Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|
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PLOT SUMMARY: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT
Mark Twain also provides a contrast between the age of Romance and the
Age of Reason in this chapter. In the medieval romantic age people believed
in the existence of ogres and supernatural elements. These simple people
are illiterate so verbal stories of adventure excite them without eliciting
skepticism or doubt. However, the Boss is skeptical. He questions the
young girl and when she does not know the answers to his questions or
even directions to the place of this abduction and imprisonment, he becomes
They cross the city and ride through the countryside. The Boss is in
armor, and becomes very hot and irritable. His movements are restricted,
and he is unable to take out his handkerchief to wipe his sweat. He feels
miserable and finally asks the young girl, whom he calls Sandy, to pour
water inside his armor. She does so, and they proceed
In medieval legends and stories of adventure like Cervantes’ Don Quixote the knight in shining armor is projected as a chivalrous man, prepared to undertake the perils of life in order to rescue fair maidens. In this novel, Twain satirizes those conventional heroes by presenting his protagonist in a contrary manner. Morgan does not relish the idea of undertaking a futile search and accompanying a young lady. Instead of being chivalrous, he talks to Sandy curtly and drills her with questions. When she is unable to give proper answers, he calls her “innocent and idiotic.” During the journey, he ignores her till he needs her help. He is angry that her presence intrudes upon his thoughts. As well, he is far from a heroic knight. He is miserable and hot, sweating profusely inside his armor.
Mark Twain’s descriptive ability comes to the fore as he describes the countryside
and the reaction of the protagonist to the change of climate. About the
scenery, Twain writes, “It was most lovely and pleasant in those sylvan
solitudes in the early, cool morning in the first freshness of autumn.”
However, later in the day it begins to get hot and the Boss starts feeling
uncomfortable. In the words of Morgan, “The first ten or fifteen times
I wanted my handkerchief --- it was nag, nag, nag, right along, and no
rest; I couldn’t get it out of my mind; and so at last I lost my temper.
--- You see I had my handkerchief in my helmet; and some other things,
but it was that kind of a helmet that you can’t take off by yourself...and
it was bitter and aggravating to have the salt sweat keep trickling down
into my eyes.” The pathetic picture of the hero in his heavy costumes,
struggling to remove his helmet and wiping his sweat is a far cry from
the portrait of the dashing knights of the medieval legends.
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. 09 May 2017