The Scum of the Earth
Some believe man to be the superior species of all organisms, Mark Twain profoundly disagrees. In 1896, Mark Twain composed "The Lowest Animal”, an essay describing Twain's findings surrounding man's role and ranking among all other living individuals in the world. Twain makes the point that man is the lowest animal, in terms of morality, of all the earth's secures by exploiting a belligerent, cruel, and sadistic behavior exclusive to man. In the Lowest Animal, Mark Twain lists certain malevolent acts only exhibited by humans. He starts off by rejecting Darwin's theory of the Ascent of Man from Lower Animals in favor of the “Descent of Man from Higher Animals"(646). He highlights the superiority of the "so called" (646) lower animals over humans. Twain explains that man is the only animal to cruelly overindulge. Servants will slay 72 buffalo only for the earl to eat but one in its entirety and leave the 71 to rot. Yet when "seven young calves [are] turned into the anaconda's cage... the grateful reptile...crushed one...then lay back satisfied"(647). He concludes that "the earl is cruel and the anaconda isn't"(647). Twain also writes about how man covets and forcefully lusts for mates, he insists however that “Roosters keep harems, but it is by consent of their concubines; therefore no wrong is done"(648). An animal has the option of possessing multiple mates, but only at the collective consent of these secondary wives. This is why man is guilty, he holds his succubi in secret and keeps then shrouded in mystery for his own selfish pleasure. Mark Twain secludes man as the only animal to "inflict pain for the pleasure of doing it"(649). He brings an evil connotation even to the native Americans, who are usually seen as innocent compared to modern man, saying "when [man] is a North American Indian— [he] gouges out his prisoner’s eyes"(649). The cat, however, is merciful to the mouse. The feline will play with the frightened mouse and...
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