How did Hundert develop or change in The Palace Thief?

Hundert changes in The Palace Thief by developing self-awareness and confessing to his past unethical behavior. These changes are evident in his writing a narrative that reveals his complicity in Sedgewick’s success. Previously, he had hidden the school administration’s role in covering up Sedgewick’s cheating and had blamed his superiors for his actions. By admitting that he acquiesced to the pressure from above, Hundert is finally accepting responsibility for his own actions.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mr. Hundert in Ethan Canin's The Palace Thief actually changes significantly for the worse before he changes for the better at the end of the story.

When we first meet Mr. Hundert, he is a young history teacher at St. Benedict's, still intent upon introducing his students to the “lofty ideals” of the ancients, hoping to inspire the boys as well as “temper their ambition with humility.” However, the high ideals Mr. Hundert holds for himself are shattered when he encounters the stubborn corruption of Sedgewick Bell.

Sedgewick is rude and arrogant, and for a while, Mr. Hundert tries to find a balance between correcting him and encouraging him. Then the annual Mr. Julius Caesar competition approaches, and Mr. Hundert makes his first big mistake. He submits Sedgewick for the competition rather than a better-qualified boy. His motive seems honorable, for he wants to further encourage Sedgewick, but his actions are not fair. Mr. Hundert is beginning to descend from his high ideals. He...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1252 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 3, 2020
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 30, 2019