Essay The Autobiographical Nature of The Mesmerizer, by Mark Twain
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In the article “The Mesmerizer,” by Mark Twain in his autobiography, Twain tells us a story when he was a teenager. In 1850, there was an exciting event taking place in the village Hannibal. A mesmerizer named Simmons came to town to advertise his show. Simmons has a subject in his show named Hicks. Fifteen year old Twain participates in this show that Simmons promised marvels to his audience, the townspeople. Twain usurps Hicks’s place stealing the spotlight with a lie. Although Twain became the show, the temporary fame that Twain receives is lost years later and continues to bite him back even after many years. Just as Twain is to blame for being carried away with his own fame that was built on a lie, those who were at the…show more content… Twain suffers so much and chooses to conceal the fact that he too is faking this whole act and just endures to keep up his reputation. Ethically, the hypnotist should have prevented Twain from participating in these tests. Last to blame is not a person, but it is the townspeople who saw the show. The townspeople are guilty for being gullible and cruel, especially towards Twain. Simmons already gives away the fact that the show is actually an act, yet the townspeople still believe what they want to believe. It’s an act because he advertises for his show and says there are admission fees. The people are gullible enough to believe that Simmons’s strength of mind could turn Twain’s arm into iron and painless.
“Those were dear good people, but they must have carried simplicity and credulity to the limit. They would stick a pin in my arm and bear on it until they drove it a third of its length in, and then be lost in wonder that by a mere exercise of will-power the professor could turn my arm to iron and make it insensible to pain. Whereas it was not insensible at all; I was suffering agonies of pain” (3).
The people are gullible enough to believe that Simmons’s strength of mind could turn Twain’s arm into iron and painless. If they think that he is under the influence, they should also know that he is going to feel it sooner or later. Yet, they continue to drive the pin into his arm and enjoy his suffering. Even