The Large Ant Critical Analysis

Decent Essays

“The creation of a structure of good and evil…[is] a function of intelligence-unquestionably the ultimate evil may [be] the destruction of conscious intelligence.”(8) In the psychoanalytical story ‘The Large Ant’, by Howard Fast, a multitude of facets portray how fear morphed history throughout time. ‘The Large Ant’ locates itself some years after the Second World war, atom bombs having been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a communist regime on the rise, ‘The Large Ant’ parallels Cold War hostilities and breaks apart the intentions of a humanity through the use of theories, including classical conditioning, defence mechanisms, and group influences. Classical Conditioning is one of the indicators of the story’s driving plot. Humans have been conditioned to harm out of fear throughout history, seen when Mr. Morgan mutilates and murders an ant with a golf club (3). This theory was discovered by Ivan Pavlov, as a learning procedure through pairing a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. …show more content…

Morgan is being tempted into their circle by adding in the element of evil in the story; “The more it seems to me that fear and hatred [are] the two sides of the same coin.” (9) After his meeting with the professors, all of which are successful in convincing Mr. Morgan the wrongs of murder, he then feels enlightened. In the end, he then concludes that, saying, “Like a criminal who can no longer live with himself, I am content to [be] judged.” (9)
Overall, in the story “The Large Ant” by Howard Fast explains the damaging effects throughout history caused by fear. Viewed through a multitude of theories, beginning with classical conditioning, defense mechanisms such as displacement and denial, levels of socialization, and group influences, such as deindividuation and group polarization, to create an effective criticism through the psychoanalytical

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