Mark Twain's Essay: The War Prayer

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Throughout human history, war has been a common solution to settle conflict or disagreements between people. War has and will always be apart of this world, because no matter how much death it causes humans will never change. Some people have come to see the idiocy in war and have even written about it in poems, short stories, etc. One of these people, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, has mocked this absurd and pointless practice. Twain’s essay The War Prayer satirizes the customs of praying for safety and victory in war and for equating war with patriotism. During times of war, it is safe to say that life can easily be lost. Twain’s essay features soldiers going to war but praying for their own well being: “merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand” (Twain). Twain is ridiculing the idea that soldiers, who are trained to kill, would expect God to bless them. He mocks such a thought by …show more content…

No matter what the cause, war and the killing of another human being cannot be justified. Twain shows how war can and has been justified by patriotism: “the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism” (Twain). The very essence of the people’s pride blinds them into becoming murderers, for their patriotism is their pride. Twain expresses this arrogance as a burning fuel to go to war. Twain exemplifies the irony of the people’s happiness towards the soldiers: “The proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion” (Twain). It is ironic how they are cheering for their “young men” to go out and kill people. This is connected to patriotism in Twain’s satire, as “the pastors preached devotion to flag and country” even though it means spilling blood

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