Books and Movies Reviews

The Mysterious Stranger

In the Mark Twain story "The Mysterious Stranger", Satan teaches Theodor that
the Moral Sense that humans possess is more of an impairment than a gift. Thefirst time
Satan degrades Man's Moral Sense is when he use the term to explain the difference
between himself and Man (66). Theodor, who only had a "dim idea of what the Moral
Sense was" is upset at the way Satan speaks of it. Satan shows Theodor several examples
of the cruel things Man does that no other animal on earth would do.Satan says that that
although man was given the Moral Sense to differentiate right from wrong he usually
makes the wrong decision(78). Satan also says that man is proud to have the Moral Sense
when it is actually a "shameful possession"(78).
The examples of the poverty in the French Village(78-9), the man being tortured
in the jail(78),and persecution of the witches are all used by Satan to teach Theodor the
flaws of mankind and the Moral Sense.Theodor begins to understand why Satan looks
down upon our race as silly and trivial when he sees all of the cruel things that man does
to other men and animals.Satan defends even the animals of the earth by saying that
even they are not "tainted with the disease called the Moral Sense"(80) and therefore
cannot do wrong because they don't have a choice like man does. He questions the boys
as to why Hans Oppert's loyal dog should not be allowed into heaven and asks if their
race "canadd anything to this dog's stock of morals and magnanimities."(80) Satan
thinks that the Moral Sense make humans a foolish race.Man's cruelty cannot be blamed
on anyone but him because he knows right from wrong.
Along with the Moral Sense, Satan also compares humans to sheep, and says that
they are mostly followers and afraid to assert themselves because they want to sta


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