Analyzing Twain´s The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and The Mysterious Stranger
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An enigmatic person strolls into a humble village secluded in the mountains, ignorant to many things. The enigma then enlightens the villagers to the truth whether good or bad. Mark Twain uses such a scenario in many of his works such as The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, and The Mysterious Stranger. In both stories are set in small towns who's residents are oblivious to their own moral hypocrisy. The sudden appearance of a stranger spreading a sort of knowledge, initiates a chain of events the leads to certain residents to self-evaluate their own character and that of the whole human race. It's is through these "Mysterious Strangers" and the events they trigger that Twain is able to depict his unfiltered cynical view of the moral status…show more content… Twain through Satan claims that Man's ability to distinguish between right and wrong along with the free will to choose between them inadvertently creates the possibility of wrongdoing, as right and wrong are just constructs made to justify man's actions ("Stranger" 78). At a later point in the novel Twain shows that man applies their morals in a herd like mentality. Satan and Theodor witness a lynching, Theodore joins in stoning the victim, and Satan laughs at the fact that while the entire mob participated in the stoning sixty-two hypocrites had no wish to throw a stone, only doing so in order to avoid persecution from the rest of the mob (Twain "Stranger 109). This shows the idea that while a man may be preaching something that is morally wrong yet will still have followers as long as they are vocal about it. At one point eleven girls are put to stake for witchcraft which Theodore concluded was a "just and right" cause yet when the girl's screams got to loud he left as it was "too dreadful"(Twain "Stranger" 82). Satan spends much of his time with Theodor admonishing the human race for their acquisition of the "Moral Sense" and boasting his superiority for the lack of it. Contradicting Satan, Ronald Gervais who argues that the "Moral Sense"