. He gives such a date of his birth that he would be aged not thirty-five or -six, but only nineteen. He claims that the most remarkable man he ever met was Aaron Burr. The interviewer observes that he could never have met him, if he were really aged nineteen. The narrator claims he met Aaron Burr at his funeral, where he asked him to make less noise. Again the interviewer wonders about the discrepancy.

As an exact date of his birth the narrator gives such a date which would make him one hundred and eighty years old and wonders that the interviewer notices the discrepancy. The narrator cannot recall whether he has a brother or a sister, and the interviewer points at a picture on the wall. The narrator recalls he had a brother whose life or death is a great mystery. They were twins and when babies, there were mixed in a bathtub and one of them was drowned. Nobody knows which of the twins it was, but one boy had a peculiar mark on his hand so that they could be distinguished. The narrator does not cease to see it as a mystery, while the interviewer does.

The narrator explains why he thinks Aaron Burr remarkable. It is because when the burial ceremony was over, he said he wanted to look once more at the scenery and so he got up and went with the driver.

The young interviewer withdraws. The narrator is sorry for it, he was a pleasant company.


  • Author

    Twain, Mark. (1835 - 1910).
  • Full Title

    "An Encounter with an Interviewer".
  • Form

    Short story.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark. "An Encounter with an Interviewer". In: Alonzo Fitz and Other Stories. NY: First World Library, 2004.


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