Monday, May 9, 2011

So Fresh and Soo Clean

I am choosing to write about the role of cloths in The Prince and the Pauper.  Clothing is a very important part of the way people are treated in the book.  In the Prince and the Pauper Tom Canty, the pauper trades cloths with the prince of England, Edward.  The two boys features are strickingly similar and the only difference is the cloths that they wore.  After they switched the guards mistake the Prince for Tom because he is wearing rags.  The prince is promptly kicked out of the palace and Tom is now believed to be the true prince.  This theme of the cloths make the man is very common in Mark Twains stories.  Another story where this is a theme is in the million pound bank note.  When the poor man goes to buy things in his rags people laugh and do not treat him kindly but after he has purchased a suit on credit all stores treat him like royalty.  The Prince and the Pauper has a similar theme.  For even though Tom claims many times throughout the story that he is not the Prince they all believe that he has gone mad because he looks so much like the Prince.


  1. Clothing and outward physical appearances seem to be a common theme in Twain's works. Maybe Twain is trying to comment on the social interations between the classes. The upper class, either royalty (P&P) or wealthy(1,000,000 Pound Bank-Note) treats the "lower" class like they are unworthy and they are bullied around. The unfairness of the statuses are a testiment to reality in Twain's society as well as today, although the harshness and violence has been toned down.

  2. I agree with you that clothing seems to play an important role in Twain's works. It is interesting that he tends to use a poor person and a very rich person, and makes them switch roles. It is an extreme case, but I think that he could be poking fun at the social classes and how something as small as a piece of clothing can determine the status that society places upon us.

  3. Great post! I totally agree with you, and think that Twain spends a lot of time bringing up the main question of whether the clothes make the man, or if the title (or character) actually make the man. The Prince and The Pauper make it seem as though the clothes make the man, but after reading "Pudd'nhead Wilson" when the real Tom becomes a free white again, Twain comments on the fact that even the nice clothes and status can't take away from the fact that he talks in a dialect and uses mannerisms that only slaves use.