The Lowest Animal

Dear Mark Twain,

Throughout your observations and experiments in “The Lowest Animal,” you have included reasons for believing that humans are the worst animals because they are greedy, selfish, wasteful, and brutal and create destruction and chaos in society. However, assuming that all humans are atrocious and excluding their good traits are bias judgments. By looking at the actions of the characters in many of your works such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, you also show that humans have the potential to do both good and bad things, so not all of them resemble the lowest animals because they too have good qualities. Humans are diverse; some are cruel and inhuman, but there are others who are compassionate and kind. Your assumptions only applies to a small population since you ignores the positive sides of human nature such as having sympathy, loyalty, courage, and the moral sense of right from wrong.

The innate goodness of humankind is due to the fact that they all have the moral sense of right from wrong which allows them to reject injustice presented in society. The ability of Huck to determine what to do with Jim and his insistence to free him shows that he clearly understands the injustice of slavery. By looking at Huck and Jim's relationship, not everyone expresses their negative view toward slavery and suppresses them, but according to your explanation, humans have “always held other slaves in bondage under him in one way or another” (Twain 472). Throughout the story, Huck's view toward slavery changes as he spends more time interacting with Jim. He is able to treat Jim with respect and sees him more as a human being who has feelings, emotions, and family bonds and should be treated equally like everyone else. For example, after Huck plays a trick on Jim in order to make him belief that their separation is just a dream, he feels guilty and is willing to “humble [and apologize himself] to a nigger” (Twain 86). In this case, Huck's morality makes him feel responsible for his action toward Jim, and it gives him the power to ask for forgiveness even though Jim status is lower than his. He also understands that robbing, lying, and murdering are viewed immorally by society; thus he comes up with a plan to “blow on the two frauds,” the King and the Duke, “for robbing a lot of orphans of everything they had.” (Twain 176-177). As Huck faces more people, his moral values give him the capacity to obtain the virtue of being a good person and oppose the immortal and cruel lifestyles in society. Thus, describing human as being savage, cruel, and corrupted is completely a false assumption.

Your explantions are not fully valid since there are also certain people who have the capacity to display their good qualities such as being considerate and understanding. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mrs. Waston and Widow Douglas “took [Huck] for [their] son, . . . sivilize [him]” through manners and religion, send him to school, and teach him how to read and write after he was abandoned by his father, Pap (Twain 1). Even though Huck is not their blood son, they are willing to take Pap's responsibility as Huck's parents to take care of him and provide him with a stable home. Judge Thatcher is another example that shows the benign face of humankind as being helpful and understanding. Although Huck is not connected to Thatcher, he helps Huck by safeguarding his money and “[asking] the court to take [Huck] away from [Pap]”(Twain 21). He share part of the responsibility for Huck's life and becomes a guardian that Huck can rely on. During Huck's journey, he witnessed many people such as the Grandgerford family who are perfectly willing to allow Huck, an unknown stranger, to stay in their homes and give him plenty of foods such as “cold corn-pone, cold corn beef, and butter” and clothes (Twain 98). As well describing them as kind humans, you also illustrate them as loyalty creatures.

The good side of human is shown through depiction of their loyalties to others. When Huck promises to set Jim free, he keeps his words and does his best to help him. After Mrs. Judith Loftus tells Huck that her husband and some other man are going after Jim to capture him, Huck rushes to Jim and warns him about the news; he says, “‘Git up and hump yourselt, Jim! There ain't a minute to lose. They're after us'” (Twain 62). Instead of abandoning Jim, Huck's loyalty for his friend forces him to return and help Jim escape from Mrs. Loftus's husband. As the two travel together, their friendship and interaction increases their reliability and loyalty for each other. Furthermore, as Huck comes by two men who try to capture runaway niggers, he lies by leading the men to believe that his father is having smallpox, so that they would not be able to find and prison Jim. Huck does his best to keep his promise to Jim instead of betraying him by turning him over the authority. Human's faithfulness and loyalty are what make them nice and more superior than animals since animals have depicted none of these qualities. In addition to the strength of loyalty, you also portray humans as heroics and selfless creatures.

The innate mankind of being unselfish and brave can be seen throughout the story. Huck courageously brings ruthless band of robbers at “Walter Scott” to justice even though he knows this action can risk his own life (Twain 71). His courageousness and selfless trait allows him to defy and resist the immorality in society. In addition, although Huck understands that freeing a slave is against the law and can put him in great danger if he gets caught by others, he still has the courage to follow his heart to free Jim. For example, he says, “People would call me a low down Abolitionist and despise me for keeping mum - but that don't make no difference. I ain't agoing to tell” (Twain 45). Furthermore, Huck also forces himself to expose the con men, the Daupher and the King, to the Wilkses because he does not want to see them robbing the money from the poor orphans (Twain 183). His braveness allows him to confess to Mary Jane that her “uncles are ain't no uncles at all” even though this action can risk his own life if the town finds out that he is part of this con plan (Twain 187). As a result, humans displays their natural strength through their bravery, and unlike lowest animals, they are selfless and consider about others before themselves.
Overall, humans are not truly corrupted and have demolished traits since you have left out their benign traits such as brave, loyalty, sympathetic, and moral sense of right from wrong which distinguish them as nice creatures. Their innate goodness of humankind allows them to defy the cruel injustices presented in society and urge for what is right and consistent for their community. Therefore, comparing them to the lowest animals are bias and unacceptable assumption. Since you belief that humans lack civilized morale and etiquette, you should have not included their benign traits in your stories, but since you did, you must have also thought that human are nice creatures as well.

Anh La

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