Study Guide

Alisande la Carteloise, a.k.a. Sandy in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

By Mark Twain

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Alisande la Carteloise, a.k.a. Sandy

Sandy is Hank's girlfriend, wife, and all-around best gal. She's very pretty, a bit of ditz, and possibly crazy to boot:

She was a comely enough creature, and soft and modest, but, if signs went for anything, she didn't know as much as a lady's watch. (11.3)

Sandy first comes to the Yankee hoping for help saving a group of princesses from a family of ogres, then tags along with him when he sets out to save them. The princesses turn out to be pigs, but Sandy doesn't see them that way and insists that they are comely noblewomen all the way to the end.

Like Arthur and most of the other characters in the book, she's quite set in her superstitious ways. Even when presented with straight facts—like that the ladies she wants rescued are actually just pigs—she invents a reason to explain it away:

"[…] to the one perception it is enchanted and dight in a base and shameful aspect; yet to the perception of the other it is not enchanted." (20.6)

To be clear, the one whose perception is enchanted as far as Sandy's concerned is Arthur, not herself. That's why he sees pigs when she sees princesses.

Sandy is also super chatty, which drives Hank up the wall. She goes on and on about nothing in particular, talking at length, but never finding the darn point. Hank says:

I had set her works a-going; it was my own fault; she would be thirty days getting down to those facts. And she generally began without a preface and finished without a result. If you interrupted her she would either go right along without noticing, or answer with a couple of words, and go back and say the sentence over again. (15.2)

From a satirical point of view, Twain uses Sandy's talkativeness to take a swipe at his main target: Arthurian literature. See, Sandy doesn't just yammer on endlessly—nope, she uses the same kind of old-school language that Mallory and other Arthurian authors do:

"Even so be it, sith ye are so minded. Then Sir Gawaine and Sir Uwaine went and saluted them, and asked them why they did that despite to the shield." (15.3)

By driving Hank nuts with her language, Sandy shows us as readers how difficult to get through and generally ridiculous those old stories can be.

Despite all this, she's still a sweet girl, who's helpful and modest and super devoted to Hank. He's willing to forgive a lot of her wackiness for that, and even ends up marrying her. He says,

What a right heart she had, how simple, and genuine, and good she was! (41.1)

Is she chatty and a little delusional? Yes. But she's also kind and, perhaps more importantly, she's loyal to Hank:

She had hunted Britain over for me; had found me at the hanging-bout outside of London, and had straightway resumed her old place at my side in the placidest way and as of right. (41.1)

He returns that love, so much so that his last words are calling out for her—"Oh, Sandy, you are come at last—how I have longed for you!" (45.1). Clearly, she made an impression despite her foolishness… and Hank appreciates all the things she does for him.

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