Knowledge and Technology in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

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Knowledge and Technology in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is a complicated novel that fundamentally deals with the concept of the human experience. Hank Morgan is a nineteenth century mechanic who is transported back thirteen centuries to medieval Britain, during the time of King Arthur. After his initial shock, he becomes determined to “civilize” Camelot by introducing modern industrial technology. At an initial look Twain seems to be favoring the industrialized capitalist society that he lives in over the feudal society of medieval Britain. But in a closer examination of the work it becomes clear that this observation is much too simple, as the industrial world that Hank Morgan
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“Here I was, a giant among pigmies, a man among children, a master intelligence among moles…”(Twain 40). Hank forgets his own humanity and begins to believe that his knowledge makes him more of a man, just as the nobility that he shunned believed they were better than the serfs because of the titles they held.
Hank Morgan uses his superior knowledge of technology to gain personal power. It soon becomes clear that even though thirteen hundred years have given Hank a technological advantage, they haven’t made him any smarter. Twain himself says of Hank,
…this Yankee of mine has neither the refinement nor the weakness of a college education; he 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 ignoramus, nevertheless. (Guttmann 103)
Hank possesses all of this technological knowledge, but fails to understand the implications that this knowledge will have on the people of the Camelot. Instead of educating the general public and teaching them how and why something works instead he sends a select few to his “man factories”.
He uses his knowledge instead to produce fantastic miracles, which although they give him personal power, continue to perpetuate the superstitions of the populace that he is trying to overcome. For example, Hank is asked to fix the well at the Valley of Holiness. He installs a pump that will return the water,
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