This sample academic paper compares Mark Twain’s essay “On the Decay of Lying” and Stephanie Ericsson essay “Comparison between the Ways We Lie”. It should be highlighted that “On the Decay of Lying” is a satiric prose that discusses how the world has lost some aspects of the art of lying. Mark Twain uses satire to expose a common social practice that he finds quite objectionable. “The Decay of the Art of Lying” is an essay about the social norms of Mark Twain’s time period. It can hold true and have big meaning for people in modern times. Mark Twain challenges people to take a look at their actions and analyze how their actions can have a negative or positive effect on someone else’s life. Twain approaches his subject with his humor that entertains, as well as well as criticizes (Moore, 3-5). It should be mentioned that Stephanie Ericsson’s “Comparison between the Ways We Lie” was written in another, more scientific, style. The author tells about the many ways people lie and explains the reasons for doing so. In her essay she talks about ten specific ways of lying that she believes are prevalent in today’s society. Mark Twain’s essay “On the Decay of Lying” and Stephanie Ericsson essay “Comparison between the Ways We Lie” may differ in the aspect of style and thoughts supply, but they have a big common point of contact that can be shown in the thesis that lying will always be lying, despite of the methods and aims of lie.
The main difference of two essays is the literal approach, which is used by authors in order to show the consequences and the reasons of lie. A specific example of satire is used when Twain writes, “Lying is universal—we all do it. Therefore, the wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully… to lie with a good object… to lie healingly”. In this case he hides the truth behind the façade of the satire. According to Stephanie Ericsson he makes a one more lie for readers, while she tries to be truthful as much as she can, giving examples of different types of liars. She may criticize Mark Twain in absentia, “But facades can be destructive because they are used to seduce others into an illusion”. In that case Mark Twain’s essay can be even dangerous for ingenuous people, who can understand everything literally. In the essay of Stephanie Ericsson the main thesis is revealed with humor, but without the façade of satire, that is why it is more scientific, and more truthful in conformity with author’s opinion.
Both Mark Twain and Stephanie Ericsson believe that a lying in any case is still considered lying, and that everyone is in fact a liar to some extent. Mark Twain argues, “Yes, all—we are all liars. There are no exceptions” and Stephanie Ericsson echoes him “We lie. We all do.” Both authors try to find the ways when the lie is the necessity and when it brings evil. This search is an intellectual kernel of both essays.
Mark Twain and Stephanie Ericsson hold similar beliefs about one of the most important theses of both essays, which consists that small lie can lead people to the lake of fire. Mark Twain’s opinion that, “The highest perfection of politeness is only a beautiful edifice, built, from the base to the dome, of graceful and gilded forms of charitable and unselfish lying” is supported by the whole text of the “Comparison between the Ways We Lie” of Stephanie Ericsson. She argues, “When someone lies, someone loses” and these losses can be very serious, especially with the example of hidden story from Genesis about Lilith.
Concluding everything above, it should be mentioned that both Mark Twain in his essay “On the Decay of Lying” and Stephanie Ericsson in her essay “Comparison between the Ways We Lie” share the common belief that it is impossible not to lie, but it is extremely important to be truthful with own mind about the reasons and possible consequences of lying.
Ericsson, Stephanie. “The Ways we Lie”. Grossmont College. Feb. 2014. Web. 08 March, 2014.
Moore, Mollie. “Mark Twain’s Art of Grotesque Exaggeration”. Aug. 2010. Web. 08 March, 2014.
Twain, Mark. “On The Decay of the Art of Lying”. Project Gutenberg. Jan. 2014. Web. 08 March, 2014.