The Prince and the Pauper Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the setting of The Prince and the Pauper? What are the circumstances of Tom's birth and Edward's birth?

The story is set in London around the middle of the sixteenth century. It describes the unwanted birth of a child named Tom to a poor family named Canty. The story of Tom's birth is told in comparison to the birth of Edward Tudor, the real Prince of Wales. Edward's birth was greeted with universal joy.

2. Describe London in Tom's time. In what area of London does Tom's family live?

London is a great city for its day, but it is dirty and cramped in the poor sections such as Offal Court near London Bridge. Tom and his family live in Offal Court.

3. What is Tom's house like? Who lives there with him?

Tom and his family have a floor in a decayed and rickety house which is shared with several other wretchedly poor families. Tom lives with his 15-year-old twin sisters, Bet and Nan, and his mother, all of whom are kind to him. His father and grandmother are drunken, angry people. They beat him regularly.

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