The Book of Merlyn Themes & Characters

This Study Guide consists of approximately 11 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Book of Merlyn.
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The central theme of The Book of Merlyn is that by learning to pay attention to the natural world, humankind can learn how to avoid war and save itself from extinction. Although White was not fully conscious of this theme until he had almost completed the series, he came to think of it as the central theme of the entire Once and Future King. In 1940, he wrote to a friend that he intended to add a fifth volume to his Arthurian series because he had "suddenly discovered" that the central theme of Morte Darthur was to find "an antidote to war."

The assumption that underlies White's theme is that animals are more civilized than humans. Merlyn, the title character of the novel and the spokesperson for White's more cynical ideas, doesn't seem to think the chances for improving the human race are very good. He suggests that...

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This section contains 560 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Book of Merlyn Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Book of Merlyn from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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