Significant Quotes

"I did not take the temporary editorship of an agriculture paper without misgivings. Neither would a landsman take, command of a ship without misgivings. But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object."

In this quote, the substitute editor (narrator) takes a job that he knew he wasn't ready for, but he did it because of the money. This relates to real life because some people are given jobs, or take jobs, that they know they are not qualified for. This opens up the main conflict in the short story as well.

"True, there never was such a call for the paper before, and it never sold such a large edition or soared to such celebrity; but does one want to be famous for lunacy, and prosper upon the infirmities of his mind?"

In this quote, the original editor of the paper talks about how the newspaper should be based on facts. The paper shouldn't be popular for the absurd things it says but rather the factual and truthful things it says.

"Nothing disturbs clams. Clams always lie quiet. Clams care nothing whatever about music."

In this quote, the original editor criticizes the narrator's editorial on clams. This shows the agricultural expertise and compares it to the agricultural expertise of the narrator. Also, Mark Twain satarizes the readers of the newspapers. The readers of newspapers are like clams. They "care nothing whatever about music," or they don't care about false or flashy information. They just want facts, so they will not be disturbed.

"Nothing on earth could persuade me to take another holiday."

In this quote, Twain satarizes absences in the workplace. When people in the workplace are absent, they often leave incompetent people in charge. In the story, the original editor (who knows a lot about agriculture), leaves for vacation with the narrator (who knows nothing about agriculture) being left in charge of editorial duties. The narrator ends up doing a job not up to the original editor's standards. This is common when absences occur.

"I tell you I have been in the editorial business going on fourteen years, and it is the first time I ever heard of a man's having to know anything in order to edit a newspaper."

In this quote, the narrator vents his main argument. His main argument is that a person does not need to know anything about a certain subject to criticize it.

"[...] I tell you that the less a man knows the bigger noise he makes and the higher salary he commands."

In this quote, Twain satarizes the idea that people who comment on things they know nothing about, get more attention than people who actually know about the subject at hand. Although, the people who get the attention, receive the salary.

"And I'd have given you the best class of readers that ever an agricultural paper had--not a farmer in it, nor a solitary individual who could tell a watermelon tree from a peach-vine to save his life."

In this quote, Twain leaves the readers of his story with a last bit of comic relief. The narrator shows his ignorance about agriculture when he mixes up the fact that a watermelon grows on vines and a peach grows on trees.