Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger

Another book about Satan: not as good as ‘the confidence man’ but still fun. In this book, Satan is an Angel. Yet he has no respect for Man:

“No brute ever does a cruel thing – that is the monopoly with the Moral Sense. (…) A sense whose function it is to distinguish between right or wrong, with liberty to choose which one of them he will do. Now what advantage can he get out of that? (…) There shouldn’t be any wrong; and without the moral sense there wouldn’t be any.” (Twain, 1922, pp.50-51).

Being an Angel, Satan tries to help Man. Yet, since to Satan Man’s life is a complete disaster, he helps by killing people or making them insane:

Yet towards the end, the book takes a surprising turn: it is not all black. The misery is just proof that the world doesn’t exist: ““Nothing exists save empty space – and you!” “I!” “And you are not you – you have no body, no bones, you are but thought (…) Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that you universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange because they are so frankly and hysterically insane – like all dreams: God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones” (Twain, 1922, p.139).

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