Honors British Literature
1 November 2013
Merlyn the Educator
"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then - to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn." (p 183) Merlyn explains that education is the most important thing for understanding why things happen in this world. He also states that education is the only thing that will remain with you for your entire life, a tool and a weapon until death.
The Sword in the Stone constantly promotes the idea of education. Merlyn, Wart’s tutor, is constantly stressing the idea that education is a necessity in life. Wart’s foster father also stresses upon the importance of education, hence his drive to find a tutor for the boys in the first chapter. “‘The only other thing,’ said Sir Grummore, ‘is to have a tutor.’‘You mean a fellow who teaches you.’‘That's it,’ said Sir Grummore. ‘A tutor, you know, a fellow who teaches you.’” (chapter 1)
Throughout the story, Wart has used his education to help himself out of sticky situations. Be it Merlyn’s instructions on swimming helping his escape from a pike, or his knowledge that he used to free the sword from the stone, the basis of every accomplishment he gained, was education. This further supports the idea that T.H. White’s story promotes education.