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Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's
very early story about time travel, Connecticut
Yankee was published in 1889 after the
publication of Mark Twain’s best-known
works, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry
widely recognized as a satire, Twain
wrote of A Connecticut Yankee in King
Arthur’s Court that "the story
isn't a satire peculiarly, it is more
especially a contrast."
What did Twain mean?
Do you think the story is a
you remember the story for its darker
undercurrents, or for its witty invention
What is Twain’s view of the
nobility, of the Catholic Church, and of
How does Twain’s opinion differ
or agree with your own?
Hank Morgan's view of Camelot ultimately
soften Twain’s social criticism and
make both easier to accept?
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s
can be viewed as a
type of utopia in reverse.
Think of Sir Thomas More’s Utopia,
and other utopias and dystopias you have
Compare and contrast them.
What is an ideal world, past or
frames Hank Morgan’s time travel by
beginning and concluding in the 19th
century, the current time of his writing.
Does the use of this literary
device, called a “frame,” lend a
certain degree of credibility to the
What literary devices do other
authors of time travel novels use?
does Hank Morgan use his technological
knowledge to gain power?
Does he use his power for the
betterment of the people or for the glory
of Hank Morgan?
Why does he become more
totalitarian as his power and conviction
Alisande, the damsel in distress, and later
Hank’s traveling companion, and wife,
Is she typical of Twain’s female
Why or why not?
wrote to the illustrator of the book,
"This Yankee of mine . . . is a
perfect ignoramus; he is boss of a
machine shop, he can build a locomotive
or a Colt's revolver, he can put up and
run a telegraph line, but he's an
Why does Twain hold this opinion
Do you agree with his opinion?
the rivalry between Merlin and Hank.
Twain's Merlin is an old and worn
charlatan, impotent against Hank's
science and technology, yet many of
Hank’s successes rely on superstition
Merlin appears to be soundly
defeated each time he challenges Hank,
but is he really?
What message does Twain have for
us today about the magician versus the
Twain's penchant for utilizing different
sorts of language.
Compare Twain’s use of dialect
in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
with his use of archaic language in The
Prince and the Pauper and A
How does Twain’s control of
the English language add to our enjoyment
of these stories.
had great appeal to the Victorians.
It appealed to Twain, who enjoyed
What else drew Twain to his
Does Arthurian England have any
Give some examples.
Morgan returns to the nineteenth century,
he wants to be allowed to return to
"all that is dear . . . all that
makes life worth the living."
Is Twain merely showing us a dying
man mourning for his former life, or is
Twain also offering a comment on our own
nostalgia for things past and long ago?
point out the contradiction
of Hank Morgan, who seeks to modernize
the people of Camelot but in the end, not
only fails, but destroys a civilization.
Can Yankee ingenuity and
inventiveness ever succeed against a
What is Twain saying about the19th
century society and its destructive
Does Twain have anything to tell
us about progress today?
used in constructing these questions include:
Cliffs Notes by L. David Allen, http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/yankee/cyhompg.html,