Leiningen Versus the Ants

Essay by DaSpikerHigh School, 10th gradeA, March 2006

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The Killer Ants

Overconfident: Excessively confident; presumptuous. Leiningen, a plantation owner, is an overconfident man who believes that nothing, not even elements-"act of God" can intimidate or defeat him. He boastfully states, "I'm not going to run from it just because an elementals on the way....When I began this model farm plantation three years ago, I took into account all that could conceivably happen to it. And now I'm ready for anything and everything-including your ants". Not even the Brazilian official's thought-provoking words would make him think twice of his actions. From his experience, Leiningen confidently felt that these ants were probably no different from the other elementals.

Leiningen truly believes he is a flawless man who can overcome anything the killer ants bring towards him. When the ants reach the general location of his plantation he doesn't feel the least bit threatened by them because of the defensive tactics he has set for them.

Leiningen built a ditch surrounding his plantation that also connected to a river that was supposed to keep the ants away. It wasn't long before the deadly ants used leaves for rafts and sailed across the moat only to overcome Leiningen's major defense. "...thousands were already drowning in the sluggish creeping flow, but they were followed by troop after troop, who clambered over their sinking comrades, and then themselves served as dying brides to the reserves hurrying on in their rear."

After Leiningen lost some of his workers from the invasion of the ants he realized that his dam obviously wasn't fulfilling its meaning and he needed to fix it so he could then brilliantly flood the plantation to drown the ants. Risking his life to repair the dam, he then had to solve the problem of how he would reach the destination which was nearly 2 miles from where he was and the land where he needed to travel was already surrounded by ants. He put on leather boots, heavy gauntlets over his hands, and stuffed all the spaces between him and his clothing with rags covered in petrol and he let the peons dump petrol all over the outsides of his outfit, which would kill any ants that came in contact with it. He had enough time to get to the dam, and fix it but then was attacked by the man eating bugs that began to eat him down to the bone. He accomplished his goal and flooded the plantation, ruining everything that meant anything to him. He was now very sick but was soon accompanied by the peons to nurse him back to health.

In this action taken, the reader might be getting anxious and tense, thinking this might be near his death or victory. The author's climax is when Leiningen stumbles and collapse. His determination and motivation is to get to the barrier. He is back to his feet but tottered, staggered, and then collapsed again. Even though flames ignited and flooded destroyed the whole plantation it was all worth it. "They're gone," said the nurse, "To hell." His response, "I told you I'd come back, even if I am a bit streamlined." Then he dozed off.

Through this story we saw that conquering and obstacles required one's brainpower's capabilities as well as how perseverance and determination played a role in victory. A flaw of Leiningen was being overconfidence and boastfulness because this nearly cost him his life. There is no telling what is going to happen after Leiningen gets better, but we can assume that he will never underestimate ants or be so sure about himself again. This story was written over fifty years ago but it portrays us with all of our arrogance and our complete confidence in ourselves in a very accurate manner. Let's just hope that if we come into a circumstance as dire as this we too can find a way out.