Book Reviews: The Prince and the Pauper
Monday, October 25, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain
Tom Canty, a young pauper in England, dreams of living a better life. One day he finds himself inside the king’s palace and in the presence of the prince. The two boys are the exact same age and discover that they look identical. They are amused and swap clothes to entertain themselves. Chaos, of course, ensues and the prince is thrown out of his own palace, while Tom Canty is unwillingly thrust into the role of prince in the confusion.
I was expecting a short parable or fable about two boys, in very different situations, who end up swapping lives for a day. I’ll admit most of this assumption was based on watching the Mickey Mouse version of the Prince and the Pauper when I was young. I also didn’t realize that Twain used an actual prince, Henry VIII’s only son, Edward VI, as the title prince in his story.
The book is more of a lesson in merciful leadership than a fanciful tale. The heart of the story lies in the true prince learning the importance of governing with a balance of strength and wisdom, not just blind power.