Higher animals; Mark Twain The damned human race

Essay by Bobison268High School, 10th gradeB-, December 2014

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Madison Hatchett



September 5 2014

Higher Animals

Although there are many opinions on what Mark Twain's The Damned Human Race is signifying, I believe he is representing irony. Throughout Twain's whole piece he shows irony , how humankind is at the bottom, and proves it, but not in the traditional fact proven way.

A great example of irony is how man are the only religious animal and need religion to tell them right from wrong. However, religion has been the cause of some wars. On page 2 of Twain's irony struck rant, he mentions "... loves his neighbor as himself…" (Twain,2). This is irony because religion is the thing that keeps man loving and caring. But in reality it has caused plenty of controversy, resolving in hate.

A second example of irony is when Twain does an "experiment", and "proves" animals really are on the top of the pyramid.

"...fox, a goose, a squirrel and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace; even affectionately. Next in another cage I confined an Irish Catholic… Scotch presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople; a Greek Christian from Crete; an Armenian; a Methodist… When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all plaids and bones and flesh not a specimen left alive". (Twain,3) In this paragraph, Twain proves we aren't higher animals. We can't be, because man hates someone who isn't like himself. Twain also mentions man are the higher animals, even after he disproved we aren't, which would be another example of irony. The same quote as mentioned above is also considered irony in Thomas Foster's How To Read Literature Like A Professor. In the chapter "Is He Serious? And Other Ironies" Foster explains how "irony trumps everything."(Foster, 261). This is proving that the irony in the quote makes the "experiment" fake.

In the end almost anyone would agree with Twain that humans are the lowest animals. Even after all that irony, Twain still makes a great point. We as humans don't feel for anything or anyone but ourselves.

Works Cited

Foster, Thomas. How To Read Literature Like A Professor. New York: Harper Perennial. Print.

Twain,Mark. The Damned Human Race.Print.