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Cannibalism In The Cars Essay

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Mark Twain was a prominent humorous American writer in the late 19th century who was infamous for satirizing many elements of society and writing in a vernacular that most people could understand. He believes that humor is “strictly a work of art” and that it is much subtler than comedy which “shouts [the nub] at you … every time” (Source A). Using his sense of humor, Mark Twain writes “Cannibalism in the Cars” and uses repetition and irony to achieve a humorous effect.
Throughout the whole story, Twain uses repetition through anaphora and alliteration which creates suspense by emphasizing certain parts of his story to make the end seem more humorous. For example, when the men first become trapped in the train car, he repeats the word “we” …show more content…

It is ironic that the men on the train form a committee and hold formal meetings to discuss something as barbaric as cannibalism. This satirizes the government by suggesting that government officials are overly formal and ruthless. For instance, Mr. Sawyer says the “[the proceedings] are, in every way, irregular and unbecoming” after the men simply begin nominating who to eat and urges the formation of committee to vote on who should logically be eaten next. Furthermore, the story satirizes the mercilessness of politicians because they decide someone “[must] die to furnish food for the rest” so they can eat, but none of the men ever offer to sacrifice themselves; they only nominate others and forcefully persuade them to die for the other men (Source B). By showing the mannerisms of the Congressmen on the train, Twains satirizes the conduct of government officials which creates a humorous effect by mocking something most people of the time can relate to.
Twain uses repetition and irony in his short story, “The Cannibalism in the Cars,” to emphasize certain parts of the story and ridicule the government to add to the humor. This helps create the refined wit Twain is known for and believes is the best way to tell a story. The repetition and irony create a humorous effect in the story that is subtle, rather than blunt like in a witty or comedic

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