The War Prayer vs. Editha

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“The War Prayer”, written by Mark Twain, and “Editha”, written by William Dean Howells, are two very different pieces of writing with similar themes and variant styles. Both pieces provoke emotional responses in addition to providing the dark truths of war. The two pieces both are effective in their similar themes, though written in completely different styles. “The War Prayer” and “Editha”, though being very similar pieces, do slightly differ in theme. The message provided by “The War Prayer” is more-so focused on the religious hypocrisy and one-sided view of Christianity in the vast topic of war. The piece, written by Mark Twain, also attempts to point out the flaws in the population’s thought processes. He illustrates this by explaining how we don’t ever truly consider the innocents of an opposing nation prior to entering a large conflict. The story, “Editha”, however, focuses on how ignorance and patriotism blind a nation to the true meaning of war. Howells attempts, in his respective piece, to show how the love for one’s nation can make the unwilling die for the ones they love. The lesson taught throughout “The War Prayer” is very similar the first of the two main concepts in the Christian faith: the golden rule. Christianity, in theory, can be narrowed down to two main laws; treat thy neighbor as you would treat yourself (a.k.a. the golden rule), and to love no other God. The overall point of this piece is to bring the reader to a realization that one man’s wish for their own success (or in this case, a nation’s success) may also be seen as indirectly praying for another’s demise. Mark Twain describes this indirect prayer as an “unspoken prayer”; a prayer to which everyone in the church prays, though they are unaware of this second prayer. To concrete this concept, Twain writes that choices, wishes, and prayers, that we make should be carefully considered

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