English Short Story Essay

Submitted By LukeLittle77
Words: 979
Pages: 4

How instinctive are we?
Imagine you are a water buffalo. You are thirsty so instinctively you decide to go down to the watering hole for a drink. As you lean down towards that murky grey water it suddenly erupts and you feel 2000 pounds of pressure crush you. You start to be pulled under the water into a barrel roll and you realize as you are slowly dragged under the water there is nothing you can do. The crocodile didn’t have anything against you but it is a hunter. Instinctively it waits for you to drink and instinctively it attacks and drags you down. These are instincts formed from millions of years of evolution and humans share the very same instinctiveness. Human survive on it. In the short story “The Large Ant” by Howard Fast, Fast illustrates surviving on instinct when he shows that humans are naturally violent, that the government will do anything to survive and that Morgan kills without hesitation.
A large percent of people crave violence and that’s solely an instinctive trait. Howard Fast does an excellent job at illustrating this throughout the short story “The Large Ant.”. The story takes place in Cold War Era USA during a time of paranoia and trepidation. During this time there was a lot of violence as a result of the end of World War II. In this time the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an attempt to intimidate Japan to end the war. The atomic bombs were used as an instinctive fight or flight response in retaliation to Japan’s relentless attack. Fast touches on this in the story when Morgan says, “We could find a way to feed any number of people or even a way to avoid wiping each other with the bomb … but we have never been any good at changing ourselves or the way we behave.”(Fast, 150) Morgan is discussing the fact that people are very good at coming up with ways to kill each other, but not very good at preventing it because people are instinctively violent. Furthermore Fitzgerald says at one point, “The answer is very simple Mr. Morgan. You killed it because you are a human being.” Human beings are naturally violent and Fitzgerald would have been more surprised had he not killed the ant. As long as there have been conspiracies there have been conspiracy theories. In this modern age a prevalent subject to theorize about is government. Government is a system put in place to keep the peace however much of the time they will do anything to survive. Governments are still made up of people and therefore can be predicted to still act human. In “The Large Ant” Howard Fast illustrates how a government will do anything to survive by including the character Fitzgerald in the short story. By including Fitzgerald, a government agent of unknown origin, Fast is illustrating that the government is already paranoid about the creature in the story. Whoever had sent Fitzgerald is likely very nervous and prepared to do whatever it takes in the event that the creatures turn out to be a threat. They have already taken action by putting an agent into place before having any knowledge of whether or not the creature is a threat. “He just said ‘we,’ and it meant the government.”(153) Morgan was perceptive enough to notice this about Fitzgerald. By using “we” it proves that he is representing the government and that they sent him to the museum to oversee the discovery of the creatures. Had the government not been concerned about a potential threat Fitzgerald would not have been in the story. Instead he would have been replaced by another scientist or character who is simply interested in the discovery. Morgan admitted that he did need work on his short shots. The best way to improve something is