An epic historical fantasy with a point that transcends the genre, T.H. White's classic four-part novel is a time telescope with a mirror at the end in place of a lens. As with most classical literature, White's tale contains a higher intention hidden beneath the folds of his satirical prose, and while this hidden agenda may have been intended to depict situations from White's own time period, they can easily be adapted to circumstances of our own time. Throughout the novel, White uses several different tactics to get his point across. For instance, White consistently uses anachronism, which is defined by Merriam-Webster Online as: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially: one from a former age that is incongruous in the present, to communicate to the reader a deeper meaning within the story. Also, by using themes of religion and education throughout the story, White reshapes Thomas Mallory's classic Le Morte d'Arthur into an allegory for White's own anti-war politics.
[...] He also plants in the reader's mind that he understands Mallory's true intention: Even if you have to read it twice, like something in a history lesson, it is a vital part of the tragedy of King Arthur. It is why Sir Thomas Malory called his very long book the Death of Arthur. Although nine tenths of the story seems to be about knights jousting and quests for the holy grail and things of that sort, the narrative is a whole, and it deals with the reasons why the young man came to grief at the end. [...]
[...] In the case of the individual, we seek religion when all else fails; however, just as in his life and the story religion may work for a time, but only as a temporary stopgap as we search for true solutions to our problems. Politically speaking, because White wrote during a time when the separation of church and state was not paramount, he did not see religious motivations being detrimental to the state; he did not, however, see any lasting solution in them either. [...]
[...] (White, 80) In this passage, White uses the risky ordeals and the eagerness with which Wart accepts the risk to illustrate how a young impressionable mind can be moved to unsound decisions when placed in a militaristic setting like this one: an example that makes me wonder why we in the modern United States we are allowed to enlist in the army before we can order a drink at the bar. Cully is also used by White as a tool for his anachronism, to connect the past with present. [...]
[...] White's novel is the parallel of King Arthur to the biblical King David. Both bastions of true kingliness for their prospective nations, both victims of a womanly charm that would bring them much grief, and both champions of great kingdoms that failed to outlast them for very long. Of course, King David's kingdom did last longer than his lifespan, but there is a very simple explanation for why Arthur's did not—his lack of a trueborn heir. Whether Guenevere was barren (we are never told if Lancelot finishes inside her or spills his seed on her belly) or Arthur's seed was tainted after his incestuous coupling with Morgause is immaterial. [...]
[...] However, in the biography done by Warner, White can be quoted as saying the geese were meant to be a picture of “true communism.” (Warner, 177) With his use of the word we can infer that White is not talking about the type of communism with which most of us are familiar, the communism that Lenin twisted and Stalin butchered, but communism in its original form, as it was meant to be. A society in which there were no lines and boundaries, in which no one owned anything because everyone owned everything. [...]
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