A Connecticut Hankee In King Arthur's Court Analysis

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, written by Mark Twain, tells the tale of Henry “Hank” Morgan and his adventures in sixth century Arthurian England. Throughout his adventure, Twain’s derision for the Romantic literary style is illuminated through Hank’s no-nonsense assessment of situations and his critical opinion of the English nobility. The pitiful and unflattering reality of the Arthurian nobility and Mark Twain’s disdain for romantic literature are portrayed through Hank’s quest to rescue Sandy’s fellow ‘damsels’ in distress from the clutches of their ogre captors. Twain mocks the romantic writers by imitating their flowery, fanciful, and idealistic call to adventure. “Her mistress was a captive in a vast and gloomy castle,…show more content…
“‘The castle! the castle! Lo, where it looms!’ ‘Castle? It is nothing but a pigsty; a pigsty with a wattled fence around it.’ It would be wasted time to try to argue her out of her delusion, it couldn’t be done…” (Twain 341). This episode illustrates the reality of the English Nobility’s delusion and wanton behavior, contradicting the contemporary notion of grandeur, chivalry, and honor which was extensively written about by romantic authors (Class). Sandy’s perception of the pigsty as a castle alludes to the squalid state of the castles of the time and of the nobility living in them. “‘Are those three yonder that to my disordered eyes are starveling swineherds—’ ‘The ogres? Are they changed also? It is most wonderful. Now am I fearful…” (Twain 342). Ogre myths are rooted in the most savage aspects of pre-human life (Cirlot 243). Romantic authors wrote about the gallantry and chivalrousness of the nobility and the kindness and graciousness shown towards the common folk (Class). However, Twain exposes the Romantics’ naivety through Sandy’s child-like disillusion of the swineherds as ogres and their idiocy for writing tales themselves about knights and ogres as though they were fact. Through the adventures of Hank Morgan in sixth century England and by lambasting the nonsensical romantic writers, Mark Twain conveys the message to his readers to be critical of the world.
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