The War Prayer

Today I continue my series on classic American literature with a lesser-known work by Mark Twain.

Last week I considered the importance of classic literature to a modern gentleman’s leisure and edification.  I also noted that a modern gentleman’s busy life and time constraints make the balance of the world’s great works unattainable.  And so I have found for you one more very short story that is in every way a classic and certain to make you a wiser person.

This week, I have attempted to counter-balance last week’s selection.  London’s To Build a Fire was a story of the inherent harshness of the natural world, how the wild—and one might say the entire world—is amoral and without judgment or favor.  The theme of the story I present to you this week is diametrically opposed to this notion.  In fact, the author portrays human suffering in a much different light—humans are not only responsible for our suffering, we readily pray for it.  But have no fear—this author is adept at moralizing without being preachy—even when the protagonist is in fact a preacher.

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