ENG4U ISP THEMES - The Sword And The Stone recreates,...

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The Sword And The Stone recreates, against the background of magnificent pageantry and dark magic that was medieval England, the education and training of young King Arthur, who was to become the greatest of Britain's legendary rulers. Growing up in a colorful world peopled by knights in armor and fair damsels, foul monsters and evil witches, young Arthur slowly learns the code of being a gentleman. Under the wise guidance of Merlin, the all-powerful magician for whom life progresses backwards, the king-to-be is trained in the gusty pursuits of falconry, jousting, hunting and sword play. He is even transformed by his remarkable old tutor into various animals, so that he may experience life from all points of view. In every conceivable and exciting way he is readied for the day when he, and he alone of all Englishmen, is destined to draw forth the marvelous sword from the magic stone and become the rightful King of' England. Character Analysis Wart A first-time reader of White's novel may be surprised at his initial portrayal of King Arthur — arguably the most famous monarch in literature — as an unassuming, rustic boy. In fact, Arthur is known only by his diminutive nickname "the Wart" until the very end of the book, when Merlyn addresses him by his more famous title. He is, throughout the novel, like a medieval Huckleberry Finn, discovering his personality as it is revealed to him through a number of tests and triumphs. White's reasons for calling the young Arthur "the Wart" reflect his overall portrayal of the young king. When the novel begins, the Wart is a naïve, impressionable, and seemingly inconsequential boy, living in the shadow of his older brother. While he could never imagine himself as a figure in a medieval romance, he certainly devours these legends wholeheartedly, as seen through his awe of King Pellinore when they meet in the forest. (He later tells Merlyn that his greatest wish is to wear a "splendid suit of armor" and call himself "the Black Knight.") The Wart's admiration for all those connected with knighthood and adventure (such as King Pellinore, Kay, Sir Grummore, and Robin Wood) marks him as a "born hero-worshipper," an ironic description for the person who is to become one of the most-often-worshipped legendary heroes. The Wart, however, never dreams that he — a foundling — can ever rise to such heights.
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This sense of childlike wonder makes the Wart an apt pupil for Merlyn's lessons. Throughout all of his tutorials with Merlyn, the Wart remains wide-eyed and receptive. Unlike Kay, who is often stubborn and selfish, the Wart is genuinely interested in the people (or, in his case, the animals) that he meets. This desire to learn about the beliefs and values of others will mark him as a fair
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Parkin during the Summer '11 term at Wilfred Laurier University .

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ENG4U ISP THEMES - The Sword And The Stone recreates,...

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