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Chapter XXI, "The Pilgrims," contains perhaps the most vivid and, some would argue, most emotive, passages about slavery that exist in the novels of Mark Twain. How does the novel treat this institution that Morgan finds in Arthurian Britain, and what does this treatment say about Twain's views about slavery in the United States?

We might also consider this passage in Morgan's narration (pg. number is from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition):

"I wanted to stop the whole thing and set the slaves free, but that would not do. I must not interfere too much and get myself a name for riding over the country's laws and the citizen's rights roughshod. If I lived and prospered I would be the death of slavery, that I was resolved upon; but I would try to fix it so that when I became its executioner it should be by command of the nation" (215).

Could Morgan have done more, and earlier? Is the passage reflective of the abolitionist movement in the U. S., or is it too soft a position on the issue?

What do you think?

[CAK's books , website.]
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