Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper halfway through his writing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A clear break from the American backwoods, The Prince and the Pauper is set in England and uses a dialect more similar to Shakespeare than to Huck Finn. Despite the difference in style, however, Twain’s voice is still evident in the book’s political commentary. The novel tells the story of the historical King Edward VI who switches lives with a young pauper for a few weeks. As Edward experiences the difficulties of life as a commoner, he recognizes the injustices of English law and later works to right them as king. The story is an exciting tale of mistaken identity and a wonderful introduction to sixteenth century English history.
The term parallel stories, also referred to as parallel narratives or parallel plots, denotes a story structure in which the writer includes two or more separate narratives linked by a common character, event, or theme. Parallel stories enrich a work and have been used by playwrights and novelists for centuries. As the shape of modern literacy continues to change, however, writers are increasingly experimenting with narrative form and voice. This has resulted in a recent increase in novels making use of multiple perspectives and parallel stories.
The Prince and the Pauper Parallel Plot | Teach Parallel Narrative Structure in the classroom!
Tom lives with his family in Offal Court and gets through his days begging for food and trying to avoid beatings from his father and grandmother.
Prince Edward lives in the royal palace and enjoys a luxurious life of good food, quality education, obedient servants, and adoring subjects.
Thou hast the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and countenance that I bear.
Tom and Prince Edward meet at the palace after the prince saves Tom from an angry guard. After discussing their different lives, the two exchange clothes for fun and discover that they look exactly alike. When the prince rushes out to scold the guards in Tom's rags, he is not allowed back in and the switch becomes permanent.
Take away this beautiful cloth. I don't want to soil it.
Unhand me, thou foolish creature!
At first, Tom struggles to adjust to the grandeur and ritual of palace life, but he learns quickly and soon comes to enjoy the privileges of the palace.
O my child, my darling!
Edward is captured by his "father" John Canty, and he is forced to join a band of thieves and ruffians after Canty murders a priest.
King Henry VIII dies, and it seems that Tom will become the new king. On coronation day, however, Tom sees his mother and regrets his new royal life.
On your peril! Touch him not, he is the King!
After Miles Hendon helps Edward escape from the outlaws and a murderous hermit, the two are thrown into prison by Hendon's evil brother Hugh. They are released just in time to head to London for the coronation.
Tom and Edward meet again in the cathedral on Coronation Day. Both boys are eager to switch places again. Eventually, they convince the nobles that Edward is the true king, and the kingdom is set to rights again. Tom and Edward remain friends until Edward's death.