Reader Response Journal When I first picked up the book, I didn’t know what to expect. I really wasn’t interested in any Science Fiction novellas but wanted to read one from an accredited writer. Thus, I chose A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. My book first started with Sir Lancelot’s tale of his reaching his fame. I was confused as to why Twain included an except straight from the famous tales but saw it as more of an introduction/preface for his following writing. As I read the story to where King Arthur is threatened and pardons Hank, I noticed many historical allusions (with the help of google as well). When Sir Lancelot confronts Hank on the street with a duel, it was comical as Hank was “oddly” dressed and confused in his location. From there on, he was adamant in trying to utilize his knowledge to rule the entire kingdom. The most impressive plan from Hank was utilizing Christopher Columbus’s solar eclipse trick. By recognizing the date he was currently in as a solar eclipse day, he was able to avoid his own death and gain King Arthur’s recognition by naming him his assistant, much to Merlin’s disgust. This sequence of events in the beginning of the story was promising to me in that there were numerous historical allusions whilst being a scientific fiction novel. As a matter of fact, whenever Hank was making progress towards creating firearms, it was interesting whenever he would plot schemes of discrediting Merlin’s abilities by utilizing men by handing them explosives. The trust that Hank had with those mercenaries, or his factory workers, was quite concerning because any of them could have questioned or foiled Hank’s plans in the future (which consisted of future colleges and more factories). By the middle of the novel, it was only right if Hank finds a woman he could love and settle down with, even if she isn’t really the most stable. Demoiselle Alisande a la Carteloise, or “Sandy”, was adamant in retaining some pigs from a couple of herders she labeled as ‘ogres’. As the story progresses, Hank establishes himself as the second strongest man in the world and embarks in a journey where he and King Arthur are enslaved by a couple of slave holders from another empire. After being emancipated, Arthur becomes susceptible to the concept od slavery. This was probably one of the most consistent social justice that was apparent at the time Twain was writing the novel, which was well after the Civil War. This side plot gave me an idea of how Twain viewed the topic of slavery and how he did support this it at all. Near the end of the tale, the downfall begins and is similar to Arthur’s documented downfall after he discovered his wife having an affair with Sir Lancelot. As a result, a group of anarchists planned Hank to leave to the country with his family and plotted a war that will overthrow the Arthurian kingdom. Once Hank finds out, he takes a final stance in this time and falls short with ammo as Merlin confronts his existence. I believe this tale as an innovative way to connect modern technology to the 600 century technology and scientific beliefs. Scientific Concepts Write-Up Throughout the novel, I was genuinely curious how somebody with superior scientific knowledge would be able to retain enough material and resource to plot a takeover of the kingdom and society in general. In Hank’s situation and prior experience to firearm business, Hank was able to add firepower and “magic” into his favor to convince people that he was the second strongest man in the kingdom. By utilizing 18th century technology, Hank was able to advance the kingdom by his own hands and snatch and expose Merlin’s power. It’s extremely interesting once you look at how Hank was able to manufacture the technology that existed in his original era and how he was able to use it to gain leverage in fights. One weapon he utilized heavy was the lasso and his fighting style: it was extremely similar to how cowboys would use them in rodeos, thus giving the protagonist a label of “Yankee”. Furthermore, when Merlin challenges Hank to create another miracle, it was seen that Hank utilized his knowledge of weather and chemistry to destroy Merlin’s tower. Knowing that it will be a stormy season, Hank claimed that fire from heaven would come down to strike Merlin for blasphemy. This would result to lighting striking his tower that was wired by energy conducting material. Eventually, the explosives would set off and level the tower, which destroyed Merlin’s reputation in the kingdom. After doing this, Hank officially becomes titled to “King’s Minister” and creates private schools for few selected people who were reluctant to the indoctrinate ideals of the current century. This was only a farce for him to teach modern English and ideas to the youth. He then carries on using scientific concepts for agriculture when he comes across this fountain that was allegedly “corrupted” by a “demon”. In reality, the fountain was leaking, and Hank accepts the challenge and carries on the act to make himself look better. Even after his marriage, Hank was observed saying “Hello-central” in his sleep, a phrase used in the 19th century on a telephone operator. Sandy then names her child this phrase and it becomes a motif towards the end of the novel. In the whole, there are numerous scientific concepts utilized in the novel, the main being firearms and how Hank manufactures and bears them in his battles against noblemen and during the war against the Church. All the major scientific discoveries in the 19th century, such as the Gatling gun, were carefully placed in the novel. As a matter of fact, it coincided well with the ineffective armors the medieval knights and warriors were wearing. It made sure that Hank will be far superior to others in that current era and set him up for inevitable success. However, Twain assumed that no matter what type of technology there was, King Arthur was never able to be dethroned by the order of the Church. In fact, it seems that the Church still assumed massive power even if hank exposed them in numerous areas. This eventually leads to his downfall as the Church plotted his departure for coup de tat, but still shows how Church beliefs differ from Scientific beliefs. Critical Lens Analysis Mark Twain was able to establish a lot of social commentary into his novel, most evident in how he discussed slavery and criticized social standings. By applying Postcolonialism lenses, is can be seen that when Hank and King Arthur embark on a journey with peasants and encounter slavery and the process of emancipation, King Arthur finally sees the injustice in keeping others captive. Enduring the physical abuse by the slave holders, King Arthur was finally able to sympathize for those who were held captive against their will. Twain was able to add his social commentary of emancipation by implying how elites/nobles such as Arthur are unable to understand the misfortunates. There were reluctant to doing any form of labor and became lethargic enough to be considerate. It was not only till Arthur was held captive and abused till he became differentiated on how he should treat the poor. In the beginning if the trip, Hank was skeptic on how King Arthur would be able to survive with the nomadic lifestyle compared to his luxurious, extravagant lifestyle, but wanted to show Arthur the other side of the Scottish kingdom. Thus, Twain utilizes a lot of comparisons and contrasts to show Arthur’s rich perspective: “These missionaries would gradually, and without creating suspicion or exciting alarm, introduce a rudimentary cleanliness among the nobility, and from them it would work down to the people, if the priests could be kept quiet. This would undermine the Church. I mean would be a step toward that. Next, education—next, freedom—and then she would begin to crumble” (Pg.214). In this quote, Twain emphasizes the advancement of the Church and the kingdom as a whole but criticizes how they can’t move forward if they keep on ignoring education and emancipation. Thus, it is seen that King Arthur realizes the flaws of society and chooses to fix them to advance as a civilization. In fact, the Church plots a rebellion on Hank’s government at the end of the novel, signifying how the Church’s reluctance to rid of slavery leads to the King becoming susceptible for emancipation. Another lens that could be applied is Marxist Criticism, where Hank refuses to dress as a noble. Instead, Hank remains to be to look as a common man, a nod to how Americans do not support elitism. Although Hank does take benefits from being the second strongest man in the kingdom, he utilizes his position for the benefits of the kingdom in the long run. Another incident in the novel where the economy is involved is Hank introducing the pistol after his duel. After Twain shows that Hank has finally bought his strongest resource, there is a three year gap as to imply that the firearm has extreme success in the kingdom’s future.