A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court By Mark Twain Summary and Analysis Chapters 19-20

Summary

The next morning, The Boss and Sandy take to the road again, and Sandy begins once more her tale of the knights, the story that she left unfinished when they reached Morgan le Fay's castle.

After they cover about ten miles in three hours, they stop for a long lunchbreak. While they are there, Sir Madok de la Montaine, another of The Boss's advertising knights, comes upon them. He is cursing and swearing, for another knight has played a practical joke on him, sending him across fields and through swamps for a chance to sell his wares to five of the people whom The Boss just released from Morgan le Fay's dungeons. He vows that he will avenge this insult.

Toward noon, two days later, Sandy informs The Boss that they are approaching an ogre's castle. When she points it out to him, all he can see is a pigsty filled with pigs. Finally, to keep her happy — she is sure that it is a castle and that the pigs are princesses — he tells her that it must be enchanted to his sight, but he agrees to "rescue" the princesses. He does so by buying the pigs from the three swineherds, paying more than the market value. Then they drive the pigs to a castle about ten miles farther on. They have a great deal of difficulty keeping the "princesses" together, and when they arrive at the castle, servants have to be sent out to find several of the "princesses."

Analysis

Sandy's story in Chapter 19 does very little for the novel except slow it down and bore the reader. Twain's editor would have done well to have cut this chapter severely.

In Chapter 20, focusing on the rescue of the princesses who have been turned into pigs by some evil sorcerer or sorceress, we have a scene that is evocative of scenes from Cervantes's novel, where Don Quixote will often be blinded and see things from a different reality than other people do. In a reverse sort of way, The Boss pretends that his sight is bad, and to pacify Sandy, he pretends that he sees things as she does. But whereas Don Quixote was a madman and an idealist in a nation of sane people, The Boss is a sane man of practicality in a nation of fools and children.

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