Historical American Works
In his essay, “The Damned Human Race,” Mark Twain focuses on the practical meaning of human nature by putting this notion in the context of history of humanity. Twain proposes a theory which asserts the position of human being in the gradation of all living species to be not the highest, but, in fact, the lowest. Therefore, the purpose of the essay is to provide a valid argumentation that explains warlike and cruel traits inherent in human nature which are lacking in any other living species.
Twain’s thesis is apparent at the beginning of the essay and is satirized in reference to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals: “this new and truer one [theory] to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals” (Twain n.p.). The structure of the essay is organized in a logic way. The author follows from one feature in human nature (such as cruelty) to another (avarice) and provides practical data that suggests the absence of these features in animals, thus, fortifying his thesis and main argument regarding the position of human beings in the hierarchy of living beings. The style of writing is also very peculiar as the text is filled with a vivid satire from the author. In regard to introduction, the author is able to draw reader’s attention with the use of satirized reference to one of the most notorious and serious scientific works contributed by Charles Darwin. The author also is able to capture reader’s attention from the beginning by bringing his personality into the speech, and as the result making the tone less strict and scientific but more friendly-mannered.
At the end of the essay Twain concludes his argument by suggesting the cause for the negative features in human nature, such as cruelty, avarice, indecency, vulgarity. The negative representation of human beings in the context of all living species is rooted in “the Moral Sense” (Twain n.p.) that is being enforced onto people’s worldview in all times and ages throughout the history.
Twain, Mark. “The Damned Human Race.” Moodyap.pbworks.com. n.d. Web. 08 Feb …