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

CHAPTER 8 "THE BOSS"

Summary

Morgan surveys his position in the court of King Arthur. He is now a man of enormous power and importance. He is called "The Boss". No one dares question him or find fault with him. He has enough opportunity to realize his dreams of importance and respectability in this backward state where there is no competition at all. Even the King is a mere shadow in comparison to him. He decides to use his influence to make some changes in the way things are done. That is, he wants to set the course for the civilization, have them do things his way.

Notes

The whole chapter is Morgan's soliloquy on his new life. He surveys his position in court and society. Though endowed with power and position, he is dissatisfied. He realizes he has a tremendous opportunity to exploit his potential and climb the ladder of success. He decides to use the opportunity to make this society more like the one he has come from.

The belief in the "Divine Right of Kings" effectively has made slaves of the common men. As The Boss of the kingdom, people admire Morgan but they do not revere him because he does not have a noble lineage. He decides to make changes so that each person is equal in consideration and ability. Through Morgan, Twain voices his opinion about the authority of the Church, the divine right of Kings and the plight of the common man. These are subjects that will appear over and over again in the novel.


CHAPTER 9 "THE TOURNAMENT"

Summary

Tournaments are a popular pastime in Camelot, designed to entertain the people and allow them to reveal their skills. People from far and near come to Camelot to witness the events. The Boss (Morgan) often witnesses these events, making plans to improve the games as he sees fit. He begins his development by training a priest to write a report on the tournaments. The priest presents a detailed and factual report of the events.

The Boss, accompanied by Sir Dinaden at the duels, watches the competition between Gareth and Sagramour. The Boss comments inadvertently " I hope to gracious he's killed," meaning Gareth. Sagramour mistakes this wish for one against him, and challenges Morgan to fight him in a duel when he returns from his search for the Holy Grail, at a date far off in the future.

Notes

Morgan establishes his position as Boss in Camelot. He participates in all the activities of the state including the tournament. He watches the events regularly and makes plans to improve the quality of the tournament. His first step towards improvement is to publish a report on the events.

The tournament throws light on the activities of the people of the sixth century. These medieval men are involved in more physical than mental activity, since they are illiterate and unaware of more refined games.

Future conflict is suggested in this scene, creating suspense and sustaining the story. The fact that Sagramour's challenge is set for a time far off in the future gives the reader a frame of reference as to how epic this story might be.

CHAPTER 10 "BEGINNING OF CIVILIZATION"

Summary

Approximately four years have passed since the tournament. The Boss has begun several developmental projects in and around Camelot, including opening schools, military training centers, mines, and factories, and encouraging the young men of Camelot to get enrolled in these organizations. He introduces telegraph and telephone services in the country. He starts a newspaper and appoints Clarence as its editor. By proper administration, the country prospers and begins to earn good revenue. Mention is often made of the future duel with Sagramour, and King Arthur suggests Morgan go on a journey in order to prepare himself for this battle.

Notes

Morgan's desire to develop the country and modernize it is fulfilled when he opens schools, factories, press, mines and training institutes to educate and improve the lives of the people. With uncontrolled power in his hands, the Boss slowly and steadily ushers in civilization into the country. As he says, "Unsuspected by this dark land, I had the civilization of the nineteenth century booming under its very nose."

Even while the Boss works to educate and develop the country, he is aware of the power of the church and its antagonism towards progressive measures. He stealthily introduces civilization in the country without confronting the Church. Though the King applauds Morgan's work, the Yankee Boss is still not considered a nobleman. Despite his efforts, nobility is held in higher esteem than intellectual superiority.

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