Failing to Fail

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Mark Twain's "Luck" made me frustrated with the clergyman, who tried to help ease the pain of this man's failure. If you ease the pain of a failure, the man may be foolish enough to think he did well and try again or to not recognize his blunders. This is obvously what happened to this man. Because the clergyman looked out for him, stood by his side, and helped him along, this soldier never knew his faults.

After seeing the man pass through his test because of your help, stop helping. Unless you want to see this man be a success, you must stop helping. I do not feel pity for this clergyman whose hair is going white from the stress. He brought it on himself. And why didn't this man let go of his pupil and ally with a smarter student? Did he feel the need to be relied upon? To be a hero? Is he now too ashamed to move from his side? Lastly, why must you ruin the idea of this great soldier for another man? Does the clergyman want someone to share his guilt? Or is disgusted by this man's success/his failure to fail, so disgusted he needs others to know? Or can this clergyman not possibly stand the idea of his friend being disillusioned, yet feel quite fine about letting the public remain clueless.

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I think the fact that the reader does not know how he feels about the clergyman, and can devise so many different possibilities for the clergyman's reasoning in aiding the General, is what makes this a good short story. Twain allows the reader to complete the story with her imagination, kind of like those old Goosebumps books in which you chose what happened next. I like that in a short story.

Dianna Griffin said:

I agree, if you're stupid enough to help him in the first place, then don't complain when the idiot succeeds. Also, why tell someone that you have done this. Obviously he's not proud of it. I would just stay quiet and pretend like it never happened. However, I would remain guilty.

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