A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court question

The Ogre's Castle
Scott Holmes Scott Nov 25, 2013 11:08PM
In order for Hank to face Sir Sagramore in a duel he most earn credibility by going on an adventure. Sandy shows up with a tale of princesses being held captive by ogres. King Arthur sends them out to free the princesses and vanquish the ogres. Upon arriving at the ogre's castle Hank sees a pig sty, a number of hogs and three swineherds. Sandy stills sees a castle, princesses and ogres. I'm concerned that Twain may be employing a rather lame device to extricate himself from a literary bind. Sandy's delusions make no sense given her behavior both before and after this episode. Granted she's part of a superstitious society but not one of such obvious hallucinations. I made an inquiry on the Twain-L listserv but it generated no responses.

The ogres castle bit reminded me a lot of a part in Don Quixote where sancho convinces Quixote that the farm their looking at is his would be loves house thats been put under enchantment thus enabling Quixote to keep his own delusion going.

Also, as it's satire, there's not really a need for there to be a realistic explanation for how a sane woman could see pigs as princesses. The goal is to make the idea of inherited privilege and of fawning over nobility look utterly moronic.

Scott Holmes I recognize the points made by both Amanda and Ericka. Twain uses hyperbole from the outset with his characterization of Hank as a horrible sky-toweri ...more
Dec 28, 2013 11:59AM · flag

E.J. (last edited Jun 01, 2016 09:23AM ) Jun 10, 2014 03:12PM   0 votes
It is just funny on several levels. It is a parody. I laughed and laughed. I used to read all kinds of knights in armor books and fairy tales and King Arthur books, and this is so funny. I laughed until tears ran down my face. None of it is supposed to be real.
I agree that Amanda found a good analysis. That is for the serious part. The enjoyment part is that this episode is so funny. It is my favorite and proves that Twain really did read a lot of the same type of romantic reading I did as a child. To me the serious parts are so obvious and reflect the historic American antipathy to class and privilege. Twain displayed real art by making this so amusing.

I listened to an audiobook of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and I remember having to rewind that scene because I was confused and felt the same way about it as you did. I thought I'd look into it a bit, and I found an analysis that helped me to understand it. I initially thought that the scene was used to show how people's titles dictate how they are treated in the time period. If pigs have a noble title, they have to be treated like nobility which is what Hank does to please Sandy. This occurs again when Hank travels with King Arthur and they are pretending to be individuals of lower status and King Arthur has a hard time remembering that people are treating him differently because he lacks his noble title.
What do you think?

Anyway, I found an analysis of the Ogre's Castle scene at:

I hope it helps explain in more depth.
It states:

The episode of the Ogre's Castle is the oddest and most ironic twist of book. It is effective because it is anti-climatic. For Hank and the reader, there is no good explanation given for Sandy's delusion: Twain creates her as talkative and at times flighty, but she is nowhere near mad. But in making the Ogre's castle a mere pigsty, Twain achieves several things. First he brings to its fullest development the idea that the power of superstition is strong enough to cause even sensible people to believe the most insensible things. Secondly, he fulfills Hank's suspicion that there is nothing at all�not even a grain of truth�driving the stories of chivalric heroism of Arthur's day. If there had been a real castle or real maidens, Hank would have to back down from his hard line derision of knight errantry and Arthur's court. As it stands, Hank is even further justified in his intentions to overthrow sixth century society and replace it with a more practical, if less romantic one. Finally, "The Ogre's Castle" creates a visual joke that reaffirms Hank's ideas about nobility: it is all in the title. Hank might as well treat pigs as royalty if that is their title, for a Duke would be no more remarkable than a pig if it were not for his title. The same idea emerges towards the end of the book when Clarence jokes that a royal family of cats would serve just as well as any other.

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