The passage for this analysis comes from chapter 2, the part where Gawaine is about to ride back South and is summoned by her mother.
The two engage in a conversation where Gawaine’s mother reveals her intentions of making him a king if she stays and not go back for his knightly practices at Arthur’s court in Cadbury.
Gawaine also learns that her mother sent him to the South so that he can serve as a spy there, something he does not take gracefully.
An apparent theme from this excerpt is that of power and corruption. Gawaine’s mother desires the power to rule her side of the kingdom. She even goes to the length of convincing her son to train and become a knight despite him afraid and reluctant.
Now that his son is training to be a knight, he wants him to become a king so that she could have powers too.
However, her intentions are revealed clearly in lines 35-36. “She would try to keep him here as a ruler, though, of course, he knew which one of them will rule.” This indicates that Gawaine’s mother intended her son to rule not for his sake but for selfish reasons and corruption.
Imagery is the literary device that is extensively used in the excerpt under analysis. There exist various instances where particular words, with the help of similes, are used to represent actions, ideas, and objects in a manner that appeals to the readers’ physical senses.
For instance, lines 30-31 compare the silence by saying it stretched like a spider’s thread. Through this comparison, the author makes the readers imagine how long the two remained silent.
In regards to tone, the excerpt begins with a relaxed tone, which suddenly turns to a livid one. Everything was cheerful until Gawaine persists that he will go back to Arthur’s court. Her mother starts to talk bitterly about his decision; thus, an angry tone arises.
This excerpt is crucial in the story because it is here that Gawaine discovers her mother’s plans for him. The events of this passage shape a lot of what will happen in the future and the decisions Gawaine will make.