The Prince and the Pauper is a book consisted of 33 chapters that are named shortly and announce the theme of the chapter. It is an additional comment of the story teller in which we find out the faith of the characters after the novel is done. The novel has a short prolog in which Twain speaks of the difference between literature and history in a way a Greek philosopher stated it. It says that history tells what happened and literature tells what could have happened.
Identity swap is a common theme of literary works. It is how this novel begins. The characters have difficulties dealing with their new roles and besides their physical similarity they share some characteristics that help them get through. Identity swap gives the writer endless opportunities of tangling the plot and getting characters into unbelievable situations. The beauty of the novel is in its moral that in life moral strength and unlimited faith in justice is enough to keep us going on. It’s the only way to get the earned prize in life.
Place: England – London and surrounding area (Westminster and Southwark)
In the 16th century in London, a very poor boy named Tom meets Prince Edward. Edward was thirsty for adventures and games without keeping in mind that there is a whole new world outside the palace while Tom wanted to be wealthy. One day the guards acted badly towards Tom who wanted to see the prince and an interesting story starts there. Edward felt sorry for the poor boy and invites him to play together. Through they playtime they realize they both want to be the other one and decide to change their clothes and switch roles.
When Tom was taking off his shirt, Edward saw a bruise and went to punish the guard but forgot that he was wearing Tom’s clothes. The guard was convinced that he was the boy who tried to get into the castle and kicks him out while Tom stays in the castle. Edward becomes a punch line outside and has to save himself by running while Tom is believed to be the prince who lost his mind all of the sudden and started acting strangely. The servants were very considerate towards him and did not tell a soul about his madness. Luckily Tom was learning fast and knew how to behave because he always wanted to be a prince.
When the ill King Edward dies, the prince is supposed to be crowned the king of Wales. That causes Tom trouble, even though he enjoyed being a prince and was looking forward to being a king. He got himself into the role of the prince so much that he decided to spare the life of two convicts who were about to be executed. His nobleness causes admiration with the servants who are convinced that the prince is getting better.
In the meantime Edward was still exposed to the attacks of the world and the worse moment was when Tom’s father John gets a hold of him. The only person who suspected that it was not him was his mother. Father Andrew tried to save him from John’s cruelty but ends up dead. Edward manages to run away and decides to go to the castle to prove that he is the real prince. On his way over he runs into a soldier and an adventurer who came back to England after an extended period of slavery.
Hendon was forced to leave his home, and he felt sorry for the poor boy, so he accepted to play the role of the servant to the prince and be his protector. Unfortunately, John manages to find them and take Edward outside London into the barns where wanderers gathered. There Edward was once again exposed to humiliation.
Edward manages to run away because the wanderers wanted him to rob and in his runaway, he finds a man who believed himself to be an archangel. He believed the prince, but he considered his father to be the one to blame for everything wrong, so he decides to kill Edward. In that moment Miles Hendon comes along, but the “archangel” hides Edward and directs Hendon onto a wrong lead. Edward was found by John who takes him back to the wanderers, but the prince manages to make friends there. Miles Hendon manages to find him in the most important moment when he was accused of theft. Hendon’s resourcefulness saved him from death.
After that, Miles and Edward went to the crowning where Tom forgets that he is not the real prince. When his mother bows at his feet during the coronation he denies of her but feel guilty instantly and because of that the honors of being a king lost their meaning. On the same day of the coronation the two boys meet and manage to explain the situation, but everybody believes in it after Edward explains where the state seal is placed. Hendon was very surprised that Edward was a prince. After the coronation, Hugh had to return Hendon his estate. Not much after he died and finally Hendon was able to be with the women he loves which was Edith. Tom and Hendon were in the king’s mercy, and Edward VI. was thought valuable life lessons and was remembered as a good king.
Characters: Tom Canty, Miles Hendon, Prince Edward VI…
Tom Canty – gentle and noble young man who stands out because of its imagination. His childhood was not very pleasant, and he grew in the harsh London’s underworld. He had to beg, and when he returned home empty-handed, father and grandmother scolded him. The only consolation was his mother, which is referred as the caring mother that relates to children – often left hungry in order to give him his crust. Although he lived in lousy conditions, the priest Andrew has been kind to him and taught him how to read, write and even Latin. Father Andrew told his incredible stories, legends, and fairy tales, which Tom enjoyed. Over time, he lived the fantasy life of his heroes, more and more. His friends even laughed at him as he started to speak like a prince and imitate him. He was serious and wise and referred to as a model to children of his time. All these characteristics helped him to be excellent in the role of the Prince, and many people remained impressed for his noble heart and wisdom. Since he was poor before, he had a lot of understanding and compassion. However, he didn’t want to see his mother and sister, and even denied his mother, after which he had a great remorse. In the end, he returned the kingdom to the real king and awarded with life at the court.
Miles Hendon – he was exiled from his home and lived as a brave warrior. Quite by accident, he became Edward’s protector because he believed that his mind is clouded. He looked a bit comical in the harsh reality of London. He was a fantastic-minded person, dreamed of the woman he loves and was good-hearted, gentle and brave as a knight. He took on Edward’s punishment and had been flogged, and for this reason, Edward was promoted to the count.
Prince Edward – unexpectedly learned to live a miserable life, like the people who were under the rule of his father. Before he was forced to live as a poor man, he lived in the belief that all people live as well as him. He admired Tom’s life as he lived freely, enjoyed the children’s games and had no obligations like him. Having found himself in the “poor world”, he was surprised how they live, and he tried to prove to everyone that he is a prince. He was brave, tenacious and stubborn and received respect among some vagrants. Although he had previously lived a comfortable life, prince surprised us with his spirit, his persistence, and resourcefulness to return to court. Miles Hendon helped him with that. Eventually, he returned to court again as a prince, and events that happened to him were his great experience and influenced his reign as a king.
Mark Twain Biography
Mark Twain (1835. – 1910.) with the real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens was an American writer and humorist who became popular and appreciated in every generation.
He wasn’t a good student, so he dropped out of school at the age of 12. He worked on many different jobs. Mark started as a printer and even worked as a helmsman on the river Mississippi. After that, he was a gold digger, a journalist, a publisher and at the end he was a writer.
He couldn’t stay long in one place, so he moved around a lot. That’s how he started his journalist career.
After he had participated as a volunteer in the Civil war, he began working as a reporter, and it was then when he started to publish as Mark Twain.
It is believed that some of his best works came to life in 1980’s. Some of his best books are “The Prince and the Pauper”, “Life on Mississippi”, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”…
He kept a cheerful spirit and is well known for his humoristic novels. He promotes freedom and right to equality. He had shown the American lifestyle very well even though he had no basic education.