Pearl KatzDr. RosenbergEnglish 104 – Assignment 6December 23, 2018Final research Paper“Leiningen Versus the Ants is definitely Carl Stephenson’s work which made him famous. There are many commentators who have written about Stephenson’s way of portraying a real-life lesson in his writings. These commentators are correct in that it is a well-written short story which brings out an important message. The problem is though, that they have erred in stating the correct lesson which the author was trying to convey. Stephenson’s agenda though, was to show how one’s ego can take over a person and does now allow him to think rationally.In the short story, “Leiningen versus the Ants”, the farm owner, Leiningen receives news about the arrival of a tremendous group of ants. Though him, his men, and his plantation are in danger, he does not heed the advice given to him and does not escape. Instead, he remains on his land feeling that human advantage of intellect and reason can always override the power of ants, no matter how large of a group they are. Leiningen prepares his means of protection so that the ants do not reach him or his plantation. When the huge group breaks through one defense after another, Leiningen is surprised but continues to believe that he will emerge victorious. Ultimately, the farmer did manage to wipe out the ants and so he claims victory though he has lost his estate and suffers from great wounds which almost cost him his life.The way many commentators have analyzed this short story is that they have pointed to the theme that humans can use their power of perseverance to truly achieve a desired task. They also explain the importance of a person’s ability to think for themselves, be confident in their decision, and not to surrender. The following excerpt from the story describes this theme:“Leiningen grinned. “Act of God, my eye! Anyway, I’m not an old woman; I’m not going to run for it just because an elemental’s on the way. And don’t think I’m the kind of fathead who tries to fend off lightning with his fists either. I use my intelligence, old man. With me, the brain isn’t a second blind gut; I know what it’s there for. When I began this model farm and plantation three years ago, I took into account all that could conceivably happen to it. And now I’m ready for anything and everything–including your ants.” (1)This excerpt perfectly portrays Leiningen’s strong motivation to keep to his decision. The commentators show how his ability to use his mind and his power of reason enable him to ultimately emerge victoriously. They feel that Leiningen is an example for the readers of how a human can overcome obstacles by taking advantage of his valuable possession, the mind.Stephenson truly does portray a real-life lesson in his story. Most commentators though, seem to have made a mistake as to which theme is being portrayed. When analyzed properly, one can see how Stephenson is really trying to show his audience something other than the commentators say. The message he portrays is the way a person’s behavior is strongly affected by his arrogance. There are many times throughout the story, Leiningen is represented as being ridiculous in his behaviors. “Leiningen!” [the officer] shouted. “You’re insane! They’re not creatures you can fight, they’re an elemental, an ‘act of God!’ Ten miles long, two miles wide, ants, nothing but ants!… I tell you if you don’t clear out at once there’ll he nothing left of you, but a skeleton picked as clean as your own plantation.”(1) Leiningen’s arrogance is shown in the way he responds to the officer. He believes that he can win over anything, even an army of ants. There are a few times that Stephenson shows how ridiculously Leiningen thinks about the problem.“But since then he had planned measures of defense accordingly, and these, he was convinced? were in every way adequate to withstand the approaching peril.” (1)The question mark after the words “he was convinced” shows how Leiningen’s assumption was quite silly. Perhaps he should not have been so convinced that his defenses would protect him. Stephenson writes this way a bit later too:”If by some miracle the ants managed to cross the water and reached the plantation, this rampart of petrol, would be an absolutely impassable protection for the besieged and their dwellings and stock. Such, at least, was Leiningen’s opinion.” (3)As the story progresses and Leiningen begins to realize that he was mistaken, he still does not give in. He is too arrogant to admit that he made a mistake. The author writes:”However, he did not lose his nerve; no witches had prophesied his doom, and if they had he would have slept just as soundly. All the same, he was forced to admit to himself that the situation was far more ominous than that of the day before.” (7)At the end of the story, when Leiningen is covered in wounds and barely among the living, he is still satisfied knowing that he was victorious and destroyed the ants.”Leiningen lay on his bed, his body swathed from head to foot in bandages. . . “They’re gone,” said his nurse. “to hell.” . . . “I told you I’d come back,” he murmured, “even if I am a bit streamlined.” He grinned and shut his eyes. He slept” (15)Stephenson attempts to convey a message through the examples above. He tries to show the importance of realizing one’s limited power. As human beings, when challenges arise, it is important to sometimes avoid it instead of trying to fight it with arrogance. A person must realize that he is unlimited, and some things are too great to overcome.