A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Pocket Classic)

ISBN: 0883017261
ISBN 13: 9780883017265
By: Mark Twain

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About this book

Hank Morgan, a 19th century Hartfordian, awakens to find himself inexplicably transported to Arthurian England in 528. The story begins in a 1st person narrative in Warwick Castle, where a man details his recollection of a tale told him by a stranger who's personified as a Knight thru his language & familiarity with armor. After a brief tale of Launcelot slaying two giants in 3rd-person narrative, Hank Morgan enters &, given whiskey, is persuaded to tell his story. Described thru 1st-person narrative as a man familiar with firearms & machinery, he'd become a superintendent in firearms manufacture. He describes the beginning of his tale by illustrating details of a disagreement with subordinates, where he sustained a head injury caused by a man named Hercules. Passing out, he describes waking up beneath an oak in rural Camelot where a Knight catches him trespassing, & after establishing rapport, leads him to the castle. Hank is ridiculed for his appearance & sentenced to burn at the stake. Luckily, this coincides with the 528 solar eclipse, which he'd learned about in his own time. Recalling this, he convinces everyone of his power by making it seem he causes the eclipse at the moment he's to be burned. He's liberated, given the position of principal royal minister & treated with awe. Celebrity brings him a title: "The Boss." Hank learns about medieval practices & superstitions. He outdoes fake sorcerers & miracle-working clergy. Merlin becomes jealous. Despite being a court officer, Hank's willing to go among the people to promote new economic policies as well as democratic & modern principles. Arthur chooses to join him on an excursion during which he exposes himself to smallpox in order to help a peasant. Despite this noble act, he's unwilling to abandon medieval ways. He eventually causes the arrest of the incognito Hank & himself by being unable to act like a commoner. Hank & a group of bicycle-riding knights rescue them. Hank industrializes the country behind the back of the ruling class. He creates schools which teach modern ideas & English, removing new generations from medieval concepts. He constructs factories producing modern tools & weapons. He marries. They have a daughter. While vacationing with them in France, he learns Arthur has died fighting his nephew Mordred. Hank establishes a republic, declares himself ruler & the people revolt. Merlin finally uses a spell to put him asleep to return to his own time.

Reader's Thoughts

Casey

I head seen and heard little tidbits about 'Connecticut Yankee...' over the past several years. It is one of Twain's most well known novels, after Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn, but I've mostly caught references to the story in parodies featuring Bugs Bunny or Martin Lawrence. That is to say that the time travel to the Middle Ages gag has been overutilized of late. However, the book is a commentary on the ways of modern life, as much as it is a damning critique of powerlessness of 6th Century peasants.I won't spoil the sumptuous morsels in the book, but the protagonist Hank Morgan finds himself in the time of King Arthur Pendragon. After being hustled into prison for insulting the honor of a member of the Knight-Errantry, Hank cleverly saves himself from his own execution by using a combination of clever science and good timing. Because of the perception of his powers, he gets himself established as King Arthur's closest minister and magician, displacing the scheming, foul-tempered Merlin. Instead of taking the name of Dukeship, he settles for the title of 'The Boss.'Far from wanting to apply the fear and power that his station allows him, he sets about modernizing the 6th Century, with all the wonders of the 19th Century, in an attempt to liberate the abused and dispossessed peasant masses. His inventions range from the hysterical and quirky, to clever and impressive. Electricity, firearms, locomotives, and advertising all come about through Morgan's hand.But, as the book progresses, and he tries to teach King Arthur to amend the intransigence of his noble breeding to empathize with the plight of the poor English peasants, he directly challenges the authority of the Knight-Errantry, and stirs up a disastrous conflict with a desperate enemy.In many ways, the novel works to dispel the notion that technology and education (and all the good things that come along with both of those) can reverse the damage of Centuries of indoctrination and institutional rule. Twain is at his most fatalistic here when he builds our hopes and expectations to believe that through determination and good will, one man can really confront and defeat the injustice of a nation, only to dash them. He seems clear (and the introduciton to my volumes hits on this) that Mark Twain is making a cogent point about the trappings of the Industrial Age of the 19th Century, and predicting the rise and fall of the Labor Class in America.Twain's brilliance comes through in the excitement and wonderment he builds when presenting the view of the "modern man" in a position to reshape our dismal and banal shared past. Even after 100 years, the novel retains relevance and Twain's laugh-out-loud wit, leaving me wondering what I hadn't read this book before.

Andrew

Mark Twain is my favorite American author, easily. The wit and sarcasm he uses is right up my alley, and his tales are easy to digest. A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is so good. I'd put it right up there with Huckleberry Finn, maybe even higher, since it doesn't slow down like Huck Finn. The conceit is that a 19th-century Connecticut factory manager bumps his head and winds up in King Arthur's time. The Boss, as he comes to be called, hates monarchy and the authoritarian barbarism he encounters, the sheer ignorance, and the unwillingness (or inability) of the people to change their backward ways. He despises chivalry and the stupidity of this world he inhabits, so he undertakes to take over early Britain using science and the people's own superstition. If you haven't read the book stop reading now. SPOILER ALERT!What's so beautiful about this book is that it obviously undercuts the Arthurian customs, but if you read closely, also takes it's whacks at 19th-century capitalist imperialists. Henry constantly refers to the people as animals or Indians, and his attempts to "civilize" these people all eventually fail. He criticizes the royalty for their wanton cruelty and violence, then proceeds to slaughter the whole of the royal class. He speaks of the poor indoctrination of these people, starts his own plan of indoctrination, yet can't escape the fact that his own indoctrination fails all but a few. He criticizes the state Church, then says that in his perfect state a man can be "any kind of Christian he wants to be." Mark Twain was too cynical to have done this unintentionally, although I admit that this is a reading that is outside the context of the time during which it was written. Twain's Uber-mensch becomes as much of an animalistic, cold-blooded killer as the very people he criticizes. The social commentary here is clear to me, that the machine of modern imperialism is just as brutal, maybe moreso for its efficiency, as the ancient ways from which we claim to be so far removed.

Stela

I have to say I browsed the final chapters - even if I understand the message, the book seemed to me longish and somehow boring, too long for a parody, anyway, and too many themes not so developed at all - politics, society, even linguistics and I didn't like the choice of the historical period, why King Arthur, anyway? Maybe because his figure is half historical half mythological and therefore you can put him in (almost) any historical context you want, but he is also a symbol and I wish he remained like thatMaybe I'll re-read it sometime in the future but I'm not so sure.

Dean

Mark Twain at his cynical amusing best. A nineteen century guy get knocked on the head and is transported back to medieval England. The story is basically how he exploits the local population using his knowledge of future technology, tries to establish democracy over feudalism, pokes fun at religion and modernization in general. The most amusing thing is how Twain is describing nineteenth century technology as superior to fifth century technology, which it is, but from a twentieth century perspective, it’s all so primitive.

Kara

Most people think they know this story - but they don't - they just know the fish-out-of-water story that is just the surface of this book; this is really a story of about the biggest problems Mark Twain observed in his time period, including slavery, abuses of political power, unchecked factory growth, child labor, and frightening new war technology. The final battle scene eerily predicts World War One. While the book has many funny moments, it's really a somber, reflective, sad story.

Frederick

Calling a novel so consistent in its clarity uneven may seem paradoxical, but Mark Twain was nothing if not paradoxical. Its flaws are of the sort which only an author of fully established reputation would have given it. In 1889, when this was published, HUCKLEBERRY FINN had been out for four years. He was fifty-four years old, and he'd live another twenty-one years. He was, therefore, in the early part of the last third or so of his life. With nothing to prove to anyone but himself, he wrote a book which was part parody, part adventure, and which also had, for every moment of unvarnished realism, a moment of mawkishness to match.He very pointedly compares the slavery of the Dark Ages to the slave system which he saw in his lifetime. The Civil War was not yet twenty-five years in the past when he wrote A CONNECTICUT YANKEE and when he talks about the brutality of slavery, as witnessed by his time-traveling narrator (who, of course, goes back to the time of King Arthur from the present day -- the present being about the time Mark Twain wrote his book) Twain not only is writing from memory, he even states, in the body of the text, that the old European slave system was just like that of the American South. Twain grew up in Missouri and did, indeed, see slavery up close. There are several scenes in CONNECTICUT YANKEE where the conditions of slaves and of prisoners are described in excruciating, unblinking detail. But Twain also, at other times in the book, makes a mistake he never makes in HUCKLEBERRY FINN: He has people who live all their lives in abject poverty speak like after-dinner speakers.At this point in his life, Mark Twain was, perhaps, the most successful after-dinner speaker in human history. He had already made and lost a fortune or two and had to travel the globe telling humorous (and deeply sentimental) stories to various organizations, professional gatherings, town functions, etc. He was prey to his own glibness. Somebody, somehwere, referred to "Mark Twain's Wound", and CONNECTICUT YANKEE shows it in high relief. He was the most comprehensively skilled writer this country has ever produced, but the world saw him as a court jester (and I emphasize the word "court" in the case of A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT), and when he needed money (it being that he was the kind of millionaire who lost in investments and needed a million or two to get out of a hole or two) he had to, and could, and did, turn on the comedic juice. But he was, at the same time, as deep as Beethoven, and when he writes a few pages in the mode of an observer of the human condition, it becomes disheartening when he turns back to mimicking Mallory. Nevertheless, he mimics him well. But when he then becomes as treacly as, say, a newspaper editorialist, he undercuts his essential message, which is that man never changes.Of course this novel is worth reading. But it is the work of a genius who really does not have a sounding board. In conclusion I'll use something H. L. Mencken said about Henry James and spin it. He said that what James needed was a whiff of the Chicago Stockyards. Well, what Mark Twain could have benefited from was a bit more of Henry James's artistic seamlessness. The man who could steer a paddle steamship through the narrowest slice of the Mississippi river couldn't quite see this book through to its own conclusions.

John

My initial attempt to read this book as a kid turned me off to Mark Twain for the next twenty years or so. Revisiting it now, I can certainly see why. Despite the fact that Disney keeps on adapting it into tepid kiddie fare (UNIDENTIFIED FLYING ODDBALL, A KID IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT, A KNIGHT IN CAMELOT, BLACK KNIGHT), the actual book is anything but. A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT may start out seeming like MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, but Twain quickly veers into much darker, more serious territory--and even ends the story with a massacre that makes the opening scenes of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN look tame in comparison.One problem I have with A CONNECTICUT YANKEE is the time travel element. Or, rather, lack thereof. Twain doesn't even try to explain it. Our hero simply gets whapped over the head with a crowbar and, voila!, awakens in the Middle Ages. Even Disney came up with something more clever than that...The biggest problem with A CONNECTICUT YANKEE is its wild inconsistency at every turn. At first, the book seems to celebrate America as being symbolic of the pinnacles of modern progress, especially in terms of science and reason. Then, when themes of slavery and oppression are introduced, it feels as though Twain is questioning just how far we've really come, and whether humans are even capable of forging their own destinies in the first place. Or is a person's morality merely the by-product of his upbringing? Eventually, the book seems to critique American arrogance and imperialism, as the hero uses reason and scientific knowledge to perpetuate mass violence in order to achieve his well-intentioned social revolution. One thing is for certain: Twain really, really hated slavery.Unfortunately, despite Twain's legendary status as a humorist, A CONNECTICUT YANKEE is very dry reading. Even at its best, the humor is only mildly amusing, never funny. Mostly, the book serves as a platform by which Twain can air his general disgust for the entire human race. The whole novel is too silly to take seriously, and too serious to accept as comedy. It's harder to classify than a duck-billed platypus. Is it a good novel? Yes. Is it a great work of classic literature? Er...not really.

Book Concierge

Audio book performed by William DefrisHank Morgan is an engineer and machinist in 1879 Connecticut. After a blow to the head that knocks him unconscious, he awakens beneath a tree and discovers he has been transported back some thirteen centuries to King Arthur’s England, A.D. 528. This is the story of his adventures and misadventures in that bygone era.Satire is not my favorite genre, but I enjoyed parts of this satire immensely. Twain gave us images that made me laugh aloud – e.g. the knights in armor playing baseball or riding bicycles. There were also images that depicted the hard life of that time and place – e.g. the condition of prisoners, the ignorance and poverty of the peasants. Some images were particularly distressing (war and slavery). Twain also included scenes of great tenderness and compassion – e.g. the smallpox hut, or family life. Twain has our hero using his intelligence and expertise to amaze and convince the populace (including King Arthur and the knights of the round table) of his powers and superiority. But as he continues to make “improvements” (mostly for his benefit), he slowly but surely destroys the civilization he found. Imagine introducing telephones, electricity, Gatling guns, soap, and then the concept of a democratic republic into the 6th century. No wonder they thought him a powerful magician/wizard. I wondered for a while what exactly Twain’s purpose was, but as I read further it seems clear to me that he was commenting on the current political and social situations of late 19th century America. He has Hank campaign against poverty, the prevailing class system and slavery. And campaign for better wages, improved supply and demand, and literacy for a broader populace. I was somewhat disappointed in the ending. It seemed abrupt, as if Twain had run out of ideas. Still, I can clearly see how this has stood the test of time.William Defris does a fine job of the audio book. I loved his voices for Hank, Clarence and Sandy.

Benjamin

I don't know if anything will ever beat--for emotional intensity and moral education--Huck Finn's "All right, then, I'll go to Hell" (when he recognizes that Jim is as human as he is, and that he can either ignore that fact and get along in life, or be ejected from the world and hold on to that truth). Connecticut Yankee has no such moral clarity, which is both its promise and its curse.The moral obscurity of Connecticut Yankee comes out to trouble the reader anytime the reader begins to get comfortable with the frame here. I mean, a satirical critique is only understandable from a particular frame; that is, while critiquing some topic (say, Catholic superstition), Twain is privileging some other approach to the world (say, scientific progress), either implicitly or explicitly.But Twain's satire here shifts over the course of the novel, until the reader may not have any dry place to stand in this sea of bitterness: when the novel starts, Hank Morgan may seem crafty and capable, a perfect trickster hero--Bugs Bunny, but with expertise in mechanics instead of cross-dressing. (It occurs to me now that there has to be a Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court version, and lo and behold.) And Morgan takes some hearteningly democratic and modern standpoints throughout the novel: he's for the small people; he recognizes the social pressures that substitute meaningless signs for actual economic progress (his chapter "6th Century Political Economy" might as well be called "What's the Matter with Camelot?" after Thomas Frank's book on Kansas); he seems capable of inventing all sorts of labor-saving devices; and he keeps a certain cool detachment that often prevents him from taking himself too seriously.And, then, in the blink of an eye, he can kill a knight for telling a bad joke, organize the pulverization of the countryside, and talk about how he's spreading American-style democracy whether the people want it or no (and, well, you can't make an omelet without a few casualties). If you could read this book in 2000 and miss the satire on Morgan's rah-rah imperialism, it's harder to ignore post-"Operation Iraqi Freedom." (There's actually an entire article I read that makes the Morgan-Bush connection; it's slightly harder to imagine an article making the Bugs Bunny-Bush connection, if only because Bugs's wars are all defensive in fact.) While we might be horrified by the unchecked power wielded by Morgan le Fay, we also recognize King Arthur's heroism; as much as we recognize our historical gains in this novel (we have bicycles and voting!), we also recognize our historical losses by the end.(One of my favorite ways that this uncertain position--both of gain and loss simultaneously--comes out in this novel is the use of language: Twain not only gives us this eerily pitch-perfect Arthurianisms, and the super-slangy Yankeeisms of Morgan, but he shows what happens when they collide; our first clue that Alisande might be more than just a damsel in distress is probably when she appreciates Morgan's idiom "hang out": Then she said musingly, and softly, turning the words daintily over her tongue: "Hang they out -- hang they out -- where hang -- where do they hang out; eh, right so; where do they hang out. Of a truth the phrase hath a fair and winsome grace, and is prettily worded withal. I will repeat it anon and anon in mine idlesse, whereby I may peradventure learn it. Where do they hang out. Even so! already it falleth trippingly from my tongue...")Lastly, as has been noted, some of this moral uncertainty has a lot to do with Twain's biography; for one thing, during the writing of this novel, he sunk a lot of money into the Paige Compositor, a type-setting machine that failed to work. So much for technology!Note: One thing to note is that the moral uncertainty that troubles the reader of the text finds no purchase in Dan Beard's illustrations, which are very clear about their populist politics.

Kathleen

This book is--being written by Mark Twain--a brilliant lampoon of both the dark ages and 19th century culture. Obviously, reason and science come out ahead of the backward people who can't inspect a well to see if it has a leak even though they're living a thousand years after the Greeks. Still, no one makes it through this book looking like anything but a blood-thirsty, power hungry animal. The Boss travels mysteriously back in time to set up flat taxes, polluting factories, and standing national armies in the time of King Arthur. Lessons to be learned by all, which is great, except that you have to read a whole book without a single likable character. Clarence almost made the cut with his suggestions of replacing the royal family with a family of cats that would serve the exact same function, until the reader realizes that he also keeps any offer of mercy being made during the war.Overall, this book was intelligent without being very entertaining, which is a shame, because it is one of the greatest ideas ever written.

Suzanne Vrieze

My favorite passage of the book:I urged that kings were dangerous. He said, then have cats. He was sure that a royal family of cats would answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never know it, they would be wholly inexpensive, finally, they would have as sound a divine right as any other royal house. ... The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it.

Ruth Hinckley

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a train wreck of a novel that, if written today, would never have seen print. While notable for its innovation during its time and its hundred thousand imitators, the narrative is rambling, one-sided and frustrating.The book begins well enough, with a nineteenth century factory boss being transported into the past, where his knowledge of obscure trivia and "modern" science saves his life and earns him a position as a wizard. King Arthur and his court are described as "innocent savages", which the main character (whose name is mentioned not more than twice in the book) starts out trying to civilize. The nobility, of course, are resistant to these changes, and so our protagonist sets about to undermine and unseat them.From here it rumbles along with little in the way of character development, and 19th century technology developed whole cloth by a secret society of educated peasants. The narrative is interspersed with lengthy excerpts out of even more antiquated volumes - whose point or purpose is largely left unexplained - and lengthy jaunts into the countryside where every character who shows a bit of spirit is recruited into the secret technology schools, all under the nose of the oblivious king.There is very little which actually poses a challenge to our hero, which makes the reader yearn for something to backfire on him. Eventually it does - through no fault of his own, of course - but the lessons he and Arthur learn in this episode are squandered as the ending is rushed to a conclusion, with the downfall of our hero orchestrated by the previously impotent but much-maligned Established Church.At the end, there are questions left unanswered and foreshadowed promises left unfulfilled, with logical jumps and temporal leaps which confuse and frustrate. It almost seems to change voice in the middle, and more than once. Even as a satire it fails to satisfy, and a comedy it is most certainly not. To anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with the story, I recommend choosing one of its many imitators and enjoying yourself for an hour or a day with it. Your time will be better spent.

Rebecca

Samuel Longhorne Clemens may have chosen a more succinct name but it didn't make him any less verbose!At times, this book was brilliant, but surely it could have been condensed by half (of course it could, and don't call me Shirley!). I nearly gave it up half way through. Though I'm glad I continued (and didn't miss out on Merlin's weather predictions mishaps or The Knights of the Round Table baseball team), I don't think I could recommend this book to just anyone, but this poorly acted condensed Lego version will suffice for those with enough interest but lacking in patience. (If you can sit through the clip, you might be able to endure the book.)One quote that will stay with me:"People talk about beautiful friendships between two persons of the same sex. What is the best of that sort, as compared with the friendship of man and wife, where the best impulses and highest ideals of both are the same. There is no place for comparison between the two friendships; the one is earthly, the other divine."

Georgiana 1792

L'americano delle barzelletteDelusissima da questo Twain pedante e saccente, che pretende di arrivare nel VI secolo e di fare tutto a modo suo, non solo, ma di piegare tutti al suo modo di vedere le cose... come se non dovessero passare 12 secoli di civilizzazione! Ma non si rende conto che è lui che deve adeguarsi (e cercare di non farsi scoprire) allo stile di vita dell'epoca? Io francamente, sarà che sono Italiana, ma credo che ad essere trasportati in un secolo remoto si sarebbe molto più vicini a Troisi e Benigni in Non ci resta che piangere, per quanto istruiti si possa essere. Mancherebbero le tecnologie e, per qunto si possa essere dei Superman, non si potrebbe innovare tutto come invece fa il nostro Capo... Addirittura, pur non essendo un astronomo, conosce le date delle eclissi totali di Sole spaccando il secondo! (Mi sono riproposta di chiederlo a una mia amica Astronoma! Vorrei proprio sapere se lei le conosce... ma i Calendari all'epoca funzionavano come da noi? Sì, sì!...)E fra parentesi anche storicamente sta messo maluccio... la ricostruzione riguardo a vestiti, armi e anche all'istituzione della Chiesa (che è uno dei principali bersagli dello scrittore) è piuttosto approssimativa. Se fosse stato scritto ai giorni nostri, un qualunque editor di basso calibro gli avrebbe confutato ogni paragrafo! Ma naturalmente lo scopo di Twain è quello di paragonare la Grande Democrazia Americana, che da poco si era liberata dai colonizzatori inglesi, con una prima forma democratica proprio dell'odiata Madrepatria: la Tavola Rotonda di Re Artù. Vuole dimostrare che essa è solo un mito e ne fa vedere tutti i lati negativi... Come se all'epoca non fosse già un grande passo in avanti!Poi lui è il più intelligente, il più istruito, il più dritto, il più bravo... (Ti piace vincere facile, eh?!)Insomma, L'Americano delle barzellette!!!

Megan

This is a paper I wrote for a class on this novel. As John Dalberg-Acton, an English historian, politician, and writer, once said “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This theme is illustrated by the character of Hank Morgan in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. Hank believes that he is the saving grace for the people of Camelot using capitalism as his means to set them free. However, can someone force freedom and a new ideology onto people, and was Hank really just trying to better himself and enhance his power? Following the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely, Twain shows through his satirical wit that a bloodless revolution is not possible through any change in ideology, especially when the change is to capitalism, which is seen as just another form of corruption and slavery. On his arrival to Camelot, Hank refers to the people as animals, such as calling them sheep or rabbits. “They were the quaintest and simplest and trustingest race; why, they were nothing but rabbits” (78). In this way he refers to them as weak minded, only capable of reproducing and becoming a bigger mass of uneducated people that, like sheep, need a leader. Hank is the leader he thinks they need. His ultimate goal is to lead the people in a bloodless revolution, which he intends to orchestrate through a capitalist society. After he gains the title of Sir Boss, his first official acts were starting a patent office and then factories. These factories included the Man factories, “a Factory where I’m going to turn groping and grubbing automata into men” (173)*. On the outside these could be seen as a form of people’s empowerment where Hank is educating the masses, turning them into men and leading them towards the light of the 19th century. However, the reality is just Hank showing off his power and knowledge, believing that he is much smarter than the people of Camelot and therefore can rule them easily. Even though Hank does have good intentions of leading the people through a revolution and educating them, it has always been said “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What these factories are really achieving is giving Hank more power. The factories are used to create technology that only Hank knows how to use and what they are used for. Capitalizing on their superstitions, Hank uses these technologies to sway people to follow him. Using dynamite and fireworks, he undermines Merlin and gains power by proving, through the technology, that he is a greater magician. He also builds a gun and kills countless knights to further prove that he is stronger and more powerful.“When you are going to do a miracle for an ignorant race, you want to get in every detail that will count; you want to make all the properties impressive to the public eye; you want to make matters comfortable for your head guest; then you can turn yourself loose and play your effects for all they are worth. I know the value of these things, for I know human nature” (235).Hank can easily be seen at these moments as a con man bluffing and using his wits to make a profit and gain followers. He uses their weaknesses to give himself more strength. Even in the end of the novel, Hank writes a proclamation claiming that he and the people of Camelot are now a government of and for the people, but then signs it from The Boss. His signing it The Boss instead of The People shows that he still believes that he is above the people and that they need to be ruled. They may have a better form of government but they still need someone like Hank to make all the important decisions for them. Even though in Hank’s mind he now sees the people as men, in his actions he still sees them as sheep. Hank uses the concept of capitalism in Camelot as a way to better himself by tricking the people into thinking that he is helping them. When asked what capitalism is, people most likely answer that it is a free market involved in free trade outside of government regulations. Capitalism is in fact is a monopolized ownership of the means of production and is a system of wage labor. Capitalism is just a sweet illusion of freedom when in fact it is just a clever form of enslavement. Using capitalism Hank changes the structure of those in power. He takes the knights and turns them into walking billboards for things such as soap, which in a means degrades their power and just makes them a cog in the capitalist’s machine. “Brother! -- to dirt like this?” (295). History is cyclical in nature. There is always someone in power and always someone who is oppressed; it is just that the means of oppression get sneakier using hope and the potential for growth in power as their allies. First in history there was the king and his serfs, then the slave master and his slaves, and now we see the capitalist and his worker.“The most of King Arthur’s British nation were slaves, pure and simple, and bore that name… and the rest were slaves in fact, but without the name; they imagined themselves men and freemen, and called themselves so” (79).Hank sees all the people in Camelot as slaves even though they don’t realize it. Just his title, Hank is The Boss, shows that he controls the workers, what they make, what they are taught, and their profit. He holds all the power in this capitalist situation. Even though Hank feels like he is doing the people of Camelot a favor, he is just performing a more secretive form of slavery. He is ultimately trying to force this new ideology of capitalism upon the masses trying to convince them of his bloodless revolution and with his scenes and lies they follow him. Hank’s bloodless revolution is eventually found to be impossible, showing again how history is cyclical. No revolution is victorious without bloodshed. The violence of capitalism, such as getting hit over the head in the workplace, is what initially what brought Hank to Camelot and it is also what destroys Camelot. “I was turning on my light one-candle power at a time, and meant to continue to do so” (99). Hank, throughout all of his schemes, was planning to turn on the lights to people in Camelot, making them brighter and showing them the light which only technology of the 19th century can bring. But it turns out differently than what he planned, “So I touched a button and set fifty electric sums aflame on the top of the precipice… We were enclosed in tree walls of dead men” (460). Everything Hank has worked for all his factories and technology are in the end used as weapons of mass destruction killing hundreds of knights. Hank blows up all his factories and finally flicks on the switch, turning on the lights, and in that moment with the lights blazing, fries the enemy knights on the electric fence. As Hank looks around at his forces at the end of the battle, he sees only 54 of them left. Hank was unable to change many people’s ideologies through his schemes and technology and his idea of capitalism is a failure. In the end it is Merlin, the very person whose power Hank stole, who sends Hank back to his time. This represents that the original ideology of Camelot is what wins the revolution and is allowed to start over after the slate is wiped clean with the destruction of Camelot. Hank’s capitalist ideas and oppression by labor didn’t work and maybe, ultimately, it can’t work. Hank tried to change the ideology of the nation of Camelot into one similar to where he came from; he used the idea of capitalism. His plan was to use these ideas to create a brighter society turning them from sheep to men and leading them in a bloodless revolution. What Hank seemed to forget was the fact that he was actually just leading the people into a more subtle form of slavery and one that is more corrupt and violent than what they had before. In the end it is found that a bloodless revolution through a change in ideology is not altogether possible, especially when the leader of the revolution wants more power than what is already given to him. With capitalism already considered a corrupt ideology and the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is easy to see why Hank’s plans don’t pan out in the end. People cannot be forced into changing what they believe no matter how enslaved they are seen from people on the outside. Update: received a 3.9 on this paper :)

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