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Damned Human Race

Essay by 24  •  November 19, 2010  •  710 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,163 Views

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Within his essay of The Damned Human Race, author Mark Twain powerfully declares that the human race is both flawed and corrupt, and that people actually should be classified as "lower animals" rather than the formerly known "higher animals." Twain does not hold claim to a Darwinian or creation standpoint, but rather draws conclusions from his own observations in performed experiments. He states that "man is the cruel animal," and that we can attribute this to his moral character. However, there appears to be another side which contradicts his findings. Perhaps man is indeed the "highest animal," but possesses something which other animals do not.

Twain claims that his observations are based on experiments executed in the London Zoological Gardens. With these examinings, he went on to state that humans displayed a variety of shortcoming not seen in other animals. His first point was that humans were cruel, while other animals were not. This was backed by the story of the hunter killing seventy-two buffalo, and eating only part of one. He contradicted this by experimenting with anacondas and calves. The anaconda only killed what it needed, as opposed to the Earl. This seemed to suggest to Twain that the man descended from the anaconda, and not the other way around. Perhaps the Earl did not respect the buffalo, which is true. But does it mean that all humans always kill to be cruel and wasteful? Or could some animals exhibit signs of Twain's "cruelty?" Many individuals in the world today are very caring for each other, as well as other animals. They show the utmost kindness for one another and the planet they live on. On the other hand, there are many species of animals that kill just because they can. Part of the reasoning behind this is that numerous animals have tendencies of aggressiveness. There is no reasoning behind it, but is clearly found in their innate and learned behaviors.

And what of war? The author continually makes reference to man's innate cruelty throughout the essay, and adds that war is just another example of this behavior. It is with war that man brutally slaughters one another for some minute matter of insignificance. Twain makes known that the animals in his experiment never fought with organization against another. This is ludicrous. First of all, there are many real-world examples of animals attacking other animals for a wide variety of motives. It could be that an

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