This article explores the overland journey section of Roughing It as a key component of his overall engagement with the natural environment and his employment of mobility in landscape descriptions. Twain’s interactions with nature as he presents them to readers are rarely static evocations of beauty or of the sublime. To the contrary, he is often keenly attentive to the complex interactions between the natural environment and human movements. Twain evokes the vitality of nature by emphasizing movement as its definitive characteristic. Although he comically asserts in the prefatory that Roughing It derives from “variegated vagabondizing,” the narrative suggests a more nuanced immersion into the American West built on the persistent desire to move.

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