Imperfect Persuasion Essay

826 words - 4 pages


Mark Twain is arguably one of the greatest authors of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, writing unforgettable titles such as “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” which are still read by many today. However, it may be shocking for some to know he also endeavored in argumentative writing as well. “The Damned Human Race” is one such article. As with any Mark Twain writing, it is filled with emotion and thought. Although this article is extremely persuasive, due to Mark Twain’s dramatic word choices playing on the emotions of the reader, closer examination reveals his article illogical due to relevance as a scientist and fallacious reasoning found within ...view middle of the document...

One such experiment depicts a large amount of food being offered to a many different animal breeds, both wild and tame; in order to discover the amount of food each animal would consume and store (Twain 2). Although Mark Twain’s clout as an author is undeniable, his influence is unable to project the same semblance of authority in the scientific community, thus leaving the opportunity for the pacification of his argument to be due to the false authority fallacy. Conversely, it can be easily argued that the nature of his experiments required little scientific expertise. Therefore, negating his relevance as a scientist; allowing Twain the opportunity to utilize logos through the use of his findings to argue his case. (Driver, Helen, Gast, and Lowman-Thomas 67).
As always, Mark Twain impresses with his ability to entangle the use of logos into his writing, furthering his argument. His consistency creates flow allowing readers to follow his thoughts effortlessly. Nevertheless, it is in this area that Twains flaw is encountered, turning an otherwise persuasive article into an illogical argument. While he compares multiple experiments to different human interactions witnessed throughout his life, he fails to account for the alternatives that could have taken in both his experiments and endeavors, creating a false dilemma fallacy (Driver, Helen, Gast, and Lowman-Thomas 73). For example, Twain mentions human greed, referring to the wealthy, describing greed as a “rabid...

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