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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Chapter 1: The Birth of The Prince And The Pauper
On "a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century," two infants are born to two families, respectively, in two different parts of London. One infant is Edward Tudor, the Prince of Wales, while the other is Tom Canty, the pauper, the son of a poor family. The prince is welcomed into the world with rejoicing, while the pauper is ignored because he is an unwelcome guest to his family.
In the fashion of a children's classic, Mark Twain introduces the protagonists of the novel in the first chapter. Edward Tudor, the Prince of Wales, and Tom Canty, the pauper, are born on the same day. In this brief chapter, Twain provides a striking contrast between the status of the two infants.
Edward Tudor, the heir to the English throne, is ushered into the world with pomp and show. Not just the royal family, but the whole of England celebrates his birth. He is pampered by the family members and the lords and ladies who come celebrate his birth. Tom Canty, on the other hand, lies uncared for in his poor dwelling. While Edward Tudor is considered a boon to his family, Tom Canty is regarded as a burden. The only similarity in the situations of the two infants is that they both are blissfully unaware of the reactions caused by their birth.
Twain's direct and simple style is highly suitable to the narration of a children's classic. He chronicles the events and states the reactions to it in short, simple sentences. The importance of the royal birth is highlighted through a detailed account of the event, while the insignificance of a pauper's birth is conveyed through a single sentence.