Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews March 10, 2024
March 3, 2024
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary
devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
The Once and Future King relies heavily
on a variety of myths and legends to tell its story. Most notably,
the entire novel is a reworking of the Arthur myth. White continually
acknowledges that he is modernizing old stories by referring specifically
to his sources. For example, the novel contains many asides about
Sir Thomas Malory, quoting passages and pieces of dialogue from
his fifteenth-century Le Morte d’Arthur. Malory
even appears as a young page at the end of the novel. White flips
the Arthurian legend around by constantly calling attention to the
fact that his story has a precedent and by then exposing that precedent’s
flaws. At times, it seems as if White is interested in debunking
the validity of knighthood and also attacking the myths and legends
that have romanticized knighthood for so long.
White expresses the conflict between the brutality and
courtesy of knightood by making frequent reference to blood sports,
such as hunting and hawking. Like knightly warfare, blood sports
are motivated by aggression and involve a great deal of brutality.
But, like the code of chivalry, blood sports also involve a great
deal of tradition and ritual. The Wart’s studying, for example,
of the “etiquette of hunting” shows that blood sports are governed
by a code of etiquette as strict as the one imposed on the bloody
business of jousting. Like warfare, therefore, the blood sports
in the novel boast a civilized veneer that masks their violent underpinnings.
Each of the different books in The Once and Future
King revolves around a select few settings, and each of
these settings is represented by a single castle that has a unique
character. In “The Sword and the Stone,” for example, Arthur’s home
is represented by Sir Ector’s Castle of the Forest Sauvage, a cozy
place with a seemingly endless number of nooks and crannies for
us to explore along with the Wart. Sir Ector’s castle is markedly
different, however, from the glorious Camelot or the gloomy castle
at Orkney. The castles in the novel have their own personalities
that embody the hopes and fears of their inhabitants. Their heavily
fortified walls vividly illustrate the separation between the novel’s
worlds. When Uncle Dap finds Lancelot after his madness, for example,
he refuses to enter Castle Bliant. He sits outside its wall, waiting
to take Lancelot back to the intrigue of Camelot and Guenever and
to leave behind the relatively banal world in which Elaine lives.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Once and Future King!