The Damned Human Race – A Critical Analysis

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‘The Damned Human Race’ by Mark Twain is a satire on the mankind that reflects how it has ended up into a state worse than that of the animals. The writer aims to highlight the darker side of the coin of morality which according to him, like any other virtue, carries its own vices. He makes use of argumentative, cynical and indignant tones throughout his essay and shows an admirable coherence in it. The language is kept moderately easy with fairly lengthy sentences and very few jargons. His audience is the entire human race which is expected to reconsider its actions and reflect over them. The essay has successfully attracted its readers towards the purpose and is very thought provoking.

The writer tells that how his studies of behaviors of animals and humans have made him conclude that humans have descended from the higher animals. The use of irony during the comparison, in the introductory paragraph, draws the readers quite effectively. The writer then clearly describes how his conclusions are not based on mere assumptions or guesses, but indeed are the results of the scientific method. He then specifies the human race to one distinct group of specie and moves on with his experiments.

The writer then argues how an earl killed seventy two buffaloes just for his pleasure, in contrast to which anacondas did not attack calves in excess to their requirements. He then uses deductive reasoning to determine that not anaconda but man himself has descended from these animals which is an irony in its nature and is straightly in contradiction to Darwinian Theory. The reader may find himself opposing to the writer’s stance initially, but the writer tries his best to leave no gaps for his reader to not be convinced in later paragraphs.

He connects the conduct of this earl to the common behavior of human race whose ‘lust for more’ has no end to it. The writer’s efficient use of descriptive tools has added beauty to the essay and has made it more captivating. He states that his experiments on squirrels and bees have given quite astonishing results and have proven that animals do not accumulate extra food even when persuaded to do so. It is only man that is found stockpiling millions of money not even needed.

Further he maintains that it is only man that keeps hatred alive in his heart and keeps coldness within. It is only he who can impose himself on other fellow members and enchain them for his own benefits. Vulgarity and insult are man’s own inventions too. The writer gives examples from history all over the world to prove the wrong use of power by man himself. The way in which he cites all the incidents is very persuasive and the rhetoric is well maintained.

Sadly, man is also the only animal that attacks in groups and wages war on its fellow human beings. The writer gives examples of Hessians and Napoleon to support this argument and shows how man is involved in robbery and other crimes which animals cannot commit. Man is also the only religious animal. The writer again uses satire and symbolism to explain the status of man in the world. He attributes him of killing his brothers in the name of religion with an unbelievable ease and refers to the cases of Caesars, French revolution and Mary’s day in England.

The writer shows cynicism while calling man foolish for not being able to learn tolerance which animals would do when tamed. He compares the two groups as control groups of a scientific experiment and logically proves how his results show that men cannot learn acceptance like animals. The symbolic use of people of different regions in the exemplar evokes an emotional response in the reader and creates a contemporary relevance for them.

Twain then concludes that the actual reason behind this behavior of humans is its morality. Had man never distinguished evil from good, he would have never inclined towards it. The writer makes use of logos appeal in the essay and his own understanding of the idea is unquestionable despite the fact that the topic still remains debatable. He is seen maintaining a liberal and unbiased point of view throughout the essay with a tone that also turns bitterly true at various points. My personal views are in accordance with that of the writer’s and It would not be wrong to say that the writer has not only fairly judged the human behaviors but has also done justice to them in his explanation.

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Source by Easha Shahid

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