The Prince and the Pauper , first published in 1882, by Mark Twain is a literature classic and has been read by many generations. This book is hard to criticize because it is written by one of the greatest authors, has around for so long, and it is considered a classic. The story is about one prince (Edward Tudor) and one pauper (Tom Canty) who meet each other and end up trading places. At the time they don't realize the resemblance between them, so once they switch places and go off, no one will believe their true identity. This book shows the adventures of these two boys with the roles they end up in, one it the gutters and one in the palace. The main message and theme behind this book is about the natural human fault of judging people merely based on their outward appearance. My overall opinion was that this was a good book and it was fun to read. Yet there were some aspects that I think needed more improvement
One of the aspects that I think needed more developing was the characters At first I was a bit disappointed because, unlike all of the other Mark Twain books I have read, this one had very little character description. There is not much that you know about the two characters and you don't feel connected to them. There was nothing that you could relate to with Canty and Tudor and while reading the book the only image that you had of them was a very vague image. This was why it is pretty hard to get caught up in this book. I believed Mark Twain left a lot about the characters so that he could focus and develop more on the plot and adventure of the story than who they characters actually were.
In the book, Tudor is constantly being kidnapped by the pauper's father (John Canty) , who believes that Tudor is his son , and in return Tudor is always running away. After a while of this wild goose chase between Canty and Tudor it gets repetitive and tiresome to the reader. In this book Mark Twain focuses more on the situations of Tudor then those of Canty. He also wrote more about Tudor then Canty. I found the situations with Canty in the princes place were much more interesting and humorous then the situation of Tudor. I would have enjoyed this book more I think if there had been more scenarios and stories about Canty
This book is recommended for all ages yet I found parts of it hard and difficult to understand. The language that all the people in the book speak is old English. There are chapters in the book that is just conversation. I found this incredibly hard to understand by reading it through just once. The only reason that I understood the conversations is because I am familiar with the old English writing style (Shakespearean style) and have had past experience reading books in this style. To someone who would read this type of book for the first time, I think that they would hardly understand any of the conversations between people. Yet the author Mark Twain wrote this book in a great way. This is why it appealed to lots of audiences. For example, Mark Twain's description of the palace are not like usual boring ones, his descriptions are fun to read and you can almost exactly picture things that he is describing. Also his wording makes it easy to keep reading and reading as if each sentence flows perfectly to the next.
The book also had many strengths, in contrast to what I thought would happen, this book did not become predictable. Every chapter has a new twist or turn. The story was also very humorous. It was very amusing and hilarious what Canty did in the prince's position. For example at his first dinner he begins drinking the rose water, which is intended for washing his hands. He also says that all the ways of royalty are strange and annoying referring to when the official "food taster", tastes his food before he eats it and the long, grueling task of putting on clothes which involves a long chain of people who pass an article of clothing down one by one.
I would recommend this book mainly to people in high school or older. In my opinion it is too childish for an adult reader, and I think many adults would get bored. The adults that would enjoy this I think would be those who are "young at heart", and enjoy fictional fairytale like stories. The humor, marvel, and intrigue that this book contains is for a younger audience. Also the difficulty of the language in the book is too hard for children to understand (below 7th grade). I believe that if this book were to be rewritten in modern English it would be a perfect story for a child at any age.