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SUMMARY OF THE MAIN ARGUMENTS
The author’s criticism focuses on Hank Morgan’s personality. The author argues that Hank’s problems are attributed to his personality, and his inability to conceptualize the past correctly. Morgan’s personality is described in the critic’s text as one full of conflicts. For example, during Morgan’s friendship with Clarence, he supported close relationships between a man and another man. However, after marrying Sandy he denounced such relationships. Morgan believed that the people of the past can not adopt the nineteenth century culture, because the influence of the sixth century culture could not be eliminated in their lives. However, the author argues that Morgan’s view on the people of the past was a reflection of his inability to provide acceptable explanation for the difference between the sixth and the nineteenth century cultures. Morgan also becomes nervous to be a part of the Arthurian world, due to his inability to understand the basis of the same-sex social relationships.
The author correctly argues that Morgan had a conflicting personality, which was reflected in his contradictory behaviors. For instance, he emphasizes the supremacy of democratic nationalism over monarchy in his thoughts, when he arrived in England. However, he later changed his view on governance in favor of monarchy after realizing that it had great influence in England. He not only enjoyed the title of ‘The Boss’, but also exercised unlimited powers of the monarchy. He says, “…then I saw that she was right and gave her permission to hang the whole band” (Twain 207). His decision to permit the execution of the band members without a fair trial indicates that he was practicing the autocracy he had been rejecting earlier. Besides, Morgan himself confirmed the change in his attitude and personality when he said, “it was plain, I had undergone a considerable change without noticing it”.
The author correctly argues that Morgan attempted to unify England as he also attempted to “model himself as an integrated and non-conflicted self”. However, Morgan failed to achieve this objective because “his relationship with the medieval other fails his idealism”. This argument is correct since Morgan believed that the Arthurian people were unable to understand the knowledge, and civilization associated with the nineteenth century. Due to his biased perspective, Morgan focused on the differences between the nineteenth century people, and the Arthurian people. Consequently, he failed to establish a positive rapport that would enable him to work with the Arthurian people, and transform their culture. After failing to implement his ideologies in England, Morgan seems to prefer the sixth century people and their culture to his own. Morgan says “all that is dear to me, all that could make life worth the living” is his wife, as well as, his medieval friends. This shows that his close relationship with his wife and medieval people made him more comfortable in the sixth century than nineteenth century. Thus, he lost the inspiration to promulgate his ideologies in England.
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Morgan argued that “other men’s whiteness can be lost”. Consequently, the author concluded that race was also a source of anxiety and worry. This, conclusion is partly correct and partly incorrect. It is correct because race contributed to Morgan’s anxiety in the Arthurian world. Morgan’s inability to tolerate the attitudes and culture of the Arthurian people at the beginning of his visit to England illustrates how race contributed to his anxieties. However, Morgan’s perception of race and whiteness was not a source of worry as the author argues. If other men could lose their whiteness, then it means that their culture could be transformed. Consequently, the fact that whiteness could be lost was not a subject of worry, but rather an opportunity for Morgan to transform the culture of the medieval people.
The argument that Morgan’s decision to kill the 25,000 Knights contradicted attempts to portray him as a sympathetic character is wrong. The fact that he led the killing of the Knights does not mean that he was heartless. He was acting in self defense. He initiated the massacre because his legacy, technological improvements, and schools, was being destroyed. Besides, the entire England was under the injunction of the church. The enmity between him and the populace, including the Knights, was a threat to his life. This could have, perhaps, led to his decision to kill the Knights.
The argument that Morgan’s decision to kill 25,000 of Knights contradicted attempts to portray him as a sympathetic character is wrong. The fact that he led the killing of the Knights does not mean that he was heartless. He was acting in self defense. He initiated the massacre because his legacy, technological improvements, and schools, were being destroyed. Besides, the entire England was under the injunction of the church (Twain 340). The enmity between him and the society, including the Knights, was a direct threat to his life. This could have, perhaps, led to his decision to kill the Knights.
The author’s argument that Morgan failed to correctly conceptualize the culture and capabilities of the sixth century people is partly correct and partly wrong. It is partly correct because Morgan had an ethnocentric view on social issues such as race, civilization, and relationships (Tison 87). However, the argument is partly wrong because Morgan correctly pointed out the inability of the sixth century people to adopt the modern culture. Morgan’s wife, Sandy, for instance, was not able to eat or shower like the nineteenth century woman (Tison 88). Since the sixth century was not characterized by the enlightenment that Morgan intended to introduce, the savages found it difficult to adopt the nineteenth century culture.
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The critic’s thesis helps the reader to understand the work under discussion. This is because it highlights the main features of the character’s personality, behavior, and why he did not achieve his ambition. However, the thesis is not very useful since it focuses only on the negative aspects of Morgan’s personality, and behavior. Consequently, the critic’s argument can be improved by highlighting the positive aspects of the character’s personality, and behavior. This will help the reader to have a holistic understanding of Morgan’s personality and behavior.
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