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American Literature Since 1880 Notes Week 2

by: Morgan Smith

American Literature Since 1880 Notes Week 2 2203

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Notes on chapters 15-34
American Literature Since 1880
Eric Goldman
Class Notes
ENGL 2203, American Literature since 1880, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Morgan Smith on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 2203 at University of Connecticut taught by Eric Goldman in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see American Literature Since 1880 in Foreign Language at University of Connecticut.


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Date Created: 01/28/16
2203 Notes 1/26 and 1/28 ▯ CT Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Chapters 15-30 ▯  Hank’s as an unreliable narrator th  Questionable that what he misses most are the comforts of 19 century o What modernity brings you this is indispensible in his mind o Doesn’t miss friends or other things  Open-minded citizens to the factory o Is industrialization conducive to individual betterment?  Factory is in opposition to human rights  Makes people more mainstream  To what degree is pursuit of self interest incompatible with public good? o Hank Morgan subscribes to Adam Smith  You can be selfish but the outcome will be unselfish o Pragmatic pg. 102  “four years rolled by…” discusses despotism and that it is not possible for humans though it would be ideal  Utopianism o Big idea during that time o Frees all the prisoners in Le Fey’s dungeons  Sends one progressive man to the man factory  Helps another man to get back to his family  Is enraged that five men whose crimes have been forgotten were still in the dungeon just because o Wants to ridicule the tradition of jousting o Has soap missionaries to distribute ideas of cleanliness to nobles which he hopes will catch on in the commoners  Everything is to undermine the Church  Nature vs. Nurture  In Chapter 15 Hank makes fun of Sandy’s kind of story telling o No precision, repetition  Critique of romantic story telling  Hank is embarrassed that Sandy buys into the story of pigs being Ladies o Still goes along with the shenanigan of them eating at the higher table o Sells the pigs to the servants without telling Sandy  Shows some sort of compassion and understanding for Sandy’s mindset o Hank starts realizing Sandy’s inability to understand him is “training”  She thinks that the pigs are in fact ladies because she was taught to believe in sorcery and magic  The environment she was raised in is inescapable  Realizes he has to be more sensitive to her and her background th  Stops saying 19 century things that she cannot understand  Darwin is an important context during Twain’s time  Individual agency begins to shrink  Individuals are not god-like but functions of things such as genetics and the environment o Hank is trying to overcome Arthurian training and ironically re-train citizens in Man Factory  Debunks Arthurian beauty  Describes what is like to live during these times in the mindset of a 19 century man  Morgan Le Fey  Beautiful and sweet  Killed a page that bumped into her  She is evil but hank says she cant be blamed for it  Mirror in their names o Hank Morgan—J.P Morgan o Both very strong and proud people- a product of their training o Hank recognizes himself in Le Fey though he hates her  Darker side of Hank  Cold and calculating  Blow up knights with dynamite o Strangely numb to the horror of body parts flying through the air o Thinks of everything in very pragmatic terms o Seems far too pragmatic and detached  Contrasted to a warmer and noble side of Arthur  Goes into the hut with the mother and daughter dying of smallpox  Risks his own life to make them more comfortable and do the right thing o Result of training as a knight or because of innate goodness? o Either way Hank respects him  Wants to put up as statue of Arthur as a peasant in disguise because it captures his full greatness as a King  CT Yankee in King Arthurs Court 31-35  Contradictions in Hank’s Character o Unconscious irony  Divide between Hank as a persona and Hank as a unreliable narrator  Hank doesn’t realize how the divide between what he’s doing and what he espouses is ironic  Nothing factually incorrect about what he tells you  His choices are just morally ethically ironic o Hank thinks democracy is natural  Without social training- human nature tends towards democracy  Ironic because Hank’s own ideas are trained so cant say for sure democracy is natural o Hank realizes because of his training he cant forgive Morgan Le Fey for her training  He wants to compliment her but he can’t  How can he free others from their training if he can’t escape his? o Ironically equates the factory to freedom  Maybe not so ironic in the 19 century when people believed in industrialism  The Yankee names the creators of the world and they are all inventors after God o Arthur becomes positively contrasted with Hank Morgan when he walks in and risks his life to heal the child with smallpox  Was Arthur doing it out of innate goodness or because he was trained as a chivalric night?  Arthurs feelings are different but mentally stuck in his way of thinking  Once Arthur becomes a slave he resolves to end slavery  Focus on slavery o Twain wrote this book when slavery was abolished o Hank Morgan says he will not interfere with slavery at this point because he wants to make sure it is the will of a nation and not his own desire  In Twain’s time slavery was not abolished by “the will of the nation”-  Lincoln made a proclamation- a dictator of sors o Hank compares Marco and other commoners to poor white Confederate soldiers  They ignorantly hate slaves because they were told to  But they also harbor a lot of resentment for the rich slaveholders or in Marco’s case the lords  Hank’s focus on capitalism/money/ status o Reason behind giving Marco/Dowley and other commoners gifts and food  Personal interest but actually benefits all of them  Capitalistic ideal  Hank just wants their respect  Gilded-age ostentation  Showing off his wealth but saying he are giving it back to the public  Similar to what many of the Robber Barons did in the Twain’s gilded age  Conspicuous consumption  Showing off that you have money o His fight with Dowley  No pragmatic utilitarian use out of fighting with Dowley  Just does it for the competition and to show-off  Cannot handle losing  IRONY: Dowley- orphan, self-made man, capitalistic  American-dream  Dowley encompasses everything Hank wants in his new society but can’t resist beating him down o A blacksmith like Dowley gave Hank the name “The Boss”  Repetition of the image of Blacksmith to underscore idea that Hank is “biting the hand that feeds him”  Hank is proud his title is given to him by the people but does not respect these people if they conflict with own self interest o When Hank and Arthur are sold into slavery  Hank doesn’t recognize himself in other people  He thinks when he gets in charge he will eliminate all of this  Hank was annoyed about how much they were sold for  Not that they were being sold into slavery in the first place  Extremely capitalist/money ideology  Hank notes Arthur is brooding and projects the idea that the King is also upset with how much they were sold for o Not necessarily the case- not everyone thinks like Hank  


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