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Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

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LESSON PLANS: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT

CHAPTER 39: “THE YANKEE’S FIGHT WITH THE KNIGHTS”

Summary

At last they return to Camelot. In the cozy comfort of his room, The Boss reads the newspaper and learns that Sagramour is ready for the long awaited duel to which The Boss was challenged long ago. The day of the duel arrives and Sir Sagramour enters the field dressed in knightly splendor riding a magnificent horse. In contrast, the Boss looks insignificant in his comfortable tights on a medium sized horse. Most of the knights are cheering for Sagramour, since The Boss has made his disapproval of knights very clear. Merlin is also on the knight’s side, trying to help him defeat The Boss for all the humilities he has suffered. The encounter begins with The Boss dodging the attack of Sir Sagramour cleverly. Sagramour is infuriated and comes charging towards him. This time the Boss lassoes Sagramour and drags him to the ground. Other knights who challenge The Boss meet the same fate. Finally, Sir Launcelot comes to the field. He, too, is defeated. When Morgan’s attention is diverted, Merlin steals his lasso. Sagramour gets the courage to challenge the Boss again. Morgan silences him forever with his hand made pistol. The knights charge The Boss, and he begins to fire. After some fall dead, the knights back off in amazement and fear.

Notes


Morgan escapes out of one danger to get into another. First he undergoes torture as a slave, and then becomes a prisoner sentenced to die. Just before his execution, he is saved. He returns back to Camelot in relief, then remembers the long-awaited duel with Sagramour. This scene is full of heroic comedy, in which The Boss wears practical dueling clothes and wields a pistol like a cowboy, defeating the overdressed and armor-wearing knights. The scene is a dramatic finale to most of the action of the plot, since it seems more like a battle royal than a simple duel.


CHAPTER 40: “THREE YEARS LATER”

Summary

Within three years, The Boss manages to transform England into an enlightened country with well-established schools and institutions. Several newspapers are in circulation and books are being published. All the equipment and gadgets necessary for comfortable living are easily available. Means of communication and transport are facilitated through telegraph, telephone, and railways. The knights are all productively employed. After succeeding in modernizing Camelot, The Boss plans to overthrow the Catholic Church and establish a Protestant one in its place. He also plans to introduce universal suffrage. In the midst of all this, Sandy and The Boss are married and have a child whom they name Hello-Central. While he is planning to revolutionize England, Hello-Central falls ill. The Boss revives her back to health with the help of a family physician who recommends that they take the child to a seaside resort for a change of air. Away from home, The Boss misses his work and life in Camelot.

Notes

The Boss has gained power and confidence after his many adventures in and around Camelot. As a result, he pursues his projects more openly. He employs the knights usefully in executing different tasks. He introduces electrical and steam gadgets. He initiates the introduction of railway lines and train services. He releases several newspapers and gets books published. Hence, he succeeds in educating young people and enlightening the lives of others with technological inventions. However, he is not entirely satisfied with the progress. He plans to further revolutionize England with democracy and universal suffrage, and obliterate the power of the Catholic Church. In the process, the Orthodox Church begins to feel threatened.

Twain further comments on his standards for literature and publishing in some of The Boss’s narrative. The Boss mentions the publication of various books, one of which is a book of jokes by Sir Dinaden. Since the jokes contained in the book were stale and indecent, The Boss confesses that he “suppressed the book and hanged the author.” Through this remark, Twain displays his intolerance for bad art and The Boss displays his autocratic tendencies. It is ironic that he talks about democracy but acts like a dictator.

The chapter also reveals the personal life of the Boss. In the period of three years, Morgan has married Sandy and fathered her child named Hello-Central. When Hello-Central becomes sick, The Boss takes time off from his developmental activities and attends to her like a doting father. This crisis initiates the final one in the novel.


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