Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|
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LITERATURE NOTES: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT
King Arthur fulfills his royal duties by presiding as judge in criminal
cases and by evaluating the fitness of his subjects to serve in the army.
However, his judgment is biased in favor of clergy and nobility, regardless
of circumstances or ability. The Boss is particularly distressed with
the decisions about army service, since his trainees are very qualified,
but not noble, and since the King is blind to their ability in favor of
proper lineage. He makes a request the King to grant him permission to
form two separate regiments. One of them would be an independent body
comprised of nobility; the other will have able young men from different
sections of society. To Morgan’s relief, the King agrees. The Boss hopes
this is the first step toward abolition of Royal Grants (eligibility based
This chapter again shows how society favors the Church and Royalty in
the sixth century. In his capacity as the Chief Justice of the King’s
commission, Arthur deals with the case of a wealthy orphan girl exploited
by an authoritarian Bishop who confiscates her property by force. Instead
of supporting the wronged girl, the King rules in favor of the Bishop
since he belongs to the High Church. Similarly, during the Competitive
Examination, the King and the commission ignore candidates who are well
qualified and suitable to the armed forces and chose men who belong to
the nobility. The Boss, in his quest to improve civilization, hopes to
change these unwritten codes.
Hank Morgan decides to travel the country incognito. King Arthur expresses
a desire to accompany him. However, before venturing out of the Valley,
His Majesty feels responsible to perform his duty of healing the sick
with his touch. This business is monotonous and exhausting. Just when
the Boss feels restless, he gets hold of a copy of the first newspaper
to be published in Camelot. The Boss is delighted to read his handiwork
and commends the efforts of Clarence in producing it. The newspaper creates
curiosity in the minds of the illiterate monks and they call it another
miracle of the Boss.
By now the King has established a good rapport with Morgan, which is why he decides to accompany him on his tour. King Arthur trusts the judgment of the Boss and thus desires to share in his many presumably wonderful experiences.
The chapter again addresses some of the prevailing customs of the sixth century. One of them is the supposed “healing touch” of the King, whereby sick people are healed by simply touching royalty. Mostly, the king is the one to feel better, thinking he has altered the unhappy course of his citizens’ lives. It is a tiresome ordeal, ironically referred to as the “King’s evil business”. Mark Twain suggests the only truly evil business is the ordeal of having to sit through the ridiculous ritual.
Another faux miracle by The Boss is introduced. The newspaper that The Boss
has started is finally produced, to the amazement of the people. Most
of them are illiterate, but are amazed at this invention of writing news
down and sending it across the country. It is hailed as another major
miracle performed by The Boss.
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. 09 May 2017