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MonkeyNotes-The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
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Chapter 4: The Prince's Troubles Begin

Edward's troubles begin as soon as he steps out of the palace gates. Disabused by the crowd hanging out in front of the palace, who do not believe his claim that he is the prince, he begins wandering through the streets of London. In front of Christ's Hospital, a shelter for homeless boys, he becomes a laughing stock when he insists that he is the Prince of Wales and asks the boys playing in the yard to take him to their master. Tired and hungry, he trudges towards Offal Court in the hope that Tom Canty's parents will believe him and take him back to the palace. Suddenly John Canty appears and, mistaking him for his son, angrily strikes him for being out so late. When Edward tries to assert his identity, Canty labels him as mad and drags him toward his home with a crowd of "human vermin" following.


Notes

The impulsive action of the prince lands him in trouble. He does not realize that "Clothes make the man." By relinquishing his royal robes, the prince discards his royal image and thus his powers.

Edward's innocence is revealed through his behavior outside the palace. He walks out of his chamber as a pauper, but demands - and expects - to be recognized as a prince. The people he meets, however, treat him with either amusement or contempt. He also forgets that he resembles Tom Canty. He walks towards Offal Court expecting that he will be able to convince Tom's parents about his true identity. Of course, he is mistaken for Tom. When he protests, John Canty showers abuses on him and calls him mad.

Mark Twain evokes pathos through the portrayal of Edward. The young Tudor, dressed like a beggar, expects the same kind of attention from the people outside the palace as he expected from his attendants inside. Unexposed to the outside world and unaware of the attitudes of the people towards a pauper, he feels slighted when people mock him and call him mad. He exchanges roles with Tom Canty in jest, but he realizes the cruelty of the joke only when he is exposed to the harsh world outside the palace. He cuts a sorry figure when he tries to assert his royal powers in his rags and is ridiculed for it.

Twain shows the prince's essential goodness in the pity he takes upon the children who abuse him at Christ's Hospital. Rather than wishing revenge upon them, he declares that in the future, such boys should be educated as well as fed, "for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved."

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