Corn Pone Analysis
In the Corn Pone Opinions, Mark Twain, a renowned Americanscholar, explores how external factors, events, or affiliationsinfluence a person’s decisions. More precisely, he argues thatpersonal thoughts are intermittent and unreal since they are just“corn pone opinions.” Twain believes that it is human nature toobey because most of the people cannot successfully resist forces,which emanate from various dominant occurrences (Nordquist n.p.). Inhis view, conformity starts with an ambition for self-approval whileself-approval starts with the other people’s approval. Therefore,personal thoughts significantly depend on external influences. Anindividual conforms because he or she wants to earn respect or beliked by others. Importantly, Mark Twain claims that people basetheir sentiments entirely on the need to conform to the public’sview rather than their personal assessment of the existing issue. Asa result, this extreme reliance on public’s opinion leads to theultimate idea that individuals rarely follow their conscience. Forinstance, choices concerning religions, politics, and morals largelydepend on the surrounding influences, which even differ from the setcanons or training. It seems that people no longer reason, but theyonly notice and obey. In this regard, I completely agree with theTwain’s argument that a man is not self-sufficient and cannottolerate insights, which may frustrate his butter and bread owing toextreme reliance on public’s opinions.
Foremost, people are blind to their abilities and intelligence. Withthe advancement of technology and knowledge, individuals are aware ofthe importance of exercising personal judgment before making adecision regarding various irresistible issues. Unfortunately,corresponding to the Twain’s assertions, people presently seek toachieve self-approval, which they only get through community’sapproval (LeMaster and James 123). As a result, they end up agreeingto the society’s ideologies rather than using their intelligenceand talents to resolve various inevitable life concerns. Indeed,individuals have failed to utilize the Aristotelian concepts mainlylogos, which remain crucial in reasoning. The logos require people touse logic when evaluating different issues and making theirdecisions. Sadly, the majority of the individuals do not questionrather they tend to obey as if they have no right to resist existingsociety’s insights. For instance, Mark Twain describes how peoplecriticized the hoopskirt after its first introduction in the marketbut later adopted it as their dress simply because a significantnumber of women started wearing it (Nordquist n.p.). Similarly,people today conform to various fashions, eating habits, andpolitical ideologies among other just because some people do it orsupport it. Therefore, people influence each other either directly orindirectly since everyone has a similar stimulus, and thus he or sheseeks approval from others while they also seek it from him or her.
Additionally, people sacrifice their personal needs in theirday-to-day life to conform to various social, political, or religiousnorms. In modern society, people follow different religious groups orpolitical parties just because others do it even if they may betyrannical. For instance, some people claim they are Catholics orProtestants merely because they were born in families confessing thatfaith (Girgus 52). Indeed, few individuals question why they observethe religious beliefs they do even after they become adults.Similarly, some individuals become affiliated to political partiesbecause they love a specific politician or because they come from astronghold of a certain political party. In this way, they fail touse their minds to make important life decisions, and thus they endelecting selfish leaders who later intimidate and neglect them.Despite humans’ evolution, they have not yet abandoned theirtraditional behavior of functioning as a group (Nordquist n.p.).Twain claims that the ancient American society was hostile andembraced racism. Indeed, he wrote this text to explore the foundationof the racial discrimination. Mark Twain found out that the majorityof people just believed that the blacks were inferior since thepublic opinion dictated it to everyone. Surprisingly, the blacks alsoembraced the institution of slavery although they knew it causedmiseries to them. Correspondingly, individuals today conform topolitical and religious ideologies at the expense of the personalinterests even though they feel uncomfortable.
I also agree that a person plays an insignificant role in influencinghis or her choice because the public determines opinions. In fact,the humans seem tied to an inexorable network of mutuality, whichmakes them blind to the existing evils not only in their society butalso across the globe. For example, there has been a rapid rise ofthe injustices in different countries, leading to increased number ofdeaths and civil wars. Amazingly, people listen and follow theleaders who cause these injustices simply because they are prominent.In most of the war-prone regions, leaders ensure that people remainpoor so that they can always depend on them for help. In this way,leaders have made residents appear like robots, which just followtheir master’s directions without questioning. In this regard, inthe Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.], Martin LutherJr. criticizes his fellow clergymen for remaining silent while peoplein Birmingham continued to suffer owing to the increased injustices(University of Pennsylvania n.p.). He urged them to break theirsocial and religious ties, which deny them freedom since they can nolonger afford to live with “outsider agitator” perception.Importantly, Martin Luther Jr. argues that there are four fundamentalsteps of assessing injustices or other vices in the society,including gathering information to establish whether discrepanciesexist, self-purification, negotiation, and direct engagement.Unfortunately, black leaders were not willing to pursue these stepstoward addressing the inequalities rather they observed the setregulations without questioning. Similarly, people currently are justignorant of their rights simply to please others.
In conclusion, it evident that people rarely use their personaljudgment to make various crucial decisions concerning their life.Mark Twain delivers a thought-provoking assessment of the public,majority vs. minority, and psychological factors using logos,anecdote, and allusion to demonstrate the lack of autonomy indecision-making process among most of the individuals. For example,he uses an allusion of the hoopskirt fashion and Shakespeare’sliterature to illustrate how people remain tied to the public ratherthan individual opinion. Additionally, he employs logos to giveexamples and reveal how individuals make choices through association.In my opinion, people tend to confuse between a feeling and anintellectual examination of an issue. The majority of the people obeysomething because they think it is right although they do nothing tofind out the truth about the matter. Arguably, a public opinion is aninstinct that many individuals have failed to fight off. When aperson makes a choice, other people either ignore or follow itmeaning that humans have lost their autonomy in decision-making.Without a doubt, Twain’s assertion that a man significantly dependson group view to make his decisions is realistic.
Girgus, Sam B. "Dilemma of Dissensus: Bercovitch, Roth, andDoctorow." Summoning: Ideas of the Covenant and InterpretiveTheory, 2012, pp. 251.
LeMaster, Jimmi R., and James D. Wilson, eds. The RoutledgeEncyclopedia of Mark Twain. Routledge, 2013.
Nordquist, Richard. “Corn-Pone Opinions by Mark Twain.”ThoughtCo., 3 Nov. 2015,www.thoughtco.com/corn-pone-opinions-by-mark-twain-1690231. Accessed12 Apr. 2017.
University of Pennsylvania. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail[King, Jr.]". 16 Apr. 1963,www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html. Accessed 12Apr. 2017.
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