A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Literary Analysis Essay

Paper Type:  Literature review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1314 Words
Date:  2022-05-09
Categories: 

Introduction

Upon arriving in Camelot, Hank Morgan has an instant desire to make fundamental changes to the aristocratic kingdom. According to him, Camelot does not exemplify the qualities that he so admires in his American society. Despite the fact that he has good intentions for Camelot, Hank Morgan ends up destroying the once peaceful kingdom. While Hank Morgan sees America as ideal, Mark Twain does not share this same point of view. He intends to shoe how similar these two societies are in some respects. Although he does not hold the same views as Hank Morgan, he still believes that the American way is better than aristocracy.

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In this regard, Hank Morgan is meant to respect the prototypical American of the sixth century. He loves America and a majority of things about it. By fundamentally changing Camelot he hopes to make the lives of the people better. However, Morgan does not realize that his American society is not compatible with the aristocratic Camelot.

Mark Twain goes out of his way to demonstrate the idealized way that the medieval society is portrayed in classical literature. Twain portrays the medieval people as extraordinarily gullible and no more than the slaves that they were. In this regard, he describes the aristocracy as the stuck up and unaware of the trouble of the proletariat. Even the virtuous King Arthur is unaware of the plight of his people. He must be forced by Hank into a situation where he can interact with the less glorified elements of his kingdom. The description of slavery in work put across the point that it is possible to enslave people even without chains. More fundamentally, a majority of the Camelot citizens are slaves, despite the fact that this is not known to them. They are forced to toil on land that is owned by extremely rich lords just to get by. Mark Twain

This fear comes in two forms; fake magicians such as Merlin and the Catholic Church. This, in essence, prevents the peasants from standing up for themselves and allows the nobility to continue their reign unopposed. This fear eventually leads to the collapse of everything that Hank had built up over the years. The church completely controls the peasants. Once they decided that Hank was a threat to the established way of life, the people rallied behind them and revolted. By showing how easily religion can control people, Twain shows how it limits the American thinking. He thinks that if these forces control a society, then they will never be able to advance. Even though Hank Morgan built a strong structure for a far more advanced Camelot, these forces were able to tear it down quickly.

Mark Twain, therefore, shows that while there has been much progress since medieval times, there are still many similarities with the America of the 19th century. In particular, he still believes that overall it is () than an aristocracy where the people have no chance for betterment.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court has arguably been deemed ad Mark Twain's most "magnificent failure." Nonetheless, although the term failure is not taken literally, many critics of Twain's work have increasingly been troubled by the fact that the novel contains at least two major concerns which are in contradiction. More fundamentally, various polemic digressions on weighty concerns as social criticism on slavery on the absurdity of hereditary preferment, on the nobility and the injustices of the church, on the existence of unjust laws, and finally on the ridiculousness of knighthood. For instance, the very first contradiction occurs when Hank Morgan, who was a renowned representative of Nineteenth-Century Progress, is sent to the sixth century. Here, Morgan is supposed to make use of his Yankee ingenuity and inventiveness do away with the barbaric ignorance as well as the superstitions of that inhumane and unjust world. Particularly, he is tasked with the responsibility of enlightening and also improving the sixth-century residents through the use of his modern skills and the interventions and political views of his time. However, in the end, Morgan not only fails but he extensively destroys a beautiful civilization of Camelot that was characterized by idleness and peace, before his arrival. On the other hand, upon Morgan's return to his ideal life, in the nineteenth century, he raves and rants his deathbed wish. This, in essence, substantiates the second contradiction of the novel. Morgan wishes that he is allowed to go back to where he considers, a lost land, in Camelot, his home and to his friends. According to him, he wishes to be returned to "all that is dear, all that makes life worth living" (Twain). Therefore, drawing from this conceptual base, the core intent of this paper is to explore and discuss the lessons taught to us by Mark Twain's "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" regarding the fundamental character of a modern, democratic, commercial, political society typified by the United States.

To begin with, while Twain's reading is commonly perceived as an attack on monarchy as well as the Catholic Church, one of its main focus is the United States imperialism. Particularly, this is to be acknowledged as a discussion of colonialism, which is often perceived as an exaltation of "civilizing" efforts instead of the scalding indictment, with which it was primarily intended to be. More fundamentally, while Twain's critique of the Monarchy and the Catholic Church, throughout his book, supports the rationale of the supremacy of the two and the opening selection, it is evident that Twain's Yankee is primarily aimed at speaking out against a third power structure, imperialism, as depicted by Hank Morgan's technological and cultural infiltration of the sixth century, England.

Nonetheless, the majority of the scholars have contended that imperialism is not the primary concern in Twain's book owing to the fact that A Connecticut Yankee does not deal with the issue of national expansion. Instead, it is primarily centered on Morgan's personal power. Right before addressing the various aspects of this particular novel, the examination of the Hawaiian islands as well as Twain's interest and involvement in them, is imperative. According to history, it is believed that these islands were initially settled on between the 100 and 600 AD. Nonetheless, the native residents here had no particular contact with the Europeans up until the 1778 a time when Captain James Cook arrived on Kauai and gave the islands a name, particularly after the Earl of Sandwich.

Conclusion

With reference to the political ideologies substantiated in this novel, it is evident that the Yankee is not in any way, troubled by authoritarian power or position (Twain 68). In this regard, Hank Morgan's disdain for aristoritarian position is highly attributed to the fact that it is inherited and not earned. Therefore, according to Morgan, the society is deemed as "a competitive race in which the prize is holding power over the looser, being boss" (Twain 63). In this regard, he is tasked with the responsibility of enlightening and also improving the sixth-century residents through the use of his modern skills and the interventions and political views of his time. However, in the end, Morgan not only fails but he extensively destroys a beautiful civilization of Camelot that was characterized by idleness and peace, before his arrival. Essentially, this is exemplified through an earlier statement made by Morgan that, he had made up his mind to two things; if it was still in the nineteenth century and I was one of the lunatics who could not get away, I would presently boss that asylum or know the reason why.

Although it could be easier to refute the great urge and greed for power by Morgan, his actions, in more than one way, are to be viewed as the ideal representation of imperialism during this period. Therefore, according to him, he wishes to be returned to "all that is dear, all that makes life worth living.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: Literary Analysis Essay. (2022, May 09). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/a-connecticut-yankee-in-king-arthurs-court-literary-analysis-essay

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