linegen vs. the ants

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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"Leiningen Versus the Ants" is a true action and adventure story captivating many readers in who will win in the survival of the fittest. Taken place about one hundred years ago in Africa a "Marabunta" is about to happen and what the outcome will be in uncertain. I think the ants are a great villain because they are such a small part of our environment but are now causing such a catastrophic disaster. Leningen changes over the course of the fighting of the ants. He realizes that he sacrificed everything only to come out of it in the end with nothing. I learned life lessons during this story of you have to realize what is more important to you in life, your wealth and fortune or safety of loved ones and a hopeful future. In my opinion the ending is a toss up between reality and fiction.

I would like the believe that man won conquer over ants but also because of the large amount and the given history before that they would have won this time as they have before.

The exposition is a huge aid to the viewer in the movie of "Leiningen Versus the Ants." The opening scene of the Indians about to kill a man allows us to know where there moral standing are. It shows us that they are not civilized and are severe with punishment when a rule is broken. Also it shows us that they are a close nit community and very religious. The exposition of the story lets us know that they are in the middle of the jungle far away from civilization because Leiningen warns his wife of this because he said that civilization ends when you walk outside of your home. Leiningen also warns his wife of the dangers in the jungle of headhunter and that man in an animal in the jungle not the dominant species. The city operates by the new irrigation system that was built and trade is done by water in the boats. You observe that the men are hard workers and are dedicated their job at hand. This opening is extremely helpful in allowing the viewer to understand the era of the story and relate to what is going to happen.

Leiningen is a good example of a naturalistic hero. He is well known for treating his workers with respect because when the Commissioner had to look for another mans slaves the identified the other mans men by the whip marks on their backs. Leiningen is also asked for his workers papers but he said that his men don't have papers because they stay. Leiningen is very well spoken and intelligent, he shows this when the man from another village confronts him and Leiningen shows him up with fast and quick wit. He also if very conniving when the other man tries to take back the men he says that the men have committed a crime resulting in a hanging. The Commissioner steps in when the men are hanging in the air saying that it is not fair they need a trial. Leiningen knew this was going to happen the man went on his way leaving Leiningen with his men. He is also a very calm man and is confident when he handles his workers. His workers have faith in him and trust him that is why they stay because they know Leiningen takes good care of them. Leiningen is a hero to these men because he took a nothing of a community and turned it into a fully functioning well-organized city. Leiningen is a good hero figure but you can tell that something is going to go out of his control and he is going to face it head on not backing down.

Omens show us what is about to happen with out coming out and telling us. The Commissioner comes right out and says that Leiningen is turning to stone leading us to believe that Leiningen is starting to think only of himself. The Commissioner is the main source of the omens giving us a lot of information about the "Marabunta". Rumor is going threw the city that something big is about to occur strange indefinite reports are being heard. When Leiningen hears this he shuts the door to keep the Commissioners voice in the room so it can't be over heard. At this point you can tell that he becoming worried and curious of what is going on. He finds out that it was 27 years since the last occurrence and it is very severe. The animals in the jungle are leaving because of this "Marabunta" and know of the danger that will come if they stay. The new is upsetting to him but Leiningen is trying not to let it show that he is concerned even though he is pacing back and forth in the room. These Omens allow us to see how Leiningen is going to react to what is about to happen even though exactly what is still the big mystery.

There are two dynamic characters in the story, which are the Commissioner and Leiningen's wife. These two characters play a significant role in the story and also how Leiningen responds to those close to him trying to give him help in his mission against the "Marabunta". First the Commissioner plays a huge role in the story by providing a lot of knowledge and information about the "Marabunta" The Commissioner is a very smart man who knows a lot and does extensive reading and research on his subjects that he tells Leiningen about. He informs Leiningen that the "Marabunta" are 400 sq. miles of death and the ants actually think. He tells him how the ants have leaders and scouts and plans to conquer. The Commissioner tries to talk Leiningen out of staying and tells him he is fool and to leave while he can but is sent away in Leningen ignorance of refusing to listen. The next important dynamic character is Leiningen's wife who at first wasn't welcome to the village but earned acceptance from her husband when she stuck by his side. When Leiningen's told his wife to leave to protect her safety when he heard of the ants coming. But instead she stayed and defied him telling him that if she left then the villagers would defiantly know some thing was about to happen. This made him see how she was valuable to him and to keep the villagers somewhat calm. She is now there for him as support during these times instead of in the way as he saw her before when he was making comments to her about her travels over there and how she should have thought about it better. His wife also is confident and adventurous by going on the mission of finding the ants approaching and that shows him that she courageous a characteristic that he likes. These two characters offer a lot to Leiningen by giving him knowledge and support. Even though he does not use it to his best advantage they were there when he needed them. This only now shows us how even more stubborn he is to take good advice.

This story is perfect for a Naturalist scene the location is superb. Survival of the fittest fits exactly with this setting. From the first scene to the last you can tell that the whole time that the town is completely in the jungle with no sense of the outside world. The forest surrounds them and transportation is by way of the moat. The land varies from rolling hills to flat prairie, but still not containing any other signs of human life. They have to use high trees and mountains for look out they do not have any kind of technology to help them. In the middle of the jungle they have no real "safe" place to hide from the ants, they are in the open and have to create safety. Leiningen soon realizes that the ants are about six miles away leaving them a day to get there so he must blow up bridges to slow the ants in their path. He also has to release more water so wash the ants away when they do come near. But Leiningen is learning that his man made devices are nothing compared to the determination of the ants and that nature is on there side.

In the story and movie the ants are given many human qualities that suit them perfectly. In the very beginning the Commissioner was warning Leiningen of the ants, Leningen thought nothing of these ants but the Commissioner said these are different because they can think. Normally we don't believe insects can think and plan stragedy, but the ants in the story do this very well and put fear in Leiningen. The ants show that they have leaders, and Leiningen captured a scout ant and examined it to figure out how something so small could bring such great danger. As the story goes on we see that the "Marabunta" is persistent and operates like an army. The ants adapt when they are forced to travel over water by going on leaves to cross the moat showing that they don't give up and aren't intimidated with danger. The "Marabunta" find weaknesses in Leiningens plan to win; they troop in like an army and plan to conquer. The only characteristic that the ants do have that is not human is the poison bite that they have but they still know to attack their victim in numbers and to go strait for there eyes. Who ever thought that such a small creature that we look over could do so much damage to a town.

In the end when it appears that Leiningen has won just because the ants are gone he really had a hollow victory. I say this because he lost several hard workers to ants and put many more lives in danger as well. He is forced to burn his land and furniture just to keep the town somewhat safe. Leiningen realizes that it took him fifteen years to build paradise and only three days to turn it into hell. His city is falling apart before his eyes when he sees that the ants are still coming, leading him to make the decision to blow up the last bridge to flood the whole plantation. He flooded the whole town loosing everything from houses to land, all buildings, and his hard work. Leiningen is sad that he will never have a family now in a nice home because he had to destroy the city and he gave back to the land everything that he had taken. During the last part of the story Leiningen had to finally face reality due to loss. I am glad that he had to go through this because it made him a better person and relies all the things that he had taken for granted even his wife's love. Leiningen may have won just because all of the ants are gone but he if left with nothing. I think the only victory that he won was that he now is grateful for everything and maybe next time he won't be so stubborn and take advice when it is given.

This story was a prime example of a short story. It had excellent background information that we the viewer had to disclose ourselves and a great villain. The hero went threw many stages even though some were gradual in the end we saw what really made him a hero. He stood strong when it got tough and now has a better outlook on life that before. The story is rich in detail and gives us a mental picture of what is going on. It has an extraordinary story line and I was unsure of what the outcome was to be until the last page. The story allowed me to make my own outcome before I knew what was to happen. I really enjoyed that part because it defiantly makes the story more interesting. I wish it did have a bad ending though just to make the story a tragedy. Also so show Leiningen that he is not as big as he thinks he is when the intruder is so small in size. But overall I enjoyed this story and everything about it was written splendid.