Mark Twain’s “Political Economy”


In Mark Twain’s “Political Economy,” the main character is continuously interrupted by a lightning rod installer while he discusses the concept of political economy with the reader. The story is an illustration of real versus theoretical knowledge. The narrator attempts to write about political economy but is so involved with his thoughts that he does not notice when he gets duped into buying more lightning rods than anyone could ever need. The narrator in this case represents theoretical knowledge while the lightning rod salesman represents real-world knowledge. This position that real knowledge is more useful than theoretical knowledge has always been prevalent in America and is perhaps a way to rebel against the traditions of European society. Nevertheless, to me, it seems un-recommended since book knowledge, as opposed to experience learning, is easiest and fastest way to learn something.

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