The Mysterious Stranger

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The Mysterious Stranger
Written by: Mark Twain
Central Theme:
First published: 1916 (posthumous)
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In Medieval Europe, three boys meet a charming teenager who claims to be an angel; in fact, his name is Satan. Predictably, no good comes out of this.

Also known as No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger is one of Mark Twain's last works, which he was unable to finish before his death. It was written just after his wife and favorite daughter died and Twain entered financial trouble, so it was much more vicious and depressing than any of his other works. There are three different versions of the work in varying degrees of completion, but all involve the angel Satan using his powers to show how much of a Crapsack World we live in.

As an interesting side-note, it has long been suspected that this was one of the works that inspired Neon Genesis Evangelion, particularily the character of Kaworu. Sadamoto, writer of the NGE Manga, has practically admitted as such.

The full text can be found here.

Tropes used in The Mysterious Stranger include:

I can do no wrong, for I do not know what it is.

A God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell — mouths mercy, and invented hell — mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!

Becky Thatcher: Who are you?
Satan: An angel.
Huck Finn: What's your name?
Satan: Satan.
Huck Finn: Uh oh.
Satan: What's the matter?
Huck Finn: Nothing. Just that it's sure a sorry name for an angel.