- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
When young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places, each learns something ...
When young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places, each learns something about the other's very different station in life.
The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper
In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him. All England wanted him, too. England had so longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him, that now that he was really come, the people went nearly mad for joy. Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed each other and cried; everybody took a holiday, and high and low, rich and poor, feasted and danced, and sang, and got very mellow-and they kept this up for days and nights together. By day, London was a sight to see, with gay banners waving from every balcony and house-top, and splendid pageants marching along. By night it was again a sight to see, with its great bonfires at every corner and its troops of revelers making merry around them. There was no talk in all England but of the new baby, Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, who lay lapped in silks and satins, unconscious of all this fuss, and not knowing that great lords and ladies were tending him and watching over him-and not caring, either. But there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.
Tom's Early Life
Let us skip a number of years.
London was fifteen hundred years old, and was a great town-for that day. It had a hundred thousand inhabitants-some think double as many. The streets were very narrow, and crooked, and dirty, especially in the part where Tom Canty lived, which was not far from London Bridge. The houses were of wood, with the second story projecting over the first, and the third sticking its elbows out beyond the second. The higher the houses grew, the broader they grew. They were skeletons of strong criss-cross beams, with solid material between, coated with plaster. The beams were painted red or blue or black, according to the owner's taste, and this gave the houses a very picturesque look. The windows were small, glazed with little diamond-shaped panes, and they opened outward, on hinges, like doors.
The house which Tom's father lived in was up a foul little pocket called Offal Court, out of Pudding Lane. It was small, decayed, and ricketty, but it was packed full of wretchedly poor families. Canty's tribe occupied a room on the third floor. The mother and father had a sort of bedstead in the corner, but Tom, his grandmother, and his two sisters, Bet and Nan, were not restricted-they had all the floor to themselves, and might sleep where they chose. There were the remains of a blanket or two and some bundles of ancient and dirty straw, but these could not rightly be called beds, for they were not organized; they were kicked into a general pile, mornings, and selections made from the mass at night, for service.
Bet and Nan were fifteen years old-twins. They were good-hearted girls, unclean, clothed in rags, and profoundly ignorant. Their mother was like them. But the father and the grandmother were a couple of fiends. They got drunk whenever they could; then they fought each other or anybody else who came in the way; they cursed and swore always, drunk or sober; John Canty was a thief, and his mother a beggar. They made beggars of the children, but failed to make thieves of them. Among, but not of, the dreadful rabble that inhabited the house, was a good old priest whom the king had turned out of house and home with a pension of a few farthings, and he used to get the children aside and teach them right ways secretly. Father Andrew also taught Tom a little Latin, and how to read and write; and would have done the same with the girls, but they were afraid of the jeers of their friends, who could not have endured such a queer accomplishment in them.
All Offal Court was just such another hive as Canty's house. Drunkenness, riot and brawling were the order, there, every night and nearly all night long. Broken heads were as common as hunger in that place. Yet little Tom was not unhappy. He had a hard time of it, but did not know it. It was the sort of time that all the Offal Court boys had, therefore he supposed it was the correct and comfortable thing. When he came home empty handed at night, he knew his father would curse him and thrash him first, and that when he was done the awful grandmother would do it all over again and improve on it; and that away in the night his starving mother would slip to him stealthily with any miserable scrap or crust she had been able to save for him by going hungry herself, notwithstanding she was often caught in that sort of treason and soundly beaten for it by her husband.
No, Tom's life went along well enough, especially in summer. He only begged just enough to save himself, for the laws against mendicancy were stringent, and the penalties heavy; so he put in a good deal of his time listening to good Father Andrew's charming old tales and legends about giants and fairies, dwarfs and genii, and enchanted castles, and gorgeous kings and princes. His head grew to be full of these wonderful things, and many a night as he lay in the dark on his scant and offensive straw, tired, hungry, and smarting from a thrashing, he unleashed his imagination and soon forgot his aches and pains in delicious picturings to himself of the charmed life of a petted prince in a regal palace. One desire came in time to haunt him day and night: it was, to see a real prince, with his own eyes. He spoke of it once to some of his Offal Court comrades; but they jeered him and scoffed him so unmercifully that he was glad to keep his dream to himself after that.
He often read the priest's old books and got him to explain and enlarge upon them. His dreamings and readings worked certain changes in him, by and by. His dream-people were so fine that he grew to lament his shabby clothing and his dirt, and to wish to be clean and better clad. He went on playing in the mud just the same, and enjoying it, too; but instead of splashing around in the Thames solely for the fun of it, he began to find an added value in it because of the washings and cleansings it afforded.
Tom could always find something going on around the May-pole in Cheapside, and at the fairs, and now and then he and the rest of London had a chance to see a military parade when some famous unfortunate was carried prisoner to the Tower, by land or boat. One summer's day he saw poor Anne Askew and three men burned at the stake in Smithfield, and heard an ex-Bishop preach a sermon to them which did not interest him. Yes, Tom's life was varied and pleasant enough, on the whole.
By and by Tom's reading and dreaming about princely life wrought such a strong effect upon him that he began to act the prince, unconsciously. His speech and manners became curiously ceremonious and courtly, to the vast admiration and amusement of his intimates. But Tom's influence among these young people began to grow, now, day by day; and in time he came to be looked up to, by them, with a sort of wondering awe, as a superior being. He seemed to know so much! and he could do and say such marvelous things! and withal, he was so deep and wise! Tom's remarks, and Tom's performances, were reported by the boys to their elders, and these also presently began to discuss Tom Canty, and to regard him as a most gifted and extraordinary creature. Full grown people brought their perplexities to Tom for solution, and were often astonished at the wit and wisdom of his decisions. In fact he was become a hero to all who knew him except his own family-these, only, saw nothing in him.
Privately, after a while, Tom organized a royal court! He was the prince; his special comrades were guards, chamberlains, equerries, lords and ladies in waiting, and the royal family. Daily the mock prince was received with elaborate ceremonials borrowed by Tom from his romantic readings; daily the great affairs of the mimic kingdom were discussed in the royal council, and daily his mimic highness issued decrees to his imaginary armies, navies, and viceroyalties.
After which, he would go forth in his rags and beg a few farthings, eat his poor crust, take his customary cuffs and abuse, and then stretch himself upon his handful of foul straw, and resume his empty grandeurs in his dreams.
And still his desire to look just once upon a real prince, in the flesh, grew upon him, day by day, and week by week, until at last it absorbed all other desires, and became the one passion of his life.
One January day, on his usual begging tour, he tramped despondently up and down the region round about Mincing Lane and Little East Cheap, hour after hour, barefooted and cold, looking in at cookshop windows and longing for the dreadful pork-pies and other deadly inventions displayed there - for to him these were dainties fit for the angels; that is, judging by the smell, they were - for it had never been his good luck to own and eat one. There was a cold drizzle of rain; the atmosphere was murky; it was a melancholy day. At night Tom reached home so wet and tired and hungry that it was not possible for his father and grandmother to observe his forlorn condition and not be moved-after their fashion; wherefore they gave him a brisk cuffing at once and sent him to bed. For a long time his pain and hunger, and the swearing and fighting going on in the building kept him awake; but at last his thoughts drifted away to far, romantic lands, and he fell asleep in the company of jeweled and gilded princelings who lived in vast palaces, and had servants salaaming before them or flying to execute their orders. And then, as usual, he dreamed that he was a princeling himself.
All night long the glories of his royal estate shone upon him; he moved among great lords and ladies, in a blaze of light, breathing perfumes, drinking in delicious music, and answering the reverent obeisances of the glittering throng as it parted to make way for him, with here a smile, and there a nod of his princely head.
And when he awoke in the morning and looked upon the wretchedness about him, his dream had had its usual effect-it had intensified the sordidness of his surroundings a thousand fold. Then came bitterness, and heartbreak, and tears.
Tom's Meeting with the Prince
Tom got up hungry and sauntered hungry away but with his thoughts busy with the shadowy splendors of his night's dreams. He wandered here and there in the city, hardly noticing where he was going or what was happening around him. People jostled him, and some gave him rough speech, but it was all lost on the musing boy. By and by he found himself at Temple Bar the furthest from home he had ever traveled in that direction. He stopped and considered a moment, then fell into his imaginings again and passed on, outside the walls of London. The Strand had ceased to be a country road then, and regarded itself as a street-but by a strained construction, for though there was a tolerably compact row of houses on one side of it, there were only some scattering great buildings on the other, these being palaces of rich nobles, with ample and beautiful grounds stretching to the river grounds that are now closely packed with grim acres of brick and stone.
Tom discovered Charing village, presently, and rested himself at the beautiful cross built there by a bereaved king of earlier days; then idled down a quiet, lovely road, past the great cardinal's stately palace, toward a far more mighty and majestic palace beyond-Westminster. Tom stared in glad wonder at the vast pile of masonry, the wide-spreading wings, the frowning bastions and turrets, the huge stone gateway with its gilded bars and its magnificent array of colossal granite lions and the other signs and symbols of English royalty. Was the desire of his soul to be satisfied at last? Here, indeed, was a king's palace-might he not hope to see a prince, now, a prince of flesh and blood, if heaven were willing?
At each side of the gilded gate stood a living statue-that is to say, an erect and stately and motionless man-at-arms, clad from head to heel in shining steel armor. At a respectful distance were many country folk, and people from the city waiting for any chance glimpse of royalty that might offer. Splendid carriages with splendid people in them and splendid servants outside were arriving and departing by several other noble gateways that pierced the royal enclosure.
Poor little Tom, in his rags, approached, and was moving slow and timidly past the sentinels, with a beating heart and a rising hope, when all at once he caught sight, through the golden bars, of a spectacle that almost made him shout for joy. Within was a comely boy, tanned and brown with sturdy out-door sports and exercises, whose clothing was all of lovely silks and satins, shining with jewels; at his hip a little jeweled sword and dagger; dainty buskins on his feet, with red heels, and on his head a jaunty crimson cap with drooping plumes fastened with a great sparkling gem. Several gorgeous gentlemen stood near his servants, without a doubt. O, he was a prince! a prince! a living prince, a real prince, without the shadow of a question, and the prayer of the pauper-boy's heart was answered at last!
Tom's breath came quick and short with excitement, and his eyes grew big with wonder and delight. Everything gave way in his mind, instantly, to one desire; that was, to get close to the prince and have a good, devouring look at him. Before he knew what he was about, he had his face against the gate-bars. The next instant one of the soldiers snatched him rudely away and sent him spinning among the gaping crowd of country gawks and London idlers. The soldier said:
"Mind thy manners thou young beggar!"
|I.||The Birth of The Prince and the Pauper||23|
|II.||Toms Early Life||27|
|III.||Tom's Meeting with the Prince||37|
|IV.||The Prince's Troubles begin||49|
|V.||Tom as a Patrician||57|
|VI.||Tom receives Instructions||73|
|VII.||Tom's First Royal Dinner||89|
|VIII.||The Question of the Seal||97|
|IX.||The River Pageant||103|
|X.||The Prince in the Toils||109|
|XII.||The Prince and His Deliverer||133|
|XIII.||The Disappearence of the Prince||151|
|XIV.||"Le R oi est mort--Vive le R oi"||161|
|XV.||Tom as King||179|
|XVI.||The State Dinner||195|
|XVII.||Foo-Foo the First||203|
|XVIII.||The Prince with the Tramps||223|
|XIX.||The Prince with the Peasants||237|
|XX.||The Prince and the Hermit||247|
|XXI.||Hendon to the Rescue||259|
|XXII.||A Victim of Treachery||269|
|XXIII.||The Prince a Prisoner||281|
|XXXI.||The Recognition Procession||353|
|XXXIII.||Edward as King||385|
|Conclusion: Justice and Retribution||399|
1. The Prince and the Pauper is set in sixteenth-century Tudor England during the reign of Henry VIII. This time was marked by a great social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. How does Twain tackle this issue in the novel? What did you learn from this time period about democracy and monarchy?
2. Some might say Miles Hendon acts as the "hero" in this novel. What heroic qualities does he possess? Is he lacking any that prevent him from being a true hero?
3. What are some of the similarities between Tom's and Edward's lives? What makes the other's life more appealing to Tom and Edward, respectively? How do they grow through their experiences?
4. In the novel, children believe that Edward is the king while the adults do not. Are there other examples where children have greater knowledge than adults? ConsiderTwain's implications here.
5. The Prince and the Pauper has been compared in style to works of Dickens. What aspect of the novel stands out to you most?
Posted February 28, 2005
Turn back time; sixteenth century England is where you will be. One will fine oneself in THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER by Mark Twain. England is in chaos; terrors, poverty, plague and filth is everywhere. People are begging to stay alive. Tom Canty ¿the pauper¿ is the main character in the book. Tom is a regular person. He has grown up in the filth of Elizabethan England. Another main character in the book is Edward Tudor ¿the prince.¿ Edward grows up in the gentry of society. Tom¿s dream comes true when Tom switches places with Edward Tudor. One day Tom is by the grounds where Edward is. Edward wants to play with him. By mistake Tom dresses up as the Prince and Edward dresses up as the Pauper and then the Pauper [Edward] is kicked out of the grounds. The Prince observes what the people of England are going through. While the Prince observes he becomes a pheasant: the back bone of society. The Pauper goes through the opposite; he becomes a gentry. There are two reoccurring themes in the book, appearance verses reality and image verses identity. Vibrantly expressed is appearance verses reality. ¿The soldiers presented arms with their halberds, opened the gates, and presented again as the little Prince of Poverty passed in, in his fluttering rags, to join hands with the Prince of Limitless Plenty¿ (19.) The reader will see that language device used frequently in the book. Image verses identity can be seen within the quote. The description of Tom and Edward show image of their identity. The sole of the reader will know Tom will always be the beggar and Edward the elite class. Image verses identity is another reoccurring theme in the book. Edward¿s image is of high royal status. Edward¿s identity changes as the reader observes what he goes through. This theme makes the book better then if nothing changed in the mood of the society. The reader might think of the hero¿s journey. Tom¿s transformation is the one and only dream. It is achieved which is the main reason to read the book. The reader will vision the lowest class of Elizabethan society reach its upper limit. The vision of escape and exile is what Edward witnesses with the reader. His story isn¿t the best. Edward is thrown back into the throbbing jungle of Elizabethan society. This book has a very bizarre language which one might not enjoy. Imagine the beginning of modern English that is used in Shakespeare and then mix it with our flamboyant English of the present. That might be scary territory for people anyway but it is not my main recommendation. My number one recommendation is because of the two reoccurring themes in the book appearance verses reality and image verses identity. The reader has a phantasmagoric experience between the two characters. The reader will be able to vividly see the prince and the pauper in their two new and different words.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 2, 2012
I had to write a 7th grade book report on it and it was simple. Even with the writing it was very easy to understand. And if you already did reasch for another project on crimes and punishments back then, then you know what to expect. Great book for book reports.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2012
Posted December 26, 2011
I love mark twain and i was reading this book in class and i needed to read it but i hate reading from pages so this was the same version i was reading in class and i recomend it to all kids and adults
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 7, 2011
"The Prince and the Pauper"'s strengths reside mostly in its author's wonderful writing and its creative and humurous "comedy of errors" style involving wild mix-ups and misunderstandings. Mark Twain is an amazingly skillful author and he presents his topic in a wonderful way. However, the story cannot compare to Twain's other work and is not as memorable or spirited. Some of the plot turns feel slightly unnecessary and the titular pauper is underdeveloped as compared to the prince when he could have had a lot of potential. I think the setting was somewhat stifling as well, seeing as Mark Twain has a definite American flavor to his writing style, and his dialogue shines when filled with 19th-century dialects. Although I would absolutely reccomend "The Prince and the Pauper," it would not be at the top of my list.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 2, 2012
Mark Twain is hailed as one of the greatest writers of his time and not for no reason. While The Prince and the Pauper is not my favorite book by Twain it is definitely a great book to read. It has a lot of interesting characters and a glance from the future to the past attitude that makes this story a great read even to modern day readers. It's a coming of age story with plot twists and some new techniques tried out by Twain. There are growing aches in which any one could relate to both of the protagonists and can easily see the both sides of the mirror.
While, it won't be easy to figure out Twain's syntax and diction, therefore eliminating many younger readers who would other wise immensely enjoy this book, it is a book that can be enjoyed by children and their parents, or their adults and some young adults as well who are willing to put the time into this book.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2015
Posted August 3, 2014
Posted June 6, 2014
Our local Next Chapter Book Clubs are having fun reading this book out loud to each other and imagining what it would be like to trade places with a prince. Check out our clubs on the web and Facebook.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2013
Posted July 9, 2013
A really interesting book about two boys, a prince and a pauper, that switched places. The prince found himself an outcast and the pauper became a king. Very entertaining.
Posted April 24, 2013
Posted September 4, 2011
Posted March 14, 2010
What a wonderful book! I recall having to read it in my youth and loving it then as well. Several movies have been made of this material. The plot is ingenious and the settings are great. Also of value is the history you learn from the book and the characters in it, especially "The Prince". I loved the descriptions of the inside of the Prince's apartments in his castle and I loved also the description of the hovels where the poor people dwelt. A lot of new laws were enacted during the true lifetime of this young Prince and it is good to see how they helped the people of England. It is a one-of-a kind American classic that everyone should read and keep on his library as I have.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2010
The Prince and the Pauper is a fabulous story. But the conversations are writen in (old English) which I had a little hard time understanding. If you feel up to it, you should read this book becasue it is a great classic and a fun story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2009
I liked the basic storyline, the characters, and the social commentary about the world at that time. The ending is a bit too "Deus Ex Machina" in how everything just turns out for the better, but the overall plot and characters are interesting and it made me feel like I had a bit of a snapshot of what life in the mid 1500s was like in London. Like Dickens, Twain could write interesting stories that take a surprisingly deep look at the world. Both of them have had their stories turned into cheap cartoons that strip out a lot of the meat, but that's why you need to read the original books. So quit reading this and pick up a book already.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2008
This story has much to say about two people who look exactly alike but have very different fortunes. Their paths cross and they change places. As a result both learn a great deal about social injustice.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2007
Posted May 17, 2007
This book is a drama and a comedy, and an adventure of two boys who believe, like the old saying, 'The grass is always greener.' Like the title, a prince and a pauper switch identities to live the other's life as a break from their own. The book is that simple but it's filled with danger and intrigue as well as laughs and two quite talented boys, one of formal education and the other of street education, and both learn quickly the environment of the other. The book is so good that a movie starring Errol Flynn was made in 1937 and it is fantastic. In 1977 Charlton Heston did a remake that I regret I've never seen, but if it's true to the book it must be very good.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.