Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as a Dystopian Work Essay

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as a Dystopian Work Essay

Length: 1395 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as a Dystopian Work

   For years, Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" has been primarily viewed as a work of simple satire. Twain, desiring to poke fun at a group of America's cultural critics, chief among them Matthew Arnold, who claimed that cultural life in the U.S. treaded on shallow soil, takes aim at the venerated institutions of Britain. The author attempts to show that his country's lack of romanticized social structures, meaning an absence of royalty, the Catholic church, and long-dead knights and princesses, was far from a cultural weakness. Twain explodes the myth around idealized chivalric society and proves it to be no match for the Nineteenth Century man.


The book follows Twain's protagonist Hank Morgan, a pragmatist and the author's model of self-made, turn-of-the-century industrialist, through a time travel jump that lands him in Sixth Century England, specifically at the fabled Camelot. Here Hank, through ingenuity and entrepreneurial vigor, quickly ascends to the top of the socio-political structure of King Arthur's Court. What's more, Twain takes great pains in ridiculing both the role of the church in England and the ignoble position and lack of intelligence of the ruling royalty. He also pokes fun at the romanticizing of English culture during this period by illustrating the prostrate and dependent nature of the British aristocratic system -- a system void of democratic mechanism.


As a work of social satire, the beginning of the novel is fairly successful. At the outset of the work, Twain accomplishes what must have been his original task.


"The opening chapters, the direct attack, the...

... middle of paper ...

...mbolic of American innocence and the Morgan and his machines of destruction as symbols of capitalism and industrialization, the novel becomes not chaotic literary failure, but dystopian science fiction popularized in the Twentieth Century. Where Huxley and others predicted enslavement to technology, Twain asserts that innocence and naiveté have no place in and will be wiped out by modern society. His final analysis is that they cannot coexist.


Works Cited

Bellamy, Gladys Carmen. Mark Twain as a Literary Artist. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.

 DeVoto, Benard. Mark Twain's America. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1935.

Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. New York: P.F. Collier and Son Company, 1889. Wagenknecht, Edward. Mark Twain: The Man and His Work. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1935.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Legend Of King Arthur Pendragon

- What starts out as a story meant to intrigue its audience soon evolves into a true legend known throughout the world reaching almost every inch and crevasse in sight. The tale of King Arthur Pendragon is one that sees many forms, nevertheless still stays true to certain aspects of its origin. We seek to explain Arthur’s history in books, in voice and, in the contemporary world, through films. Although some tell a story, it is interesting to also learn the recorded history and parallels found throughout each that cause Arthur Pendragon and his Knights of the Round Table to be such unique aspects to look at....   [tags: King Arthur, Holy Grail, Lancelot]

Powerful Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Essay about The Legend Of King Arthur

- People all around the world have experienced a tumultuous period in their life. The legend of King Arthur helps people connect to something outside of themselves during these rough patches. The different stories of King Arthur are very relatable to people of different backgrounds and cultures. The legend of King Arthur has withstood the tests of time because of the connection it has to people of different backgrounds, cultures, and time periods. The history of the legend provides a detailed past to Britain, as well as the rest of the world and has captured the attention of readers for centuries....   [tags: King Arthur, Holy Grail, Le Morte d'Arthur]

Powerful Essays
1370 words (3.9 pages)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain Essay

- In Chapter 1 of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, the role of inequality is emphasized heavily. The quote on page 8, paragraph 2 shows this. The quote is “They and the women, as a rule, wore a coarse tow-linen robe that came well below the knee, and a rude sort of sandals, and many wore an iron collar. The small boys and girls were always naked; but nobody seemed to know it.” (Twain PG 8). The Yankee seems to be looking down on the people around him, thinking he is better than they are....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
691 words (2 pages)

Essay on The Legend of King Arthur

-      By the ninth century people all over were telling the fabulous tales and romances about Arthur and his kingdom. The common people heard them sung by bards, while in the court poets wrote different versions. In each retelling the speaker would select certain details for emphasis and introduce new elements, so that the story could be adapted to the particular time and audience. Although most historians believe that there actually did exist an Arthur, they differ on how major his role was on influencing society during his time....   [tags: History King Arthur Essays]

Powerful Essays
2265 words (6.5 pages)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court vs. Le Morte D'Arthur Essay

- Connecticut Yankee vs Le Morte DArthur King Arthur’s Britain, a vastly different Britain than we know today, is revealed through many timeless classics in literature. Two of these pieces of literature are Thomas Malory’s seriously toned Le Morte D’Arthur and Mark Twain’s satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. These works show distinctly different visions of the Arthurian legend. King Arthur’s Britain in Twains A Connecticut Yankee and Malory’s Morte D’Arthur may be compared through the unique portrayal of living conditions, chivalry, knightly adventures and the role of magic and mystery....   [tags: essays papers]

Powerful Essays
565 words (1.6 pages)

Knowledge and Technology in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Essay

- Knowledge and Technology in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is a complicated novel that fundamentally deals with the concept of the human experience. Hank Morgan is a nineteenth century mechanic who is transported back thirteen centuries to medieval Britain, during the time of King Arthur. After his initial shock, he becomes determined to “civilize” Camelot by introducing modern industrial technology. At an initial look Twain seems to be favoring the industrialized capitalist society that he lives in over the feudal society of medieval Britain....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Powerful Essays
1280 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Comparing King Arthur and With Honors

- Comparing King Arthur and With Honors Have you ever watched a movie or read a novel without a plot. Most likely your answer to this question would be no, because it would be dull. No one wants to hear a story with no intrigue or conflict. As you read a novel or watch a film, you want to connect with the characters and feel you can relate to the situations they’re dealing with. In every film and every story there’s a conflict the main character(s) is facing. The story of King Arthur, and the film With Honors appear at first to be on opposite sides of the entertainment spectrum....   [tags: Movies Film With Honors King Arthur Essays]

Free Essays
662 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory

- King Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory the feast of Pentacost all manner of men assayed to pull at the sword that wold assay, but none might prevail but Arthur, and he pulled it afore all the lords and commons that were there, wherefore all the commons cried at once, 'We will have Arthur unto our king; we will put him no more in delay, for we all see that it is God's will that he shall be our king, and who that holdeth against it, we will slay him'. And therewith they all kneeled at once, both rich and poor, and cried Arthur mercy because they had delayed him so long....   [tags: King Arthur Malory Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
1036 words (3 pages)

Essay on King Arthur

- King Arthur Character Analysis The character of King Arthur is unique in literature. Most characters are known through their actions and words as described by the author of a story. Arthur, however, is a conglomerate of characters described by many different authors over a fifteen hundred year span. There is no single depiction of him, and one cannot trace his origin to a single author for the "definitive" description. As such, the character of Arthur is different depending on the era, culture, and the particular writer who is relating his version of the Arthurian legend....   [tags: King Arthur Essays]

Powerful Essays
1424 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Importance of Honor in Sir Thomas Malory’s King Arthur and his Knights

- Importance of Honor in Sir Thomas Malory’s King Arthur and his Knights For centuries, the Arthurian legend has captivated an untold number of readers. What is it about Camelot that draws us into its complex code of chivalry and amusingly brute anecdotes. Human nature, as one can surmise from antiquated literature, has still not changed in the least—we still experience the boons and pitfalls of love, joy, envy, lust and sorrow. This certainly explains why the tantrums of Malory’s jealous Queen Guinevere strike chords of familiarity and even evoke an empathetic chuckle....   [tags: King Arthur Knights Essays]

Powerful Essays
1784 words (5.1 pages)