Once and Future King: Self Reliance

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Self-reliance is defined as reliance on oneself or one’s powers, resources, etc. according to dictionary.com. In T.H White’s The Once and Future King, Merlyn teaches Arthur to be more self-reliant. Self-reliance is a prominent theme in the novel because it helps Arthur to become king at the end of Book I. Arthur is taught self-reliance through the animal transformations, then uses them to pull the sword out of the stone

The Wart becomes more self-reliant due to Merlin’s teachings through transforming him into different animals to see different perspectives to help him pull out of the sword. First off, Merlyn transforms Arthur into a fish, but Arthur was a little skeptical of it. He wanted Merlyn to come with him, but Merlyn knew that he needed to do it alone to learn self-reliance. Merlyn states, “Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance” (White, 41), which means that in order to become more self-reliant you need to have experience actually doing something. Fortunately for Arthur, Merlyn agreed to go with him that one time. During their journey in the pond, Arthur is attacked by a pike, the king of the pond. Luckily, Merlyn transforms them back into humans right as the pike was about to eat Arthur. In the next transformation, the ant, he learns that when wealth is distributed over an area evenly doesn’t work very well. This will later help him when he becomes king. When Arthur changes into a pigeon, he learns that wars are wrong in a kingdom. The pigeons express their opinion of they don’t think it’s right to fight against their own kind. The next and final important transformation was the badger. In this transformation, the badger tells him a story. The story was about how God started everybody as embryos. Also, He gave people more power over animals, even though people were created last. This taught him to love his home. In conclusion, Arthur learned many lessons from the animal transformations, which he will later use during...
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