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The Lowest Animal
Transcript of The Lowest Animal
-Love neighbor as self/ cut throat
-Killing buffalo and wasting
-Rooster Harlem and men with females Many techniques used overlap and fall into more than one category. Logical Emotional Created in the realism era, Twain wrote "The Lowest Animal" in 1896; however, it was not published until 1962. Poster Irony- the discrepancy between expectation and reality "Only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight" (650) Humans descent from animals (646) "In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a fox, a goose, a squirrel, and some doves. Finally a monkey. They lived together in peace, even affectionately" (650) "For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals, since it now seems plain to me that that theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals" (646) Hyperbole-exaggeration used for humorous effect "They killed seventy-two of those great animals and ate part of one of them and left the seventy-one to rot" (647) "He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight" (650) Fantasy- creation of an absurd world that does not follow the rules of reason or common sense "Among my experiments was this. In an hour I taught a cat and a dog to be friends. I put them in a cage. In another hour I taught them to be friends with a rabbit. In the course of two days I was able to add a 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 from Tipperary, and as soon as he seemed tame, I added a Scottish Presbyterian from Aberdeen. Next a Turk from Constantinople, a Greek Christian from Crete, an Armenian, a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, a Brahman from Benares. Finally, a Salvation Army colonel from Wapping. Then I stayed away two whole days. When I came back to note results, the cage of Higher Animals was all right, but in the other there was but a chaos of gory odds and ends of turbans and fezzes and plaids and bones and flesh—not a specimen left alive. These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a higher court" (650) "He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven" (650) "He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven" (650) "I had come across a case where, many years ago, some hunters on our Great Plains organized a buffalo hunt for the entertainment of an English earl—that, and to provide some fresh meat for his larder. They had charming sport. They killed seventy-two of those great animals and ate part of one of them and left the seventy-one to rot. In order to determine the difference between an anaconda6 and an earl—if any—I caused seven young calves to be turned into the anaconda’s cage. The grateful reptile immediately crushed one of them and swallowed it, then lay back satisfied. It showed no further interest in the calves and no disposition to harm them. I tried this experiment with other anacondas, always with the same result. The fact stood proven that the difference between an earl and an anaconda is that the earl is cruel and the anaconda isn’t; and that the earl wantonly destroys what he has no use for, but the anaconda doesn’t. This seemed to suggest that the anaconda was not descended from the earl. It also seemed to suggest that the earl was descended from the anaconda, and had lost a good deal in the transition" (647) Ethical Appeal- "Roosters keep harems, but it is by consent of their concubines; therefore no wrong is done. Men keep harems, but it is by brute force, privileged by atrocious laws which the other sex was allowed no hand in making. In this matter man occupies a far lower place than the rooster" (648) Emotional Appeal- "These Reasoning Animals had disagreed on a theological detail and carried the matter to a higher court" (650) Logical Appeal- approach that appeals to the consumer's practical or functional approach aimed to stimulate one's emotions or beliefs appeals to one persons moral values "The higher animals engage in individual fights, but never in organized masses. Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, war. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and with calm pulse to exterminate his kind" (649) Twain ridicules humans by discussing scientific experiments that he supposedly performed. Twain takes Darwin’s idea that humans ascended from ancestors that were“lower animals”—and tries to disprove it. "The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the hereafter. I wonder why. It seems questionable taste" (650) "Indecency, vulgarity, obscenity—these are strictly confined to man; he invented them. Among the higher animals there is no trace of them. They hide nothing; they are not ashamed. Man, with his soiled mind, covers himself. He will not even enter a drawing room with his breast and back naked, so alive are he and his mates to indecent suggestion. Man is the Animal that Laughs" (648) "Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. He has always been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some man’s slave for wages and does that man’s work; and this slave has other slaves under him for minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who exclusively do their own work and provide their own living" (649) "I was aware that many men who have accumulated more millions of money than they can ever use have shown a rabid hunger for more, and have not scrupled to cheat the ignorant and the helpless out of their poor servings in order to partially appease that appetite. I furnished a hundred different kinds of wild and tame animals the opportunity to accumulate vast stores of food, but none of them would do it. The squirrels and bees and certain birds made accumulations, but stopped when they had gathered a winter’s supply and could not be persuaded to add to it either honestly or by chicane. In order to bolster up a tottering reputation, the ant pretended to store up supplies, but I was not deceived. I know the ant. These experiments convinced me that there is this difference between man and the higher animals: He is avaricious and miserly, they are not" (648) "Man is the only animal that robs his helpless fellow of his country—takes possession of it and drives him out of it or destroys him. Man has done this in all the ages. There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner, or that has not been taken away from owner after owner, cycle after cycle, by force and bloodshed" (649) "In the course of my experiments, I convinced myself that among the animals man is the only one that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge. The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals" (648) "Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it. It is a trait that is not known to the higher animals. The cat plays with the frightened mouse; but she has this excuse, that she does not know that the mouse is suffering... Man is the Cruel Animal. He is alone in that distinction" (648) Previously Mentioned examples Purpose of Satire -To promote change in humans
-To draw attention to our mistakes
-To draw attention to animals behavior
-To criticize Darwin's theory In Mark Twain’s, “The Lowest Animal”, a comparison between animals and humans is used to point out faults in human nature in order to disprove Darwin’s theory of the descent of man from lower animals and suggest that man descended from higher, or more ethical animals. While reading this selection one will realize that Twin uses satire to show how animals are above humans. Throughout the reading the author suggests many times that humans are the “lowest animal” which in a roundabout way shows that animals are better than humans. Twin justifies his reasoning by telling the reader of seemingly scientific experiments that he has read about or studied.
Twain shows the cruelty of man in an example of an Earl who hunts buffalo for food and a snake that eats a calf for food. He explains that the Earl kills 72 animals when only needing one for food while the anaconda only kills one calf out of a whole heard for food.
Another example Twain utilizes is comparing roosters to humans. Twain reasons that a rooster can have multiple “wives” but a person cannot because he/she keeps them by brute force. The reasoning for why roosters can have more than one wife is due to the fact that they stay due to their own will. Next, Twain tells about how cats play with mice. He explains that the cat does not know how badly he is scaring the mouse as he plays with it, and that no harm is actually done to the mouse until it is eaten.
On the other hand, Twain explains that when Humans keep prisoners, the prisoners are horribly tortured. Twain goes on to tell many gruesome examples of torture throughout history. Twain also shows how humans are the only animals who enslave and rob his fellow human and exterminates his own kind. Twain also states that man is incurably foolish.
In the end of the selection, Twain tells of the last experiment. He tells of several diverse animals living in a cage together. Next, he places several socially-diverse people in another cage. The outcome of the experiment is opposite of what a person might think. The animals live together peacefully while the “civilized” people end up killing each other. Twain uses satire in all of these examples to point out the flaws of humans in order to disprove Darwin’s theory of the descent of man from lower animals and to provoke thoughts about our actions as humans.