Satire In Mark Twain's 'The War Prayer'

Decent Essays

Satire: a technique employed by writers to expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule. In the early 1900s, talk was all about war, but war was not all talk. The United States was involved in multiple wars, and most people believed war to be a positive thing. Those with differing opinions were publicly shamed, and Mark Twain was not exactly shy about flaunting his opinion at first. His personal views of the goings-on in the world can be found in his writing, and “The War Prayer” was no different. Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer” informs the reader of his negative views of war in multiple ways, and show how only dead men can speak out about their opinions. This is shown with the double meaning behind the “age stranger” quote, the capitalization of Throne, and using his personal quote about dead men.

In “The War Prayer”, the term “age stranger” shows the reader the strange man who walked into the church was actually dead. The story is set in a little town where the volunteer military men are heading off to war the next day, and this takes place during the church service. The entirety of the town is congregated there listening to the preacher’s war prayer from the Old Testament, and then “An age stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step” (Twain, 1) and walked up to the front, pushed the preacher out of the way, and proceeded to inform the congregation of the unuttered part of their

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