Prince and the Pauper

Prince and the Pauper

Signet Classics
by Mark Twain, Everett Emerson (Afterword)
Publisher: Signet Classics
Mass market paperback, 221 pages
Price: $5.95

They are the same age. They look alike. In fact, there is but one difference between them: Tom Canty is a child of the London slums; Edward Tudor is heir to the throne of England. Just how insubstantial this difference is becomes all too clear when a chance encounter leads to an exchange of clothing—and of roles. . .with the pauper caught up in the pomp and folly of the royal court, and the prince wandering horror-stricken through the lower depths of sixteenth-century English society.

Out of the theme of switched identities Mark Twain fashioned both a scathing attack upon social hypocrisy and injustice, and an irresistible comedy imbued with the sense of high-spirited play that belongs to his happiest creative period.

The Prince and the Pauper is, in the words of Kenneth S. Lynn, ". . .expressive of its author's genius. Indeed, nothing he ever wrote, not even Huckleberry Finn, introduces us to more of the themes that preoccupied—and finally obsessed—Mark Twain's imagination."

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Exodus Rating
FLAWS: Violence and fighting, mild violence
Summary: A prince and a slum kid switch places and end up having wild adventures in 16th-century London.

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  The Prince and the Pauper
Noah W. of Hillsboro, OR, 7/28/2016
The Prince and the Pauper is a novel set in 16th century England. Mark Twain tells a tale that could have happened; Tom, a pauper, sneaks into the palace of Prince Edward. The boys tell each other about their lives, and , wishing to exchange places, they try on each other's clothes. To their surprise, they discover they look almost identical. A guard stumbles upon them and angrily throws the 'pauper' (actually the prince) out of the palace. The remainder of the book is about the boys' many misadventures trying to return to their original lives.
  The Prince and the Pauper
HappyHomemaker of Oregon, 9/26/2011
This classic has been told and re-told in various forms over and over again! As we follow our heroes through their trials, we feel for both the prince, who is subjected to a distinct lack of respect due to his drop in position, and for our pauper, who was not expecting the rigid, boring life of a prince. For the young, it is a fun story. For the not-as-young, Mr. Twain writes an intriguing commentary on his times.