Last Updated 19 Apr 2023

A Response to Mark Twain’s the Lowest Animal

Category Animals, Mark Twain
Essay type Response
Words 771 (3 pages)
Views 1639

What makes a being more evolved? Who are we to say that humans are the most evolved or even the least? It is believed by some that we are descended from the "higher animals", whereas others believe that we have ascended from the "lower animals". In Mark Twain's essay, "The Lowest Animal" (1896), he portrays the idea that the human race has no hope, as we have too many flaws. It is undeniable that we have our flaws, but what creature on this planet does not? The human race may not be perfect, or reaching perfection anytime soon, but it does progress and develop as time goes on.

As humans, we are neither substantially higher nor lower than animals. Although foolish actions are performed towards each other and our planet, we have also accomplished plenty to accompany this. This can be seen through our use of moral sense, fight against slavery and dedicated medical help. Despite our faults, we do have our redeeming qualities and this is why were are not as Mark Twain says, "the lowest animal". Having a moral sense can be a weakness in some aspects, however this is not always so. This sense shows that we acknowledge our boundaries and allows us to be civilized as human beings.

It can be argued whether or not the human race is civilized, based on our faults. Our race is not innocent of murder and other cruel actions and this may seem to validate Mark Twain's (1896) accusation that "Man is the Cruel Animal" (pg. 236), but these actions do not define us because they are not considered to be the norm. Without this sense, these actions could nonetheless be the norm. Actually, it is this "great defect" known as our moral sense that holds us from being at our worst and as monstrous as we could be.

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Another example of what is known to be a fault of the human race is slavery. Twain (1896) states "Man is the only slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. "(pg. 237) The fact that man takes part in slavery cannot be denied, however it cannot be confirmed that he is the only animal that does. Studies show that other species of animals do indeed deal with this issue. A species of ants called Protomagnathus Americanus abduct the young of others and force them into labouring for their new masters.

These ants conduct violent raids on nests of other species killing the adults. This is one of several examples that proves that man is surely not the only slave, neither the only animal that enslaves. Mark Twain(1896) claims about man that "he is always some man's slave for wages, and does that man's work.. "(pg. 237), however without this basis of hierarchy our communities and economy would not function. What Twain sees as the allowing of enslavement is how each part of the economy works together to keep it running and how each individual is able to afford to survive.

Over time it is seen by many worldwide that forceful, unfair enslavement is considered unacceptable. This cruel act is not allowed with strong rules set against it in many areas. Although it still exists in certain countries, as previously stated Mark Twain's "higher animals" fail to be above this as well. Our bodies are not perfect and they do have their flaws that result into many different diseases, as Twain(1896) wrote, "... man starts in as a child and lives on diseases till the end, as a regular diet. (pg. 240) However, it is man who also works and creates cures for these diseases. Although there is seemed to be more types of diseases common to man than animals, diseases and sicknesses are not uncommon to them. It is also humans that study animals and work as veterinarians to cure these problems for certain animals as well. The hard work put in by the human race to find these cures and successfully cure many should outweigh the fact that we are prone to more diseases that Twain's "higher animals".

We may be imperfect animals, as Twain had pointed out with his list of flaws of the human race, but we do strive for this so called "perfection" and work to improve ourselves to reach it. This is not a fast process, but through time we are developing and progressing. Why lose hope on humanity because of what is done wrong, when there is so much that is done right? These redeeming qualities should prove that unlike Mark Twain(1986) believed, we are an important species and should not be seen as failures when we have reached so much success.

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A Response to Mark Twain’s the Lowest Animal essay

Related Questions

on A Response to Mark Twain’s the Lowest Animal

What Is Man (twain)?
What Is The Main Thesis Of Mark Twain's?
What Is The Main Thesis Of Mark Twain's?
The main thesis of Mark Twain's work is that human nature is essentially good, but that it is corrupted by the institutions and conventions of society. Twain was a strong critic of the American government and institutions, and he believed that they were the main force behind the corruption of human nature.
What Is The Lowest Animal About?
It depends on individual perspectives. Some people may consider insects or other small creatures to be the lowest animals, while others may believe that all animals are equal. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide what they believe to be the lowest animal.

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