Mark Twain: The Pessimist

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Mark Twain: The Pessimist
“One is obliged to concede that in true loftiness of character, Man cannot claim to approach even the meanest of the Higher Animals.” Mark Twain makes it clear to his audience that he has pessimistic views towards the human race. After seeing several works influenced or directly written by this talented author, one can gather that Twain’s negative take on humanity is warranted. “The Damned Human Race” teaches the reader that man is war-like and greedy, the film and novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn prove that society’s idea of what is right is not always moral, and current events and real life experiences solidify the ideas that man is evil. Mark Twain allows the reader to hear his views through the voices of others, such as Jim in the novel and a scientist in the essay. These mediums, that reveal Twain’s attitude towards humanity, prove that his negative take on the human race is justified.
According to Twain, humans are the lowest of creatures due to their war-like natures. At first, this statement may seem shocking, but the points proven in Twain’s, “The Damned Human Race,” show that this hypothesis may not be far from the truth. Throughout the essay, Twain takes over a persona that compares the behaviors of various species of animals and of man in similar situations. The results show that man is selfish, cruel, and greedy. For example, Twain remarks, “Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren around him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind.” This quotation sums up the idea of the essay because it explains how mankind is ruthless. As opposed to animals, man will purposely inflict pain f...

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“And so I find that we have descended and degenerated, from some far ancestor…insect by insect, animal by animal, reptile by reptile, down the long highway of smirchless innocence, till we have reached the bottom stage of development (namable as the Human Being.) Below us, nothing.” Mark Twain has proved through his various works that mankind is essentially bad. From “The Damned Human Race,” one can learn that man is inclined to fight and savage, from the film and novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one can learn about moral compromise and ulterior motives, and from personal experiences, one can learn about all of these bad characteristics combined. The moral sense of a man is a disease that cannot be cured and enables man to choose wrong even when he knows right, which is generally the case.
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