The Damned Human Race is satirical essay where the author discusses his perceptions of mankind’s impractical morality. He argues that “Indecency, vulgarity, and obscenity (these are strictly confined to man); he invented them” (Twain). He concludes that there is no trace of humanity among the higher animals because they never hide anything and are not feeling guilty. His observation presents human as the only beings with a moral sense and they still utilize it for evil ends. After his thorough comparison between man and animals, he concludes that among all species, man is the least evolved. In spite of the satirical tone and dishonest proficiency, the arguments aptly fit his generalizations about the human race. He employs satire to reveal the ills defining man’s life at the same time challenging his readers to assess their own morals (Twain). This essay will critically analyze Mark Twain’s essay, The Damned Human Race, with regard to the arguments presented concerning the human race and animals. The essay will focus on the structure of the argument, its tone, and the pathos, logos, and ethos to prove the success of the argument.
Apart from the application of false and banal analogies, Twain’s arguments reveal some truth. The truth showcased that numerous logical arguments were successful. First, he succeeds when he compares the gathering habits of men to that of animals. While “many men who have accumulated more millions of money that they can ever use have shown a rabid hunger for more” (Twain) wild animals, though furnished with “the opportunity to accumulate vast stores of food…none of them would do winter’s supply…and could be persuaded to add to it either honestly or by chicane” (Twain). Humans continuously accumulate money and other valuables even if they have enough while animals never gather more when they have enough. His observation settles that man is covetous while animals are not. The analogy is allegorical and stereotypical, but the logic of the statement that man is greedy compared to animals cannot be denied (Twain).
The essay progresses with the application of pathos effectively. Through the use of vivid metaphors, he drives his readers to an emotional stance. He challenges his audience to assess the evil characters of human beings and perceive the world through his outlook. For example, when he describes how three monks were “burnt to death” with others “put to death with atrocious cruelty” (Twain). Twain asks, “Do we inquire into the details?” (Twain) to which he answer no because if we do so, we would realize how another monk was “subjected to unprintable mutilations” (Twain). The metaphor he employs draws his readers into a sorrowful position with regard to the experience of the monks. He also allows them to feel angry about the people who did this kind of heinous acts, and rage towards the press that failed to inform the public about these evils. The structure of his metaphorical arguments effectively makes his readers feel the emotions he feels (Twain).
The essay tone is cynical and subjective, forcing readers to ponder the deeper meaning he had in mind. The subjectivity of the argument springs from the fact that he never gives any positive traits possessed by individuals. He concludes that the moral sense of man is worse than the disease of rabies. “Rabies is an innocent disease, compared to the Moral Sense. No one, then, can be the better man for having the Moral Sense” (Twain). He fails to give alternative solutions to what he abhors in human behaviors. Moreover, there is clear disproval of his own thesis since he bases his theory on satire, leading to the belief that what he said was not his drive in this work. The application of satire is a logical way of addressing the ills prevalent throughout the society without openly insulting the readers. The account includes the corrupted ideals of men concerning slavery, war, and gender rights. In reality, these are representations of his principles and inclinations. The successful use of pathos made the audience feel the anger he felt. Also, his ridicule for the immoral values within the society without insulting the audience shows his effective application of satire (Twain).
The piece persuades the readers to evaluate and examine their morality indirectly. The main reasoning of committing the “cherry picking fallacy” while excluding admirable traits of men is an attempt to coerce his readers to nullify his arguments. When he categorizes people as having valueless morality, he appears subjective. However, the idea that all men are immoral compels the audience to disagree. In the quest to prove him wrong, they end up acting in ways that contradict his analysis, hence succeeds in making individuals see the evils they perpetrated. The satire, rich metaphors, and the fundamental persuasion made the work an excellent piece. The work effectively uses pathos, which introduces similar emotions in readers while the subjectivity of the arguments compels them to assess their morals. The piece is excellent because it persuades people to use their moral sense indirectly.