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ConnieAnnKirk
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Chapters 21-30

For discussion of Chapters 21-30. For the benefit of those who would like to discuss their reading as they go along, please avoid posting information from beyond Chapter 30, "The Tragedy of the Manor-House."
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30



ConnieK wrote:
For discussion of Chapters 21-30. For the benefit of those who would like to discuss their reading as they go along, please avoid posting information from beyond Chapter 30, "The Tragedy of the Manor-House."




In chapter 22 and the story of the well I was wondering what did the two different magicians stand for and represent symbolically? Merlin versus Hank? Different methods?
I thought maybe there was an underlining theme being presented by how their brands of magic or techno magic are pitted against each other. Hank seems to be trying to make everyone believe that this was a difficult task and to see if Merlin would retire from the task on his own. I am sure there must be some hidden symbolism that I am missing?

As a matter of business it was a good idea to get the notion around that the thing was difficult. Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. That monk was filled up with the difficulty of this enterprise; he would fill up the others. In two days the solicitude would be booming.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 22) German Language?

What is Twain talking about in this passage about Germans? Is he now casting aspersions on the German language and Germans? I guess he is talking about the syntax of the German language and the lengthy sentence structure?

I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 23)

What a great chapter: Restoration of the Fountain

Very funny.

Before the noon mass was over, we were at the well again; for there was a deal to do yet, and I was determined to spring the miracle before midnight, for business reasons: for whereas a miracle worked for the Church on a week-day is worth a good deal, it is worth six times as much if you get it in on a Sunday.

I think we see Hank Morgan as his manipulative best so far.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)

[ Edited ]
By now I am amazed at how much technology Hank Morgan is bringing to the 6th century..not much they even know how to do anything with. Soap is even scarier stuff for them; matches, explosives which he uses to complete his miracles, matches for himself, guns, the telephone which he uses with his underground, tobacco and of course now the creation of a West Point right in Arthurian Britain (lol).

A lot of these are destructive forces that I think these people might have been better off without.

However, in these last few chapters you do see the old Twain emerging and his sense of fun.

Message Edited by bentley on 11-04-2007 08:10 AM
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)POTENTIAL SPOILER

Slavery:

I read what Everyman wrote about some of the influences that he felt might have persuaded Twain to write such a political manuscript such as ACYIKAC. And in a way I can understand that some of these roots might have a basis for Twain's obsession with slavery in this work but I do not think it explains away all of it.

ConnieK..can you start weighing in on this discussion because it would be helpful to hear some of your thoughts on this work and maybe the "why" of it. From what I have read to date, it seems to have been panned at the time of its publication which I can understand given its departure from the style and themes of Twain's previous works.

After some fun chapters, we are now back in Chapter 24 discussing slavery once again:

The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded, the world over; and a privileged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name. This has a harsh sound, and yet should not be offensive to any—even to the noble himself—unless the fact itself be an offense: for the statement simply formulates a fact. The repulsive feature of slavery is the thing , not its name. One needs but to hear an aristocrat speak of the classes that are below him to recognize—and in but indifferently modified measure—the very air and tone of the actual slaveholder; and behind these are the slaveholder's spirit, the slaveholder's blunted feeling. They are the result of the same cause in both cases: the possessor's old and inbred custom of regarding himself as a superior being. The king's judgments wrought frequent injustices, but it was merely the fault of his training, his natural and unalterable sympathies. He was as unfitted for a judgeship as would be the average mother for the position of milk-distributor to starving children in famine-time; her own children would fare a shade better than the rest.

POTENTIAL SPOILER:

I am also beginning to realize that the stranger at the beginning who goes on tour with the narrator through the castle and gives him the manuscript is in fact Hank Morgan or may in fact be Hank Morgan (the man of two timeperiods). I am continuing the read with that in mind. I was wondering why I had not made that connection sooner.
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thinker
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Re: Chapters 21-30

You think maybe there's any thing to do with hmm... lets see say superstition, or superstitous thinking verses maybe realism and naturally realistic thinking
So the humble country folk are filled with a fear of Merlin and what he does, but we the readers realise that the tasks are not as difficlut as the folk are led to believe.
Once again I also think that Hank attempts to show some superiority.





bentley wrote:


ConnieK wrote:
For discussion of Chapters 21-30. For the benefit of those who would like to discuss their reading as they go along, please avoid posting information from beyond Chapter 30, "The Tragedy of the Manor-House."




In chapter 22 and the story of the well I was wondering what did the two different magicians stand for and represent symbolically? Merlin versus Hank? Different methods?
I thought maybe there was an underlining theme being presented by how their brands of magic or techno magic are pitted against each other. Hank seems to be trying to make everyone believe that this was a difficult task and to see if Merlin would retire from the task on his own. I am sure there must be some hidden symbolism that I am missing?

As a matter of business it was a good idea to get the notion around that the thing was difficult. Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. That monk was filled up with the difficulty of this enterprise; he would fill up the others. In two days the solicitude would be booming.


Thinker
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 22) German Language?

I always took this one more as a joke. Lots of targets in this book of satire, to be sure, some more seriously targeted than others, I'd say.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote:
What is Twain talking about in this passage about Germans? Is he now casting aspersions on the German language and Germans? I guess he is talking about the syntax of the German language and the lengthy sentence structure?

I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Author
ConnieAnnKirk
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Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)POTENTIAL SPOILER

Sure, bentley; I'll try to introduce a little context here. This scene is very reminiscent of an event Clemens witnessed in Hannibal as a young boy. He saw African (American) slaves chained together for auction down by the Mississippi River, and this image made a big impact on him. The notes to some scholarly editions of the novel indicate that the writing of this particular scene may also be influenced by a slave narrative by Charles Ball, _Fifty Years in Chains; or, The Life of an American Slave_ (1859). Its emotional impact, however, really calls to my mind Clemens's own vision of the chained slaves from his boyhood. This is the most vivid account of slaves (even though they are white Europeans of another century) in Twain's books.

This novel (1889) was published 4 years after _Huck Finn_ (1885). Most of Twain's best-known works (known today) were already published. There were a few key titles after this one that are fairly well known, such as _Pudd'nhead Wilson_ in 1894, but _Tom Sawyer_ (1876) and Huck were already well behind him.

Clemens would have been in his mid-fifties when CY came out. Most scholars attribute the period from around 1890 onward as the "later" period of both Clemens's life and work, with the "golden age" being more between 1870-1889. This puts CY at the cusp between those 2 eras.

Twain always had an anti-imperialist streak, and this only got stronger in his later, and some would say, more bitter years. This novel is interesting in that we see these flashes of political satire standing out among the humorous fun we normally expect from reading his earlier work.

The inventions in the novel, too, are from a real interest Clemens had in technology and innovation. He was the first person in Hartford, CT, to own a telephone (a telephone is mentioned in CY), and he lost money frequently, and lots of it, through bad investments in failed contraptions of one sort or another. His losses necessitated his taking to the lecture circuit to repay his debts. Going around the world lecturing, oddly enough, may have made him more famous globally, even today, than his books alone would have done. Twain remains one of the most, if not the most, widely read American fiction writers in other countries around the world.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote:
Slavery:

I read what Everyman wrote about some of the influences that he felt might have persuaded Twain to write such a political manuscript such as ACYIKAC. And in a way I can understand that some of these roots might have a basis for Twain's obsession with slavery in this work but I do not think it explains away all of it.

ConnieK..can you start weighing in on this discussion because it would be helpful to hear some of your thoughts on this work and maybe the "why" of it. From what I have read to date, it seems to have been panned at the time of its publication which I can understand given its departure from the style and themes of Twain's previous works.

After some fun chapters, we are now back in Chapter 24 discussing slavery once again:

The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded, the world over; and a privileged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name. This has a harsh sound, and yet should not be offensive to any—even to the noble himself—unless the fact itself be an offense: for the statement simply formulates a fact. The repulsive feature of slavery is the thing , not its name. One needs but to hear an aristocrat speak of the classes that are below him to recognize—and in but indifferently modified measure—the very air and tone of the actual slaveholder; and behind these are the slaveholder's spirit, the slaveholder's blunted feeling. They are the result of the same cause in both cases: the possessor's old and inbred custom of regarding himself as a superior being. The king's judgments wrought frequent injustices, but it was merely the fault of his training, his natural and unalterable sympathies. He was as unfitted for a judgeship as would be the average mother for the position of milk-distributor to starving children in famine-time; her own children would fare a shade better than the rest.

POTENTIAL SPOILER:

I am also beginning to realize that the stranger at the beginning who goes on tour with the narrator through the castle and gives him the manuscript is in fact Hank Morgan or may in fact be Hank Morgan (the man of two timeperiods). I am continuing the read with that in mind. I was wondering why I had not made that connection sooner.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30



thinker wrote:
You think maybe there's any thing to do with hmm... lets see say superstition, or superstitous thinking verses maybe realism and naturally realistic thinking
So the humble country folk are filled with a fear of Merlin and what he does, but we the readers realise that the tasks are not as difficlut as the folk are led to believe.
Once again I also think that Hank attempts to show some superiority.





bentley wrote:


ConnieK wrote:
For discussion of Chapters 21-30. For the benefit of those who would like to discuss their reading as they go along, please avoid posting information from beyond Chapter 30, "The Tragedy of the Manor-House."




In chapter 22 and the story of the well I was wondering what did the two different magicians stand for and represent symbolically? Merlin versus Hank? Different methods?
I thought maybe there was an underlining theme being presented by how their brands of magic or techno magic are pitted against each other. Hank seems to be trying to make everyone believe that this was a difficult task and to see if Merlin would retire from the task on his own. I am sure there must be some hidden symbolism that I am missing?

As a matter of business it was a good idea to get the notion around that the thing was difficult. Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. That monk was filled up with the difficulty of this enterprise; he would fill up the others. In two days the solicitude would be booming.







Thinker,

Twain seemed to put down the people for their superstitious views. The story about the fountain and how short lived was his glory was telling. They would be entertained by any charlatan that came along and their loyalty and interest was fleeting according to Hank. It was almost like Hank wanted to pull the puppet strings and make the world operate according to his dictates. He was always setting himself up for the fall by making it appear that he was a seer or godlike. He ruled from fear. Somebody always is gunning for the superior person. He didn't think the Arthurian folks were very bright either and very gullible.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 22) German Language?



ConnieK wrote:
I always took this one more as a joke. Lots of targets in this book of satire, to be sure, some more seriously targeted than others, I'd say.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote:
What is Twain talking about in this passage about Germans? Is he now casting aspersions on the German language and Germans? I guess he is talking about the syntax of the German language and the lengthy sentence structure?

I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.







Yes, obviously being satirical about Germans and their language. I was just wondering if there were any underlining reasons he was picking on the Germans.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)POTENTIAL SPOILER



ConnieK wrote:
Sure, bentley; I'll try to introduce a little context here. This scene is very reminiscent of an event Clemens witnessed in Hannibal as a young boy. He saw African (American) slaves chained together for auction down by the Mississippi River, and this image made a big impact on him. The notes to some scholarly editions of the novel indicate that the writing of this particular scene may also be influenced by a slave narrative by Charles Ball, _Fifty Years in Chains; or, The Life of an American Slave_ (1859). Its emotional impact, however, really calls to my mind Clemens's own vision of the chained slaves from his boyhood. This is the most vivid account of slaves (even though they are white Europeans of another century) in Twain's books.

This novel (1889) was published 4 years after _Huck Finn_ (1885). Most of Twain's best-known works (known today) were already published. There were a few key titles after this one that are fairly well known, such as _Pudd'nhead Wilson_ in 1894, but _Tom Sawyer_ (1876) and Huck were already well behind him.

Clemens would have been in his mid-fifties when CY came out. Most scholars attribute the period from around 1890 onward as the "later" period of both Clemens's life and work, with the "golden age" being more between 1870-1889. This puts CY at the cusp between those 2 eras.

Twain always had an anti-imperialist streak, and this only got stronger in his later, and some would say, more bitter years. This novel is interesting in that we see these flashes of political satire standing out among the humorous fun we normally expect from reading his earlier work.

The inventions in the novel, too, are from a real interest Clemens had in technology and innovation. He was the first person in Hartford, CT, to own a telephone (a telephone is mentioned in CY), and he lost money frequently, and lots of it, through bad investments in failed contraptions of one sort or another. His losses necessitated his taking to the lecture circuit to repay his debts. Going around the world lecturing, oddly enough, may have made him more famous globally, even today, than his books alone would have done. Twain remains one of the most, if not the most, widely read American fiction writers in other countries around the world.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote:
Slavery:

I read what Everyman wrote about some of the influences that he felt might have persuaded Twain to write such a political manuscript such as ACYIKAC. And in a way I can understand that some of these roots might have a basis for Twain's obsession with slavery in this work but I do not think it explains away all of it.

ConnieK..can you start weighing in on this discussion because it would be helpful to hear some of your thoughts on this work and maybe the "why" of it. From what I have read to date, it seems to have been panned at the time of its publication which I can understand given its departure from the style and themes of Twain's previous works.

After some fun chapters, we are now back in Chapter 24 discussing slavery once again:

The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded, the world over; and a privileged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name. This has a harsh sound, and yet should not be offensive to any—even to the noble himself—unless the fact itself be an offense: for the statement simply formulates a fact. The repulsive feature of slavery is the thing , not its name. One needs but to hear an aristocrat speak of the classes that are below him to recognize—and in but indifferently modified measure—the very air and tone of the actual slaveholder; and behind these are the slaveholder's spirit, the slaveholder's blunted feeling. They are the result of the same cause in both cases: the possessor's old and inbred custom of regarding himself as a superior being. The king's judgments wrought frequent injustices, but it was merely the fault of his training, his natural and unalterable sympathies. He was as unfitted for a judgeship as would be the average mother for the position of milk-distributor to starving children in famine-time; her own children would fare a shade better than the rest.

POTENTIAL SPOILER:

I am also beginning to realize that the stranger at the beginning who goes on tour with the narrator through the castle and gives him the manuscript is in fact Hank Morgan or may in fact be Hank Morgan (the man of two timeperiods). I am continuing the read with that in mind. I was wondering why I had not made that connection sooner.







Thank you very much Connie; that helped a lot. I agree with you ..there are chapters where you see the old Twain with all of the fun and then he lapses into political satire. Very interesting about the slavery he observed and his anti-imperialist streak.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)



bentley wrote:
By now I am amazed at how much technology Hank Morgan is bringing to the 6th century.

Yes, but it is getting more and more absurd. There is just no way that one person's knowledge could generate all these improvements. The infrastructure just didn't exist for the kinds of metals he needed, the minerals that had to be mined to make his gunpowder, the technology to turn metal into wire (and make the alloys that make a thin wire strong enough to hold together over distances, etc. Twain isn't even trying to be realistic, which is what makes me think that he has very little interest in the story itself and is mostly trying for a vehicle to run his hobbyhorses in.
_______________
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 21-30 (Chapter 24)



Everyman wrote:


bentley wrote:
By now I am amazed at how much technology Hank Morgan is bringing to the 6th century.

Yes, but it is getting more and more absurd. There is just no way that one person's knowledge could generate all these improvements. The infrastructure just didn't exist for the kinds of metals he needed, the minerals that had to be mined to make his gunpowder, the technology to turn metal into wire (and make the alloys that make a thin wire strong enough to hold together over distances, etc. Twain isn't even trying to be realistic, which is what makes me think that he has very little interest in the story itself and is mostly trying for a vehicle to run his hobbyhorses in.




Everyman, I agree with you; but then by the time that I got to this section..I thought to myself that Twain (Clemens) did not have much of a plan either and threw in the time travel to cover up the lack of reality making it a fantasy so all of these minor (which were not minor at all) details might be overlooked by the reader. Hank's background as explained by Twain certainly did not support this kind of knowledge. For example, even though I know it is impossible, though I have ridden on airplanes and used electricity and telephones or know of guns and gunpowder..it doesn't mean that I could manufacture these or build these to specs or get any of these to be working prototypes; and also have such a mastery of them all to teach others.

Somehow at this time in his life, he wanted to write a political diatribe which was dark and somehow would make him some money because he most likely was bankrupt by now. And there were a lot of dismal life events which he had to deal with that probably put him in a perpetually bad mood. Thus we got this book.

But Twain even with all of the warts here writes so well, has such a command of the language and is such a brilliant satirist that it still makes it a worthwhile read even to capture what Twain's darkness and his views were all about. At least that is the reason I am carrying on though to me it is not our vintage Twain (Clemens).
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