Switching Places- Mark Twain
’s The Prince And The Pauper Essay, Research Paper
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain was a fun book to read, but it didn’t
match the normal profile of a Mark Twain novel. Everything that I have read by him was
set in the Mississippi River Valley before the Civil War. The Prince and the Pauper was set
in sixteenth century England.
The story revolves around a Prince and a Pauper if you can imagine that. Both
Prince Edward Tudor and Tom Canty were born on the same day. Edward was welcome
by the whole country as an heir to the throne, but Tom’s family didn’t want him because
they were too poor as it was. The book mentions this and then keeps to the boys teenage
Tom grew up in Offal Court. He had a very tough life. His dad made him go out on
the streets and beg all day and if he didn’t get enough money his father and grandmother
would beat him . If he thought he raised enough money for a day, he would go to Father
Andrew’s church and learn to read and speak Latin.
Tom’s biggest wish was to see a real prince dressed like royalty. He got this wish
one day when he was walking by the king’s palace and saw a boy his own age. He got
closer to the fence and a guard grabbed him and pushed him away. The prince saw all of
this and told the guard to let Tom in the palace. Prince Edward fed Tom and the started
talking about each other’s lives and switched clothes. Then, Edward noticed the bruise on
Tom’s hand and went to punish the guard. Dressed in Tom’s old clothes, the prince was
thrown out of the palace by the guard. Tom was suddenly Edward, Prince of Wales and
Edward, Tom Canty of Offal Court. Tom was not refined enough to be a prince. While at
state dinners, he had no clue what to do and just began to stress out King Henry.
Tom’s father found Edward and took him home and beat him because he hadn’t
collected enough money from begging. He kept proclaiming that he was the Prince of
Wales, but no one believed him. That night, Tom’s father found out he was wanted for
murder and began to run. Edward was then able to escape.
Edward continued to try and convince people he was the real Prince of Wales. He
met Miles Hendon who defended Edward’s story in public, but didn’t believe it. Miles
took Edward home with him. On the way to Miles’s home, Edward go the news that King
Henry VIII, his father, died. Miles treated Edward like a king; eventhough, he didn’t
believe he really was a king. Edward dubbed Miles a knight. When they arrived at
Hendon Hall, Miles’s home for which he hadn’t been in seven years, they found out
Miles’s father was dead, his brother was in charge of the family business, and his love was
married to his brother and refused to see Miles. Hugh, Miles’s brother, had Miles and
Edward thrown in prison saying that they were beggars. While in prison, Edward realized
how bad and inhuman the British justice system was. Miles was sentenced to be
humiliated. This upset Edward and he was bound to change things if he could ever get his
At first, Tom couldn’t wait for Edward to get back, but as the days went on Tom got
more and more comfortable with being King Edward with the coronation fast
approaching. As Tom was to be crowned at Westminster Abbey, Edward stepped out and
said, “I am the King!” Tom jumped off the throne and was going to let Edward take his
rightful place as King of England. No one in the church believed him, but they had a test
to prove who was the prince or now king and who was the pauper. The great seal had been
missing for weeks and the Prince of Wales should know where it was. Edward found it and
was immediately crowned as King Edward VI.
Because of his past on the streets, King Edward ruled for his people and was loved.
He didn’t live for very much longer, but he made Miles the Earl of Kent, stripped Miles’s
brother of everything he had and cast him into prison, and Tom Canty was designated as
Chief Governor of Christ’s hospital, which was a place for orphans and children of the
poor to go get food and learn. He was extremely missed after dying.
I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know what it is about Mark Twain, but I really enjoy
every book he wrote. I saw Disney’s the Prince and the Pauper as a child and I guess that
is what got me first interested in it. I would strongly recommend this book to someone. I
think part of the reason I enjoyed it was that he let me experience the royal life and the
very poor life with a little history at the same time.