Twain expresses the meaning of the word “technology” much like it is commonly used today to show industry or some sort of mechanical device, but also parallels are used with the meaning of the word “technique” with the reasoning or ideals of the people. Early in the text is the best example I have found of the contrast of present and past society’s technologies. It also shows how the lives of the people are being changed by the presence of just one man. Clarence is a perfect example of this change when the narrator describes Clarence’s condition at the time, “Of late I had been training him for journalism…he talked sixth century and wrote nineteenth.” This man of only 22 years of age had been changed in the matter of 4 years to now be almost up to date with the 19th century in not only his writing habits but also in being able to articulate ideas well enough to create a newspaper. In this example speech is being used more as a tool than a technique, it is used to write a newspaper which would then give rise to new thoughts or discussions in the area, much like our media does today. This shows the process from technology to technique and almost suggests that technology can be easily implanted but technique can only be discovered. Much like the technology given to Clarence the entire area was being changed with the placement of schools and factories, the placement of electricity, phone lines, etc; all of this in the hopes that it would lead to future technique much like the industrial revolution has done in our society. The technology of the people is continually getting better and advancing, yet the reasoning and the technique of the people is not advancing in the same stride, probably also paralleling Twain’s time.
A better example to express the lack of technique is seen within King Arthur’s court. King Arthur’s court is often visited by people from surrounding areas which bring upon them a challenge or a tale of adventure. The narrator compares these people to that of the homeless or beggars of his time. They come to the castle and tell their tales so that they may be put up and fed while telling their tale and while going on this adventure. There seems to be a need for this because these newcomers are always welcome much like a “corpse is to a coroner.” The court brings this girl into the court and she tells her story of a far away land in which many princesses are held hostage by a 4 armed ogre or something of the sort and they need the courts assistance. The court of course believes every word of this without any question. The ignorance in all of this shows that though the technology (industry) of the area is advancing, the people still rely on the old way of reasoning (technique). This is not so astonishing to me in the book but I believe it shows comparison to what is happening in Twain’s time as well. The world in Twain’s time is advancing in industry and mechanical aspects but there still isn’t this push for education and understanding like we see in 2008. I believe he is trying to bring this idea out with these passages and perhaps try to mock these types of people in his society or to mock society itself.
ReferencesTwain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court. Penguin Classics: 1986.