“The Wild Beast” by Peter Mass

Table of Content

Introduction: Peter Maass is a writer for the New York Times Magazine and has reported from Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. He has written as well for The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Slate, and The New Yorker. Maass is the author of the short story “The Wild Beast” taken from the book “Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War”, in which chronicles the Bosnian War and won prizes from the Oversea Press Club and the Los Angeles Times. He currently resides in New York City. Thesis Statement:

Maass refers to the dark moments in humanity as “the wild beast,’ where inhumanity runs amok and all morality is lost. After reading this story it can be figured that Maass went as a reporter to the Balkans at the height of the salvage war there, but this story is not traditional war reportage. It can be seen that Maass’ brilliantly observed a moving memoir of the worst event of violence in Europe during the Bosnian War, since World War II. In his story of “The Wild Beast” he writes about what he saw during the two years of war in Bosnia for the Washington Post.

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Maass offers “one of the definitive accounts of Bosnia’s fin de siecle descent into madness” writing in the tradition of Ryszard Kapuscinski and Michael Herr’s Dispacthes (Random House). Mass captures the national, personal, and universal implications of a civil war. One can call Maass’s work angry, stinging, profanely eloquent and often painful, what “The Wild Beast” shows us a picture of ethnic cleansing and all of its cruelty. It’s absurd detail, it’s self-justification, it’s dehumanization of the other will take its place among the classics of an unfortunate genre: the portrayal of humankind at its worst (C.

Indigo) make it valuable as an account of the meaning of war and human sacrifice and which often superficially examined in other works such as “The Stanford Experiment. Maass was a correspondent for The Washington Post during the Bosnian conflict and felt the pain of the refugees. The author wanted to share his experience and his deepest thoughts on the senseless carnage that surrounded him and his growing disillusionment with all wars. Maass opens his account with a gripping description of weary, unwashed Croat and Muslim refugees from Bosnia, herded into a crowded sports hall in Split, Croatia.

After weeks of flight across the war-torn countryside, among them a woman with two frightened children who told him she had been walking by night from Foca to Split for some forty five days. Many of the victims were women, children, and nonbelligerent’s, yet no country made a serious effort to protect them despite substantial documentation of atrocities, including prison camp’s similar to those found in Nazi Germany. Maass’ account in “The Wild Beast” compares to that of “The Education of a Torturer”.

The Stanford Experiment; is an account of experiments that have similar results to that of the Milgrim’s Obedience experiments that were performed in 1963. Though both experiments and “The Wild Beast” vary drastically, all have the same unexpected outcome, is that everyday people, not psychopaths, who become the Eichmann’s of history. The Stanford Experiment was performed by psychologist Craig Haney, W. Curtis Banks, and Phillip Zimbardo. Their intent was to find out if given power to one ordinary, everyday person, would that person abuse their power. The results of the six day experiment where shocking.

The experiment took ordinary college students and had some agree to be prisoners’ and the others would be guards. Both the guards and prisoners’ were not sure how there were supposed to act as they had not received any training. The guards were given night sticks and had to wear uniforms and were expected to act like an ordinary guard would. They expected the prisoners to be treated the same way prisoners would normally be treated, like criminals. The prisoners’ were booked and then finger printed; they were made to put on their prisoner outfits and sent to their cells.

All of the college students in this experiment were assumed to be similar in behavior but just after a week, all of had changed. The prisoners became dependent, helpless, and passive. On the other hand, the guards acted exactly opposite. “They became abusive and aggressive at the simulated prison, bulling and insulting the prisoners’. “After the experiment was completed, most of the guards said that they enjoyed the power. Some of the others said that they had no idea of what they were capable. Everyone in the experiment was surprised at the results as well as saying, It was degrading.

The Stanford Prison Experiment took place in 1986, and even though many years had passed since Milgram’s experiment was conducted in 1963, like “The Wild Beast”, people even today still try to be on top of any situation. As students of history it is essential to recognize the true meaning of how this “wild beast” is unleashed, while giving one individual power, one will realize their true self within as all humankind. It can be avoided, only by truly recognizing this in ourselves. “The Wild Beast” account is deeply thought provoking, and the story offers much insight about how humans and their complexities of individual motivations.

After many interviews with various groups such as the Muslims, Croats, and Serbs, The story reflects on the significance of the refugee’s words and actions. “What emerges is a bleak outlook on human nature, as we see people at their worst. While there are certainly stories of courage, they are overshadowed by the wild beast within that has shown itself far too often in Bosnia” (Faculty Shack). Despite Maass’s mentioning of human nature and considering “The Stanford Prison Experiment” though, there are clearly evil and righteous people in this story, and we wonder about the author’s obvious bias.

Maass seems to condemn the Serbs for being what he writes as the aggressors and the perpetrators of unnecessary suffering and pain. One would wonder if Mr. Maass has considered finding any other perspective on the situation and if his representation was fair. “Perhaps we have been seduced by his eloquence and sincerity, or/and this is the scenario we should be inclined to accept his account is revealing the truth about the situation” (Faculty Shack). With considering “The Stanford Prison Experiment”, Maass shows no to little traditional theological sensibility, The author does explore the inner to moral dimensions of inter-human bonds.

Maass is fortunately not pleased with just “naming the obvious source of the Balkan bloodletting Serbian nationalism gone berserk as a result of threatening encounters with other nationalisms. He looks instead at the evil from a universal perspective” (Aril Books). Most of the readers one would assume, should be intrigued by how close the author actually comes to bring up theological questions without showing any necessary facts to push them to their logical conclusion. Works Cited http://www. randomhouse. com/acmart/catalog/display. pperl? isbn=9780679763895 “Random House, Inc.

Academic Resources | Love Thy Neighbor by Peter Maass “Book Review”. N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 Dec. 2009 . http://www. chapters. indigo. ca/books/Love-Thy-Neighbor-Story-War-Peter-Maass/9780679763895-item. html “chapters. indigo. ca: Love Thy Neighbor: A Story Of War: Peter Maass. N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 Dec. 2009 . http://www. facultyshack. com/index. php? option=com_content&view=article&id=69:learning-from-evil-and-love-thy-neighbor&catid=17:reviews-previews&Itemid=21 “Learning from Evil and Love Thy Neighbor. “N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 Dec. 2009 . http://www. aril. org/booksf97a. htm “Book Reviews II. ” N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 Dec. 2009 .

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“The Wild Beast” by Peter Mass. (2018, Apr 09). Retrieved from


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