Book Report:The Million Pound Note《百万英镑》读书报告
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Book Report: The Million Pound Note

For the first time I write a book report in English, I choose one of the famous novelist Mark Twain’s short novels——The Million Pound Note. The main character in the novel is the self-portrait of Mark Twain. The story revolves around Henry Adams, who is a penniless and adrift American tramp in London.

Wandering around the London streets, Henry was given an envelope filled with a one million pound banknote by two wealthy, eccentric brothers. The two brothers had made a bet, gambling, if a poor, honest people who received the one million pounds, he will be what kind of results? Brother A held the view that he would starve to death, while brother B insisted that the man would survive. They kept disputing till brother B said he would bet twenty thousand pounds that the man would live thirty days, anyway, on that million, and also keep out of jail, and brother

A agreed with him. So, as we have seen, Henry was the experiment of the bet.

Failing to revert the note, Henry decided to help win the bet so as to get the situation brother B offered. And then, the ridiculous life of Henry began. During the following days, he had done nothing but showed the large note to buy all things he needed and asked for change. And in the novel, all people chose to make credit to him actively, which dressed Henry one of the celebrities of the metropolis of the world, with his fame taking precedence of all dukes not royal.

As time goes by, here comes the climax of the story. Henry went to the dinner party of minister, where he met the England girl Portia and his American colleague Lloyd. Within two minutes, Henry and Portia fell into love swiftly, having a

wonderful time at the party as if nobody was around. He was absorbed in the

sweetness deeply until Lloyd’s fervent appreciations of his manifold comforts and luxuries brought him to himself. He eventually realized that he was standing on a half inch crust, with a crater underneath; he was deep in debt, not a cent in the world, with a lovely girl's happiness or woe in his hands, and nothing in front of him but a salary which might never. The appearance of Lloyd let Henry back to life, which was a significant turning point in the bet and Henry’s life.

Henry got start to take advantage of his“millionaire ”identity to made certain money on his own, becoming the real millionaire. Apart from that, Henry helped win the bet for brother B and got his daughter who was surprised to be Portia as wife.

It looks like a happy ending, whereas we should see through the appearance to the essence. In this story, what I can see is only the notion that money is superior to everything. Just a meaningless banknote, changed all the attitudes of the

Englishmen at that time. A poor man can be treated as a royal because of a piece of irredeemable cheque. So big the contrast between before and after did they

behaved that the hellish snobbery, greed and mammonism which existed in their character exposed under the sunlight.

There is no doubt that Mark Twain wanted to denounce the overflowing

mammonism in English society at that time. His descriptions are exaggerated and vivid, perfectly depicting the mordant and mammonish faces of each class then, from civilian to noble. He wanted to exhort people to put money a proper position

and not to be the servant of money.

Is money important? Yes, of course! There is no denying that money can give us most things, including glory, beauty and even power. People actually need money to be alive, but never to survive for money.

Apart from the profound theme it conveyed, the vivid descriptions Mark Twain used are worth learning. Let’s see the following paragraph.

“Then he was restored to his normal condition, and made a thousand apologies for not being able to break the bill, and I couldn't get him to touch it. He wanted to look at it, and keep on looking at it; he couldn't seem to get enough of it to quench the thirst of his eye, but he shrank from touching it as if it had been something too sacred for poor common clay to handle.”

Through the act and mien the landlord behaved, readers can clearly see a slave prostrating himself before the million note humbly, careful but greedy, which

effectively carries the personalities of urban petty bourgeois from the page, leaving reader an impression deeply.

There are still a number of similar bits in the novel. For instance, the plot that Henry struggled to pick up the abandoned pear brings the distress of choice between dignity and hunger to life vividly, creating an immersive experience for readers.

After reading this novel, not only did I realize I should not worship money too much, but also I obtain many writing skills.