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In A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court, when Hank tells Clarence that he "ain't...

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littledevil | eNoter

Posted November 26, 2010 at 12:37 AM via web

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In A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court, when Hank tells Clarence that he "ain't more than a paragraph," is he being sarcastic?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 8, 2010 at 7:23 PM (Answer #1)

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The quote that you are referring to comes in the second chapter of this highly amusing story. Hank, having been transported back to Arthurian times, still doesn't know where he is or in what time, and he assumes that he is in some kind of mental asylum. He sees Clarence come up to him and Clarence informs Hank of his station and job in this world:

He was pretty enough to frame. He arrived, looked me over with a smiling and impudent curiosity; said he had come for me, and informed me that he was a page.

Of course, the response you have quoted lies on deliberate pun that Hank is making. He is ignoring the definition of the word that Clarence is using, referring to his job in court, and deliberately misinterpreting it to mean a page of a book. Thus, his response shows how unimpressed Hank is with Clarence and his appearance, using sarcasm to suggest that Clarence is actually a lot less than what he thinks he is - just "a paragraph."

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