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The War Prayer - Mark Twain

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The War Prayer, by Mark Twain, is a piece on war. It shows the glory of going into battle, and the importance of patriotism. The piece describes how a country has to pull together to become an army of one, and how no matter what your thoughts are on the war, you still must stand by your fellow men. The piece then goes into the actual war prayer and describes many things explaining why prayers can be bad, and why they can be good. The piece then comments how the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

In the opening paragraph, Twain is describing our country in the mist of battle. He describes how everybody is ready to go and the whole country is cheering the men on. He describes the drums beating, the firecrackers going off, the mothers, fathers and sisters cheering. He makes it feel good to go into war. Twain then continues to say how it was a glad and gracious time, and that the half a dozen or so people that disapproved in the war, basically got a strong warning to leave. It was a very patriotic part of the piece.

The rest of the piece goes into the actual war prayer. Twain describes how no one could even remember some of the things said because of the length. The prayer describes many things but not in a positive way. The strange man goes into how what you pray for is not always what it seems. He explains how if you prey for blessings on yourself, it may work out for you but not on your neighbor. This man uses examples such as if praying for rain to water your crops, you might be destroying somebody else's crops that don't need any rain. I believe this is true in a sense, but the example could have been better. I think if you need rain for your crops because of a drought, then your neighbor probably would too. Still other examples could have worked a lot better.

The second half of the prayer restates what the first half tried to but with more explanation. Twain describes the man as telling the people, "When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory-must follow it, cannot help but follow it." The man then continues to explain this with many examples making good points with each one.

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