The War Prayer

Topics: Mark Twain, Satire, The War Prayer, Prayer, Nationalism / Pages: 3 (649 words) / Published: Apr 7th, 2011
In the passage The War Prayer by Mark Twain he tells a satirical story in which a mysterious man comes before a crowd of ignorant mass. Through this story and his setting he satirizes human logic when it comes to war and our tendency to not think our decisions through ; especially patriotic thoughts of war and glory. Twain satirically writes of the unseen and unthought-of horrors with a mock diction, excessive hyperbole and vivid imagery. At first glance it seems Twain seeks to write of glory and honor as he describes the ideal patriotic scene with “Drums Beating” “Toy Pistols Popping” and describing how “the war in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism”. But there is something amiss, something much darker he seeks to slowly uncover as Twain says “Firecrackers hissing and spluttering” symbolizing a dangerous animal hissing in alarm then as he moves on to say “Wilderness of flags in the sun” he hints how animalistic and dangerous the idea of patriotism could become because it could not be tamed. Twain describes the cheering as “cyclones” of applause which is ironic because cyclones have to do with destruction, death and usually disasters. Because “Cyclones” of applause are usually given after patriotic speeches this symbolizes how death, destruction and despair normally follow through even though in a patriotic speech, even though it is never mentioned; this also serves to effectively mock patriotic scenes. As Twain moves through the story a mysterious man from god appears and begins a set of appeals that are filled with hyperbole and also somewhat logical forcing the reader to think twice about unsaid prayers. He claims “God has asked him” to tell the people of their unheard prayers. Twain advances his logic to his audience by having the man say that there are two sides to every story and there is a dark side to their light prayers. Anyone can go up and disguise the morbid atmosphere and death-filled gory scenes of war with patriotic flags and

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