Switching Places- Mark Twain

’s The Prince And The Pauper Essay, Research Paper

Switching Places

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

crown back.

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.


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