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Mark Twain Satire The Lowest Animal Essay

A Response to Mark Twain's the Lowest Animal Essay examples

769 WordsMay 1st, 20134 Pages

What makes a being more evolved? Who are we to say that humans are the most evolved or even the least? It is believed by some that we are descended from the "higher animals", whereas others believe that we have ascended from the "lower animals". In Mark Twain's essay, "The Lowest Animal" (1896), he portrays the idea that the human race has no hope, as we have too many flaws. It is undeniable that we have our flaws, but what creature on this planet does not? The human race may not be perfect, or reaching perfection anytime soon, but it does progress and develop as time goes on. As humans, we are neither substantially higher nor lower than animals. Although foolish actions are performed towards each other and our planet, we have also…show more content…

These ants conduct violent raids on nests of other species killing the adults. This is one of several examples that proves that man is surely not the only slave, neither the only animal that enslaves. Mark Twain(1896) claims about man that "he is always some man's slave for wages, and does that man's work.."(pg.237), however without this basis of hierarchy our communities and economy would not function. What Twain sees as the allowing of enslavement is how each part of the economy works together to keep it running and how each individual is able to afford to survive. Over time it is seen by many worldwide that forceful, unfair enslavement is considered unacceptable. This cruel act is not allowed with strong rules set against it in many areas. Although it still exists in certain countries, as previously stated Mark Twain's "higher animals" fail to be above this as well. Our bodies are not perfect and they do have their flaws that result into many different diseases, as Twain(1896) wrote, "...man starts in as a child and lives on diseases till the end, as a regular diet."(pg.240) However, it is man who also works and creates cures for these diseases. Although there is seemed to be more types of diseases common to man than animals, diseases and sicknesses are not uncommon to them. It is also humans that study animals and work as veterinarians to cure

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Absolutely!  Satire was one of Twain's most successful weapons.  Satire is poking fun of something, but the result is not always a "ha-ha!" effect.  More often than not, the result is a "oh! he's right...now what do we do about it?" effect.  Twain wanted people to notice the dark side of human nature and while laughing at our weaknesses, continually attempting to improve the world.

In this essay, Twain compares humans to all other animals. ...

Absolutely!  Satire was one of Twain's most successful weapons.  Satire is poking fun of something, but the result is not always a "ha-ha!" effect.  More often than not, the result is a "oh! he's right...now what do we do about it?" effect.  Twain wanted people to notice the dark side of human nature and while laughing at our weaknesses, continually attempting to improve the world.

In this essay, Twain compares humans to all other animals.  He focuses on our faults and traits that other animals don't have.  For instance, greed, vanity, cruelty for the sake of being cruel, jealousy, etc.

One of the most famous quotes from this piece is:

Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity—these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing; they are not ashamed. Man, with his soiled mind, covers himself. He will not even enter a drawing room with his breast and back naked, so alive are he and his mates to indecent suggestion. Man is “The Animal That Laughs.” But so does the monkey, as Mr. Darwin pointed out; and so does the Australian bird that is called the laughing jackass. No—Man is the Animal that Blushes. He is the only one that does it—or has occasion to.

At first glance, it seems harsh, but upon further examination, we realize Twain is right.  We are all these things.  How can we fix it?

Irony and satire are rampant in this piece.  Go back and find your examples.

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