The Nature of Humans: Violence
As humans it is in our nature to act instinctively when startled or frightened. Sometimes we may even lash out violently, but when we act violent towards situations that pose no threats can it be justified? In Howard Fast's The Large Ant, the protagonist, Morgan, kills an ant-like creature groundlessly. By Morgan killing the creature it sheds light on the fact that humans have a violent nature, and it is natural instinct for us to act out aggressively.
In the beginning of the short story Morgan goes on a fishing trip where he later encounters a creature that resembled an ant in his cabin. Immediately upon seeing it he kills it, his weapon of choice: a golf club. Morgan then says "What ever kind of man I am, I react as a man does. I think any man, black, white or yellow, in China, Africa or Russia, would have done the same thing." (Howard 2) Here Morgan is stating he did what any man would do. Morgan is assuming that any other human would kill the creature, almost as if it is instinctual to do so. After killing the insect Morgan meets up with the curator of insects from the Museum, Bertram Lieberman. Lieberman asks Morgan why he has killed the creature and Morgan responds with "' I don't understand you, I don't know what you're driving at'" (Howard 5) Here the Morgan seems oblivious to the fact that what he did was wrong, Morgan does not even know why he is being asked this question. A little further on Lieberman tell Morgan he knows why he killed the insect and Morgan clearly states that he himself does not know why he killed the insect "'Do you? You're clearer on the subject then I am.'"(Howard 5) If Morgan does not know why he murdered the creature then his instinct must have taken over when he was executing it. Morgan did not use his rational while killing the insect, his aggressive human nature took control and got the best of him . Once more Morgan states "' I saw it, and somehow I knew that I must kill it. I didn't think or decide. I just grabbed the iron and hit it." (Howard 6)
Many Other cases of this happened in the short story, Lieberman expressed to Morgan "'You killed it because you are a human being.'" (Howard 5) Lieberman knows this because he has encountered this situation many times before, in fact eight times the past week
"He opened the doors to one of the wall cupboards, and there stood eight jars of formaldehyde and in each jar a specimen like mine--and in each case mutilated by the violence of its death...Lieberman closed the cupboard doors. 'All in five days.'"(Howard 6)
In the past five days many other humans had encountered the same creature Morgan did, all of them reacted the same way, violently. Later in the text Lieberman explained to Morgan that the insect carries instruments with it, but Morgan insisted that the instruments must be weapons "'But they must be a weapon of some kind.'"(Howard 8) Lieberman replied "'Look at yourself, Mr. Morgan--a cultured and intelligent man, yet you cannot conceive of a mentality that does not include weapons as a prime necessity.'"(Howard 8) At this point Liberman points out the flaw that is stemmed from within Morgans Instinct, his violent nature. All humans have an instinct to act savagely and violently and it is shown distinctly in The Large Ant.
Ultimately it is in human nature to act out violent or aggressively. In the short story The Large Ant Morgan is a prime example of how savage and inhumane us as a species can act towards other species because of natural instinct.