Sarah's Stars

Mark Twain. The Prince and the Pauper
Aladdin Paperbacks  $7.99  ISBN 978-1-4169-2805-8  325 pg.
Literary Analysis by Briana, Age 14

Everyone faces challenges as he or she goes through life. Challenges cause one to develop character. The Prince and the Pauper, written by Mark Twain, weaves an engaging story revealing the struggles of a variety of individuals. These individuals come from various walks of life and have different traits. Among the traits revealed in these characters, one that stands out is perseverance. Prince Edward, Miles Hendon, and Tom Canty demonstrate perseverance as they cope with their difficulties.

Throughout this book, Prince Edward, a young lad in London, exemplifies perseverance as he attempts to regain his throne.  Upon switching places with a pauper named Tom Canty, Prince Edward went off to experience life as a beggar. During the first night of Prince Edward’s excursion he encountered a man by the name of John Canty, Tom Canty’s father. Due to his drunkenness and the two boys’ amazing resemblance, John Canty mistakenly identified Prince Edward as Tom, and John harshly dragged Prince Edward home. However, Prince Edward did not stay past one night. Once Prince Edward found a chance, he escaped, only to find himself captured again by John and his gang. After escaping a second time, “The king [Edward], breathing deep gratitude to heaven for his own release, fled in the opposite direction and did not slacken his pace until he was out of harm’s reach” (p. 168) in pursuit of his throne. The prince constantly faced challenges and persevered as he strived to retake his throne.

Similarly, Miles Hendon, one of Prince Edward’s rescuers, persevered in his attempts to track the prince. Waking one morning to find Prince Edward gone, Miles Hendon began his quest, searching for Prince Edward from Southwark, through Kent, to Monk’s Holm. Continuing to follow Prince Edward, Miles Hendon spoke to a hermit, “Near to this place I caught the scoundrels who I judged did steal him [Edward] from me, and I made them confess; they said he was at large again, and they had tracked him to your door. They showed me his very footprints” (pp. 196-197). Informed by this hermit that Prince Edward had left on an errand, Miles Hendon did not wait to see if Prince Edward would return, but went after him again. Miles Hendon trailed Prince Edward all the way back to the throne. Through Miles Hendon’s vast travels, he never quit trailing the prince.

Likewise, Tom Canty demonstrated perseverance while encouraging Prince Edward to remember where he had laid the Great Seal. While Tom occupied the palace, the king, Prince Edward’s father, died, making Tom the supposed rightful heir. During the coronation Prince Edward appeared in rags and proclaimed his entitlement to the throne. As the ultimate test to determine if this boy was the real prince, the Lord Protector questioned where the Great Seal lay.  Prince Edward thought he knew, but St. John, one of the servants, could not find the seal where Prince Edward purposed he had left it. Requesting an explanation of what the Great Seal looked like, Tom helped Prince Edward remember where he had placed the seal by saying: “Bethink thee, my king- spur thy memory- . . . Think! Do not give up! The cause is not lost! Nor shall be, neither” (pp. 290, 291)! Determined to support Prince Edward, Tom persistently encouraged Prince Edward until he finally remembered where he had hidden the Great Seal. Tom’s perseverance helped Prince Edward remember where the seal lay, thus restoring Prince Edward to the throne.

In summary, Prince Edward, Miles Hendon, and Tom Canty persevered through their difficulties. Prince Edward exemplifies perseverance while trying to return to his throne. Similarly, Miles Hendon remained steadfast during the difficult challenge of tracking the prince. Tom Canty resolved to help Prince Edward recall where he had left the Great Seal. Just as Prince Edward, Miles Hendon, and Tom Canty persevered through their struggles, God calls us to “ . . . throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1 NIV). We too should persevere through the challenges that God gives us.

Resources:

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The Holy Bible, New International Version. Michigan: Zondervan, 1994.

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Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2006.

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