Mark Twain is one of the greatest writers and novelists in the history of the world. One of his more important works was the satirical take on how human beings are distinct from the other kinds of animals. He goes on a long discussion on the different types of things that the human race does that is distinctly theirs to call their own. The various types of emotions, feelings and reactions of human beings towards each other make him essentially special from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, it is also this type of special distinction that also assigns him to the lowest rung of the animal hierarchy. Mark Twain, in all his wit, shows to the world and all of the people who will be reading his work, The Lowest Animal, that man is by nature different from the rest of the animals because of his faculties and capabilities and it is those same things that make him quite the moral specimen. (Twain, 1991)
One of the things that was quite amusing to read about in the essay is Twain’s method of how he distinguished an earl from an anaconda. He muses that with an anaconda, the serpent simply has his fill and does not try to eat or take more than what is necessary. This is how he makes a distinct and poignant contrast between an anaconda and an earl. This is how he slowly slides the fact that humans are beings who are not satisfied with whatever they have. They are basically not contented beings because it is through the amassing of wealth and fortune that some people are thrust into a corrupt and evil lifestyle with the earl being his primary example. (Twain, 1991) This is one of the most important things that one can take into account simply because it is through these types of insights that people are actually caught off-guard so they can step back and assess the situation as how it really actually plays out. It is important for the reader to note that even though Mark Twain ins satirically portraying the weakness and the abilities of man, it is actually him doing a favor to the people who will be reading that reading simply because of the fact that all of those issues that he mentioned were sad but true
This essay is an eye-opening read because of the honesty that it was delivered in. It was all about how the human race is clearly a separate entity from the rest of the animal kingdom but it is also the species of animals that is only capable of organized mass extinction of their species. No other species of animal would be able to gather together for the extermination of their own kind in the animal kingdom. This particular feature of the human condition is one that can be found only in the animal species this is in a way disturbing because of the fact that it does not mean that just because someone knows how to act civilized means that there is already a distinction regarding what’s right and what’s wrong for someone.
One of the more difficult parts to read particularly as a human being is the fact that humans are the only animals who take part in revenge. When there is a scuffle in the animal kingdom in the rest of the species, the animas never take part in any acts of revenge. This is one of the things that could be argued against the human being which is said to be “the lowest animal” since it seems to be the only type of animal in the animal kingdom who is incapable of forgetting a wrong done. Even the author has struggled with several instances of wanting to get back at someone in some point in time. It is only because of man’s rationality that there are times that the act of revenge does not push through. Twain (1991) mentions that “The passion of revenge is unknown to the higher animals.” This is because of the fact that animals are not involved with such unbridled passion that it is unable to be controlled. Animals simply do not have the ability to store up hurt, broods over those injuries and simply waits for a chance to get back at the person.
The brutal honesty of the short excerpt of Twain’s reflections is too obvious to be ignored. He manages to address the different types of things that is simply degrading to the human race and its ability to live peacefully with other members of the species. This is perhaps one of the most thought-provoking essays that have been produced ever as it informs the people that there is a particular type of animal who acts much worse than the beasts who roam the wilderness. (Twain, 1991)
Overall, The Lowest Animal satirically portrays human beings to be the worst type of animal that you could encounter. The capabilities that are looming over a human being such as mass murder, revenge and hate are all part of its nature during the course of its life. Human beings are portrayed in a negative light in this essay of Mark Twain and the only thing that the readers could ever hope for is to try their best not to become the type of human that Twain is describing in his literary work. The more that we human beings strive to become less the animal in this literary work, the higher we go up the hierarchy.
Twain, Mark. Letters from the Earth. Perennial Publishing. 1991.