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Free Study Guide for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND ANALYSIS

CHAPTER 13 "FREEMEN"

Summary

The Yankee Boss is hungry, but there is nothing to eat. He and Sandy stop for the evening and he finds uncomfortable rest under the shade of a rock. He feels uncomfortable lying down in his armor but is ashamed to ask Sandy to help him take it off. He spends a restless night while Sandy sleeps peacefully. In the morning they resume their journey.

As they ride, they meet a group of laborers repairing the road. Morgan expresses his desire to have breakfast with them, though Sandy doesn't approve of it. As they share their lunch, the Boss becomes aware of the plight of the Freemen, men working as slaves of the church. After struggling the whole day, they tell Morgan, they make little money and let their lords enjoy the better part of the benefits. Morgan opens their eyes to the inhuman system of slavery and induces them to rebel against it. All but one greet his suggestions with suspicion and fear. Morgan sends the one to Camelot with a note to Clarence, so that he might get some education.

Notes

Once again, Morgan is presented as the anti-chivalric hero. He is hungry but has nothing to eat. At the start of the journey, he had secretly packed a few sandwiches but they were taken away by the Knights because concern for food is not chivalrous. According to the medieval concept of chivalry, Knights on adventurous trips are supposed to hunt for food or eat whatever they can find on their way. The Boss bears his hunger with fortitude and goes to bed with an empty stomach.


Twain reveals the difference in attitude between the people of the earlier century and the present one through the reaction of Morgan and Sandy to the situations during their journey. The boss feels uncomfortable riding in the heat and is exasperated before long, while Sandy makes no fuss during that period. Instead of showing impatience, she helps the Boss relieve his discomfort. Toward evening, the Boss feels hungry and longs for food but Sandy goes to bed cheerfully. And in the night, the Boss has a disturbed sleep because he feels uncomfortable lying down with his armor. Sandy, on the other hand, sleeps peacefully, unmindful of her surroundings. These incidents reveal that a modern man like Morgan has less resistance and tolerance for discomfort, while Sandy, a delicate maiden of the sixth century, has patience, understanding, and a spirit of accommodation. Also the nineteenth century man is prudish and formal, while the medieval lady is spontaneous and uninhibited.

Twain uses beautiful and suggestive prose to describe the unspoiled nature of the surrounding countryside, which is undercut by the Boss's desire to use this land, fill it with technology and civilization, thereby harvesting from it is purity. Ironically, those things Morgan appreciates in the countryside are the things his goals will destroy.

The meeting of the Boss with the Freemen throws light on the condition of these people in the sixth century. The Freemen struggle for their livelihood and work as slaves of the state. They work hard throughout the day, while their masters enjoy comfort and security and lived in the lap of luxury. Through this incident Twain exposes the inhuman attitude of the church which believed in the divine right of kings, thereby encouraging the exploitation of the masses by nobility. While hundreds toil uncomplainingly, a few live regally, insensitive to the feelings or needs of the common man. The poor, too, resign themselves to their situation, accepting it as the decree of God.

CHAPTER 14 "DEFEND THEE, LORD!"

Summary

Farmers provide them with breakfast and are rewarded with a large and unexpected payment. After giving them money for the food, the Boss lights his pipe and frightens the common men. Later, as he and Sandy continue on their journey, riding through the woods, they encounter half a dozen knights who are ready to ambush them. Sandy gets frightened but the Boss faces his opponents courageously and lights up his pipe, frightening the assailants away.

Notes

When the farmers share their breakfast with the Boss they do so expecting nothing in return. Greed and cunning are alien to these uncorrupted medieval men. Ignorant of modern inventions, they get frightened when the Boss lights up a pipe. Even the dashing knights are horrified at the sight of smoke emanating from the pipe and look up to the Boss as a powerful magician.

This chapter reveals Sandy in a favorable light. Even though she is young and delicate, she helps the boss in need. She fears neither the rough path nor the forbidding men on the road. In fact, she cautions the Boss about the Knights. Morgan thus prepares himself to face his enemies and encounters them courageously. She also clears Morgan's misunderstanding about the intentions of the Knights and explains their attitude to him. Finally, she acts as the messenger of the Boss by ordering them to surrender to her master in the court of King Arthur. Sandy thus proves to be an invaluable companion to the Boss.

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