Analysis: Chapters 5–9Each of the magical adventures that Merlyn gives the Wart seems designed to impart a carefully calculated lesson or set of lessons. The Wart learns two important lessons from his transformation into a perch and his adventure in the moat. First, Merlyn’s compassion toward the roach shows the Wart that even the meekest creatures deserve help, no matter how silly their ailments seem. Even more important, however, is the Wart’s encounter with the old pike who runs the moat. The old pike is the epitome of absolute might, and this portrait of power is unflattering. When the old and evil king pike lunges for the Wart, his many rows of teeth represent the sharp and cruel nature that necessarily accompanies absolute power. It is relevant that White likens the fish, with its lean, smooth jaws, to Uncle Sam, the iconic image of the government in the United States. Written in the late 1930s, while new superpower nations were emerging, The Once and Future King
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