Lessons from a Badger

In: English and Literature

Submitted By JessL83
Words 782
Pages 4
Lessons from a Badger
Throughout his lessons with Merlyn, Wart is turned into many animals; a fish, an ant, a hawk, an owl, a goose, and a badger. Perhaps the most important of these is the last animal, the badger. The badger is the most learned of all of the creatures that Wart is turned into, and drives home Merlyn’s point that intelligence and education are more important in a king than being a brave knight, regardless of how many acts of chivalry one may do.
Upon entering the badger’s home, Wart does not know “whether to think of it as a college or as a castle” (White 189). The Great Hall, or Combination Room is most striking with its “paintings of departed badgers…lit from above by shaded glow-rooms” (White 189). White’s description of the Combination Room brings to mind the libraries and study rooms of Oxford or Cambridge and brings home the emphasis on education and wisdom. The badger himself even says that if Wart is there to learn, than he has been sent to the right place (White 190). As Wart and the badger talk, the badger tells Wart a parable about how God gave Man “the Order of Dominion” (White 193) over the animals of the world. As Wart and the badger are discussing the parable, the lesson that Wart was to learn becomes clear; humans are the only creatures in existence to wage war upon each other. Though Arthur tries to insist that ants and wolves wage war, the lesson is that, while other species may fight each other, human beings are the only ones to wage war against each other. As the badger says, “true warfare is rarer in Nature than cannibalism” (White 194). Wart, however, misses the point that this trait in human beings is perhaps what makes them a tyrant versus “the king of the animals” (White 193), instead choosing to focus on the glory of war.
It is clear at this point in the story that Wart has a romantic view of war and what it truly is.…...

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