Thursday, December 1, 2011

twain-the war prayer

This piece of writing, can be summarized as being about how there are soldiers that are preparing to enter battle. As described By Twain there was an aura of great excitement as the men were prepared to go off to engage in battle. As demonstrated in one line, "in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism"( This can show that the men felt as though there country was being invaded, and wanted to fight to prove their undying love for their land. Twain goes on to mention that the soldiers parents', wives', and sweethearts were available to wish the soldiers farewell and to show their support for their soldiers and others.
However the following day, there is an Sunday church service dedicated to the soldiers that are preparing to leave for the battlefront. An chapter from the Old Testament was read aloud, and then came the "long prayer". However, before the service ended, an elderly man whom was an stranger to all stepped forward. He claimed that he was coming, to bear an message from God. Even though the man claimed to be an messenger of God, he was viewed by everyone as being an madman. This was due to the fact, that no one could make sense of his spoken words.
One connection that I have to this story, is that it made me think of all the war films, that I have seen in my lifetime. I had an particular memory of the film "Cold Mountain". This film is baded on an book by the same name and is based during the Civil War era. This film chronicled the fighting, that occured between the soldiers on the north and the south side. But mainly, the film focused on the lives of the women, that were left behind to fend for themselves.
One connection, that I had to other readings that was covered in this course, is that this story of course reminded me of "Huck Finn". One could be able to tell, that Twain had written both pieces of writings.
This is due to the fact, that the compositions seemed to reflect an sense of religion in an satricial manner. As in the case of "Huck Finn", he felt as though he had to denounce religion, due to the fact that he was an friend of Jim's. That was due to the fact, that the many Christians in the south felt as though blacks needed to remain as slaves. In Twain's writings, he portrays those that are deeply religious, as being too overzealous. And yet, those that are true Christians are often manipulated, due to their deep faith. In both stories, Twain seems to view both the church and religious people in an satricial sense. As in the case of the elderly stranger that professed to be speaking the very words of God. Instead of the church members taking the words seriously, the man was viewed as being mad. This seems to be typical, of Twain professing his views on the subject matter of religion.
Lastly, one question that I had about this piece of writing by Mark Twain, is that "I wonder who exactly was the man, that claimed to be knowing the words of God"?.  I wonder if the man was truly insane, or if he felt as though he had an actual closer relationship to God.
I felt as though this piece was more easier to read and understand compared to "Huck Finn". I personally feel as though Twain was an very talented writer in early American history. I also feel as though this story can be applied to what is going on in current times. With men having to battle in war since this piece was written, it can be applied to what anyone goes through when they engage in an war. I also found it interesting to note, that Twain had written this composition in response to the Phillipine-American War of 1899-1902. Twain had been an strong opposer, to this war occuring. I also found it interesting to know, that this composition had been rejected by his publisher. The writings were not discovered, until after his death. The "War Prayer" had been found among his other manuscripts that had been unpublished as well.

1 comment:

  1. I have several comments to make about this piece by Twain. One comment, is that only the dead could be able to tell the absolute truth. As in the case of the strnager that had been viewed as being crazed, there is an belief that people only listen to you, after you are gone. When one is alive, they often have to deal with ones not believing their words. However, after one has passed, there is an belief that their words that they left behind are an testimony to the truth. Lastly, this story has an sense of patriotism. This is due to the fact, that the young men are proud to be engaging in battle against an enemy. Also, there is an sense of the mob mentality in this story. This was an common theme in "Huck Finn". Also, religion was an common theme in both works of art by Twain. Since this poem had been written in response to the war against the Phillipines, it is an belief that the best way to die, is in the act of serving and defending ones country.