Review of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper

Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper is a great tale of two boys from different walks of life. It’s a story of chance encounters, individual choices, and how you can’t always judge a book by its cover. Tom Canty, the pauper, is a young lad living in poverty. Edward Tudor, the prince, lives a luxurious life full of privilege and royalty. Then one fateful day, fate throws these two together and they switch places.

The rest of this story is filled with lessons, reversals of fortune, suspense, and ultimately hope. It’s a classic tale of power, justice, honor and identity that speaks to readers of any age. So let’s dive into the world of The Prince and the Pauper

Plot Summary

My story starts in 16th century England and centers around two boys who look identical, yet have different backgrounds. One’s Edward, a pauper, and the other is Tom, the Prince of Wales. The boys are just about the same age, but they come from extremely different worlds. When they meet one fateful day, they decide to switch places. Things get out of hand fast!

The plot picks up as Edward, disguised as the prince, experiences a whole new world of luxury, while Tom has to adjust to life as a peasant. Things get complicated when people start to suspect that something isn’t quite right about Edward. He gets thrown in jail for speaking out of turn and questioning authority, leading to an exciting escape attempt.

The conflict comes to a head when people finally realize who Edward really is. In this dramatic climax, Tom and Edward switch back to their original positions, with Edward returning to his former life as a pauper and Tom taking on his rightful role as royalty. What could have been a tragic ending turns into a lesson in compassion and humility.


It’s time to dig a little deeper into Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. There’re some pretty intense themes here, and of course there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to character development. And that’s not even mentioning all the juicy symbolism! So let’s get to it, shall we?

A green and yellow patterned quilt draped over a chair with a crown at the foot of the chair.

Theme: One obvious theme in this novel is identity – people coming to terms with their true selves. We have Edward and Tom discovering who they really are and striving to bridge the gap between their respective worlds. This can be seen as a metaphor for self-acceptance and letting go of traditional standards. It also speaks to how we understand our own identities and how they can be distorted by outside influence.

Characterization: Looking at the characters, we can see them as symbolic stand-ins for different types of people. Edward is often depicted as somebody struggling to keep up with societal norms, while Tom embodies the power of survival and self-determination. They each come to recognize their true nature through their interactions with others and their journey of self-discovery.

Symbolism: Symbolism also plays a key role in the novel. The title itself could be interpreted as a representation of the dual identities of each character – the prince and the pauper. It also provides an interesting contrast between the two worlds they inhabit – the one of privilege and the one of poverty. Other symbols include the clothes that both boys wear and the castle where Edward is held captive.


At the end of the day, The Prince and the Pauper is a timeless classic that shows how two people from totally different walks of life can learn from each other, not only about their similarities but more importantly about the importance of empathy. This story is filled with humor, adventure, and heartwarming lessons that teach us to look beyond our individual differences and recognize our common humanity.

It was captivating to see Tom grow in empathy and kindness as he swapped places with Edward. The incredible journey of the two boys was both inspiring and amusing. Through this story, Mark Twain conveys his message that, at the end of all our differences, we are all humans who need to find understanding and common ground in order to make the world a better place for us all.


When it comes to dissecting The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, it pays to have some good resources on hand. From books to articles and videos, a little bit of research goes a long way. Here’s what I’d recommend:

If you’re after a deep dive into the world of Twain, I’d start with one of his classic books. As well as The Prince and the Pauper, you could try out some of his other works including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or Life on the Mississippi – each of these will give you a unique insight into Twain’s writing style.

For something a bit more specific to this story, why not check out some articles? You could learn more about the context of the book and its themes through an academic piece like “Analysis of The Prince and the Pauper: Social Mobility” or get a feel for how the story has evolved over time with “Rereading `The Prince and the Pauper’: A Study in Reception History”. Of course, there are plenty more – so spend some time researching and see what takes your fancy!

Videos can also be a great educational tool, and you’ll find plenty of them online exploring the characters, setting, themes and symbols of The Prince and the Pauper. To get you started, take a look at The Facts About Mark Twain’s Life, The Prince and the Pauper Book Trailer and Mark Twain: The Author and His Adventures for a quick overview. Then check out The Prince and the Pauper Discussion and Summary and Themes of the Prince and the Pauper for a deeper dive.

So, there you have it! With these resources under your belt, you’ll be able to gain a much better understanding of The Prince and the Pauper and all that it has to offer.

Classic Twain Novels FAQ

What is the problem in the story The Prince and the Pauper?

The problem in Mark Twain’s classic novel The Prince and the Pauper is that two boys, Tom Canty and Edward Tudor, have been born with a striking resemblance to one another and end up switching places. Tom Canty is the son of a poverty-stricken family while Edward is the heir to the English throne and the prince of Wales. Tom ultimately ends up in Edward’s place and is expected to conduct himself as a prince, while Edward is forced to experience the squalid life of a pauper and a criminal. The switch of places results in a wide array of issues for both boys, including the replacement of Edward’s identity and the dissolution of Tom’s family. As the story progresses, both boys must face up to the consequences of their new realities, and the story ultimately culminates in a powerful confrontation at the palace.

What is the conclusion of the story The Prince and the Pauper?

At the conclusion of Mark Twain’s classic novel, The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Canty and Edward Tudor finally manage to return to their rightful places and set things right in the kingdom. After a series of thrilling adventures, Edward Tudor is revealed to be the true heir to the throne. Tom Canty, who ironically has been crowned king due to his uncanny resemblance to Edward, returns to the life of a pauper. Nonetheless, he and Edward remain close friends, and the prince expresses his gratitude for the lessons he learned from his time on the streets. In the end, both characters learn valuable lessons about the power of friendship, loyalty, and responsibility.

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