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The Lowest Animal By Mark Twain Man: considered the reasoning animal; the higher animal.

But what if that is a false assumption? What if man is not the highest animal, but the lowest? Mark Twains thesis, The Lowest Animal, considers this possibility through Juvenalian, exaggeration, and sarcastic elements of satire. Twains target is Americans, and their ridiculous fascination with advancement and betterment, which in small portions are healthy and sterling. His satire explores, with a caustic lens, how these ideals are almost exclusively in the abstract, and rarely a reality. The lowest Animal is a Juvenalian satire, which means that unlike its sister element, Horatian satire, which aims to lightheartedly criticize, Juvenalian seeks to harshly condemn something; less emphasis on humor. Twain recounts how in his experiments, there were distinct differences between his human variable, and the anaconda control. The earl uses what he needs, and wantonly slaughters what he doesnt even need. The anaconda, on the other hand, a creature of prey and cunning power and stealth, kills his prey and eats it; gratefully returning to his or her natural habitat. His theory supposed that the anaconda didnt evolve from the man, but rather the man from the anaconda, because it seems to fit that man must have lost many quality characteristics in that process. Twains critique of the components of man, as his infatiguable thirst for money and power, and his brooding and vengeful nature, lampoon man and his obsession over ascension, and his imperfections. Twain, in order to emphasize his point that man is the lesser animal , adds to the shock value by using exaggeration. He suggests that man is the only animal who sees pleasure in others pain, and cannot fathom a reality where his or her philosophy int the one true belief. He stated that when animals of different species were put in a cage, they dont provoke any unnecessary violence

or interactions, and instead went about their lives peacefully, but when humans, all of the same species (but different religious and ideological beliefs) were put together, they massacred each other, until not a soul was left living. Yes, this is a macabre and ostentatious display, but, alas, it is an exaggeration, and an exaggeration is just an overemphasis on the truth. The truth, in this case, is that people are inherently predisposed to be stubborn, paranoid, and incredibly proud creatures. Whereas, the other animals dont have the burden of frivolous emotions and qualities. Twain has a sarcastic tone throughout the entire essay, and it exists to mock humans and the large ego they carry in accordance with intelligence. Twain snidely remarks, man is the reasoning animal. Such is the claim. His caustic tone emphasized the fact that it is clear that man reasons none too well, and that suggesting mans wisdom to be flawed, is something that is unheard of (which it isnt). When explaining mans descent from the higher animal, to the lower one, he smartly states that it is an unpleasant conclusion, and one that is shocking. Twains passage is marked with irony, in order to convey contempt towards people and their inclination to put their species far above the rest. So, if man is the only reasoning animal, according to Mark Twains examples of human nature, reason is not such a superb trait to possess.